Fix: This copy of Windows is not genuine

After you install your genuine copy of the Windows operating system on your computer, you are required to activate Windows within a stipulated period of time. If you do not, you will see a message This copy of Windows is not genuine. On rare occasions, this may also happen after a Windows Update, in a genuine copy of Windows.

This copy of Windows is not genuine

Activation is the initial process by which a Windows running on a PC is determined to be properly licensed and genuine, and it’s really quick and easy. It is different from Registration, in the sense that,  Activation is the process of ensuring that your copy of Windows is used according to the Microsoft Software License Terms, whereas registration is the process of entering information to sign up for product support, tools and tips, and other product benefits.

Read: Why not to use a Pirated copy of Windows 10.

If Windows is not activated or if Windows detects the copy as a counterfeit, you may see the following message on your black desktop:

This copy of Windows is not genuine

Additionally, if you visit System Properties in Control Panel, you may also see the message: You must activate today.  Activate Windows now.

If you do not correct the issue, you will continue to get these reminder messages. Your desktop will turn black. Sure, you will be able to reset it, but every 60 minutes, but it will return to black until the issue is addressed. You will continue to get critical security updates. But optional and other updates will not be available to you.

If you see This copy of windows is not genuine message on your Windows 8 or Windows 7 desktop, this post tells you how to remove or fix it.

1] First of all, find out – Is your Microsoft Windows software Genuine? If it is, then activate Windows using the SLUI.EXE 3. If not, then there can be serious risks in using pirated software.  If you are using pirated software, we recommend you go in for a genuine license of Windows 10/8/7. If you had paid for a license, and if you now find that it was a fake license, you could take up the matter with Microsoft, report counterfeit software and see if it helps. Remember, Microsoft may replace fakes, if you’ve been genuinely taken in. You may find this post on how to change Windows product key handy, if you need to change the license.

2] If you receive an Error 0x80070005 along with the Windows is not genuine, Your computer might be running a counterfeit copy of Windows, do the following.

If you have applied the Plug and Play Group Policy object (GPO), disable it or select Not Configured or Not Defined.

Computer Configuration / Policies / Windows Settings /Security Settings / System Services / Plug and Play (Startup Mode: Automatic)

Force a Group Policy setting update by using gpupdate/force and restart your system. KB2008385 throws more light on this subject.

3] If validation fails on genuine Windows 7 while installing Microsoft downloads or Windows Updates, and you receive a message This copy of Windows is not Genuine, accompanied with a validation error codes 1699978131, 1571607440, 757834664 or 228668481, see this post on Validation fails on genuine Windows.

4] If you are using a genuine key and feel that the license file or the activation tokens file may have got corrupted, do the following.

To reinitialize the license file. Open an elevated CMD, type the following and hit Enter:

slmgr /rilc

If you think your Activation files may have got corrupted, you can rebuild the Activation Tokens file.

5] SkipRearm is a registry entry which specifies whether to run the Windows Software Licensing Rearm program. Rearming a computer restores Windows Vista to the original licensing state, states Microsoft. This post talks on how you rearm a Windows computer, so as to be able to use it for an additional period of time. It is an old post, written during Windows Vista days – but should still work on Windows 10/8.1/7.

6] If your Windows is Genuine, and yet you face this problem, then download and run the Microsoft Genuine Advantage Diagnostic Tool.

Microsoft Genuine Advantage Diagnostic Tool

The Microsoft Genuine Advantage Diagnostic Tool provides detailed information about the Microsoft Genuine Advantage components and settings currently on your system. It will allow you to diagnose and automatically resolve problems. Run the tool, copy its findings to your clipboard and then submit a Genuine Windows technical support request to Microsoft.

Wish you all the best!

Read next: How to buy Windows 10 with a valid or legit license key.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. I found this odd as every time I install a windows operating system after putting the key in if I make an error it will not permit the installation

  2. The Product Key lets you install the OS.

    Activation ensures that your copy of Windows is used according to the Microsoft Software License Terms – one of which is, you may not be able to use the same Key on two computers.

    Registration, usually optional, lets you sign up for product support, tools and tips, and other product benefits.

  3. Ok so how can one disable that? I’ve tried many times saying I’ll activate later. It still won’t permit it unless the key is correct. All mine are legal actually

  4. Thanks Amand I see now how that can be done, a neat registry piece of info

  5. AhSyaBiMoSa

    Hi… my windows 8.1 detected that it’s not genuine… this problem happened after my friend inserted a key for windows full media center… The result is, yes, i got all features, but my laptop is not genuine… How can i activate my windows back. For your information, i buy a laptop with original windows 8.1 preinstalled on it…
    please help.

  6. I think you will have to purchase a key once you have that activate it in your control panel/systems

  7. gues

    i kry everji tajm

  8. Bruce Edwards

    I’ve just purchased a second hand laptop and since discovered the ‘this copy of windows is not genuine’ notice. It’s an asus computer and has a windows 7 home premium licence key on the sticker, but it seems the previous owner has done an unauthorised upgrade to windows 7 ultimate. I don’t have a windows installation disk so is there a simple way that I can go back to the original home premium version?

  9. Change the key back. Enter the sticker Windows 7 Premium license. It should downgrade automatically.

  10. Bruce Edwards

    Sorry – tried that but got a pop-up message that says ‘The product key you have entered will not work with this edition of windows 7. You must either run Windows 7 setup or enter a windows 7 ultimate product key.’ I’m thinking I have to download the Windows 7 home premium iso file, create a boot disk and do it that way. I was hoping there might be something simpler but it seems like that’s it – unless you have any other possibilities?

  11. I am not sure if this will work I have not tried it, so use your discretion. Else what you have suggested seems to be the only way forward.
    Let us know later on what you decide and if you do it successfully. 🙂

  12. jon

    I had a legitimate version of Windows 7 installed by Best Buy and got this “Genuine Windows” message after a Windows update. After hours of troubleshooting, I found how to reenter the Windows product code. This code comes with your software or, in my case, was on a sticker on the underside of my laptop. If you have this code and need to reenter it, you can do the following: Open the “run” command (Windows key + “r” on your keyboard). Enter “SLUI 3? It will ask you for your Windows product code. Enter it exactly, including dashes, and it will go through a verification. If you entered a legitimate code properly, it will say it has been verified. When I looked afterwards, this code was not the one entered when originally installed so this was probably why it tripped Microsoft’s test. Hope this saves others the hours it took me to get to this point!

  13. DrA

    Thanks for suggesting this fix. It worked perfectly for me!

  14. J

    Thanks a lot. This worked perfectly for me

  15. TG

    This worked for me. I upgraded my memory and all of a sudden I started getting windows is not genuine. When I ran the Windows Diagnostic tool mentioned earlier in this thread, the results indicated my windows was genuine but I still was receiving the “not genuine” popup message. I tried your solution to reenter the product code that was on a sticker on my desktop and the verification for activate completed with no problem. When I received the popup message shortly after that indicating windows was not genuine, I selected the “resolve online” tab and now I finally received the message from Microsoft that windows is genuine. All other times I selected the “resolve online” tab took me to an option to purchase. This time is validated with no issue. I had my desktop delivered directly from HP about 5 months ago. The product code that was identified by the Window diagnostic tool was different from the one I just entered. I do remember when I received my desktop not having to enter the product code that was on my sticker. It must have used some type of generic code that was valid until I upgraded the memory.

  16. Indy

    ( Dell from Best Buy, bought new, Win’7) I did the SLUI 3, received a verification, but am still getting the not-genuine pop-up

  17. Emily Dicson

    I used all OS, Beside of Microsoft Provides many Operating systems , But Windows 7 is perfect OS for hd gaming with its all versions like; Starter, Home premium, Professional and Ultimate, Which has been used both for home as well as business purpose.
    I suggest you to use only a full version of any OS to avoid lost of your backup files and precious time. Last time, I was need a license for Windows 8.1 pro, Which installed at my cousin’s PC, So one of my friend recommend me to buy it from: ODosta Store
    So I bought it, Which is working well.

  18. Deanna

    I have a Dell computer with windows pre installed – 2 years ago – last week I started getting a message – This copy of Windows is not genuine – I have Windows 7 – HELP…

  19. Evan Buckley

    So what happens when none of these work?

  20. Kendall

    I got to the stage of downloading windows to make it genuine, it then says locate the file and press “run”. But I can’t locate it, because It’s just a blank screen with nothing onit, hasn’t even go the option to press “start”. ????

  21. randy

    thanks jon , it worked for me

  22. Yes, this has been mentioned above in Point 1, details of which can be seen here:

  23. Davide

    Thanks for nothing… if my copy were genuine maybe I wouldn’t
    have come here???

  24. Mandar

    There’s no need to buy a genuine copy everytime..if you are using pirated one then: First of all disable windows update(click start menu search for control panel. Now select the optionSYSTEMS AND SECURITY. Now you will see windows update,click on that and disable windows update and make sure to never change this option in your entire life)

    Step.2 Go to Start menu and search for cmd , you will get cmd.exe in search result here do a Right Click on cmd.exe and click on Run as Administrator, and you will get Command Prompt.

    Step 3. Once the command prompt is opened now type the following command, SLMGR -REARM , make sure you type the same command without any mistake, and also ensure that command prompt is opened in administrator mode otherwise it will not work.

    step 4. Once you typed the above command in command prompt window then hit Enter button on your keyboard to execute the above command.

    Now Restart your computer you will not get that error again like Windows 7 build 7600/7601 This copy of windows is not genuine.

  25. mary c.

    i am getting messaged saying my ‘windows ‘ is not genuine .help

  26. Does anybody know why IE keeps sending the same updates day
    after day for internet explorer

  27. lpeluso

    its frankly fkn idiotic. machines come with windows. this entire scheme is evil and should be discontinued

  28. Anon

    I wouldnt mess with the computer and do any of the things that the youtube videos say…I called Microsoft and the guy said to enter the product key (it’s 25 characters long) from the back of the laptop. I went to start and searched windows activation to enter it. After I did that the message went away. It was a 2 minute task that I made into a 4 hour task due to researching. But glad everything worked!

  29. Bill Sanders

    I bought my copy of WIN7pro from NewEgg, so I have the sticker. In 3 years of use, I never had an issue. However, yesterday I was tweaking my Services and now I have a message on my desktop stating my copy of Windows is not genuine.

    Plug and Play is still set to Start automatic, so I have no idea which service I offended. Any ideas?

  30. Brian

    I have had my computer for 4 years…Purchased from PC World
    with windows 7 Pro preinstalled

    Last week I downloaded updated drivers for my Epson SX218

    The next day I started getting this is not genuine warnings
    when I accessed any windows applications


    I went through the whole carry on with the 25 figure
    activation (It is on a hologram label on the machine) and was told that the
    number was invalid….

    I have windows automatic updates activated

    But have now since this problem started read on several
    other forums that several times they have allowed flawed updates through which
    cause this problem.

    But this is the first time I have encountered it.

  31. Jorge Rueda

    So, how do I fix it?

  32. Rick Carufel

    I got the message out of nowhere and now setting on my computer have changed. This is intrusive and illegal. I want it gone or I will sue Microsoft for hacking my computer.

  33. Tag

    I cannot take my of my pc even my command prompt it’s gone I delete it I thought it was a virus in my computer now my computer it’s in bad state almost
    My whole system almost screwed up though and even my browser cannot work
    At all its having trouble shooting all the time every time try to click on it it keeps on showing having trouble shooting problems and I cannot update my computer
    And it could be a worm in my computer by the looks of it and i have the same problem windpc license error and my computer shuts of every 15 or 20 minutes
    I need help.

  34. Yvonne Craig

    Same here. I’ve had nothing but problems with Windows upgrades. When I bought my computer new it came with Windows 8. I was naive & thought I had to upgrade to 8.1; the literature & information put forth to stay on top with Microsoft functionality, it was put forth as simple, easy transition…everything through Windows update. So I did it, unaware of how it would affect my system. I was locked out of the recovery partition. Learned AFTERWARD from Tech BLOGS (not Microsoft support which has long since ended; including all the remote assistance/support from HP-both items 12 months. Then user-subscription at $200 each product for extended coverage) that a boot disk (recovery image) has to be done BEFORE the Win 8.1 upgrade. I did it afterward therefore my flashdrive backup for my OS was useless. I then ended up with a lock screen anomaly. One hour e’things fine, next hour I’m permenantly LOCKED OUT of my system. I followed all sorts of tutorials & couldn’t bypass this matter, then something in the UEFI firmware got corrupted from all my attempts to restore & use the shadow volume to try & restore the recovery image…I spent 2 wks on this & finally had to take it in to a technician. Even with his access & it’s QUOTED in PC MAG tech spots, “these are the Windows vagaries they don’t tell you about & sometimes even the techies are bested.”

    I thought I was saved when he replaced my OS but didn’t have a Win 8 disk so I was ‘downgraded’ to Win 7 ultimate. The product key, licensing…& activation was all there in my desktop specs. The OS certified as ‘genuine’. Then the whole deal with Windows 10 was out. I felt like I was now an informed consumer & I had a couple glitches I couldn’t bypass [loss of recovery partition & all Windows app’s with removal of Win 8; loss of ALL HP update software & even CYBERCAM software & dolby digital surround audio drivers]. Some of the issues with backup & so on would be reset with Windows 10. I read, I educated myself…I signed up for my reserve copy when the ‘free’ upgrade would be released. Again I was blindsided by the things MICROSOFT does not candidly disclose. Windows 10 autolaunched installation. The automatic DOWNLOAD had to be deferred EVERY 2 DAYS. What a pain in the ***! I live alone & forgot one night that the download would time out, I came back to my computer & it was installing. I figured oh well, what’s done is done. What I didn’t know is that after the merge to Windows 10…the new OS only gives a ‘shadow license’ & I think the product key etc., remained in tact. Where things went very wrong, NOT IDENTIFIED BY MICROSOFT, is after 4-5 days nothing but BUGS with Windows 10 & the Windows updates seemed to keep automatically installing even though I adjusted settings to NOTIFY ME of download & let ME CHOOSE to install. Not always the case & that wasn’t the easiest to navigate. The more updates installed the more I had problems with my system. I was nervous & uneasy but the SAFE OPTION of rolling BACK to Windows 7 was left ‘optional’ with Microsoft in the transition to Windows 10. I made the decision to roll back as Win 7 Ultimate is much more stable. Then after a time the ROLL BACK caused my licensing & product key to spontaneously ‘disappear’ or reset & after things being alright, suddenly I turn on my computer one day & I have ‘your copy of windows may not be genuine’; I have the constant pop-up from the Windows Activation Client…I have done everything in every tutorial & still it’s there. I cannot “end the process” in task manager, nothing happens. It says to look for Winlogon.exe & Wintaskmgr.exe (s’thing like that) in my registry & delete them. Well BIZARRO, they are NOT there, I have gone to extensive lengths…followed instructions for CMD prompt & to delete them there, it does not turn up in my system, yet this POP-UP PERSISTS.

    I followed the steps above for the activation client…I entered my CD key [which is also the product key] & it returns, “a problem occurred when windows tried to activate. Error Code 0xC004E003. I have had people in computer tech stuff tell me this is what happens when you upgrade to Windows 10 then fall back, because of something with the OEM despite Microsoft stating the upgrade leaves everything in tact, it is not a FULL LICENSE KEY, it’s a shadow version (something like that). S’times the product validation remains in tact, other times the registry values get corrupted & then you get THIS PROBLEM with the Windows Activation Client failing to authenticate your OS as being genuine or valid. You either get stuck having to buy the installation media & reinstall or buying a new product KEY.

    I now know that this is purposefully done, I call it ‘booby traps’. The companies MUST as it guarantee’s profit/consumer base. You stumble into these ‘pits’ & you are forced to buy your way out unless you’re a whiz at computer decoding & build structures. It is SABOTAGE…all digital media is built to FAIL; all computer OPERATING SYSTEMS are built to be BUGGED so that you have problems & need to pay for technical support or technicians to fix it or the quickest, replace your system. All things lead to forced consumerism & profit sharing.

    So now I either put up with the annoying, endless pop up or pay for a new product key! And even that isn’t a solution as there’s now limited time on the product keys for Windows 7; & eventually all activation will end anyways as everything is being mainlined to force you to Windows 10. The Win 7 licensing ends in 2020; support ended January of 2014.

  35. DeplorableNorCalFoothillRich

    Yeah, know how to deal with ‘Microshaft’ and all their BS….Apple.

  36. Rob Bacon

    Microsoft not genuine copy of windows OS error show, When you run cracked or not genuine windows. You can fix not genuine windows error by registration your OS, For which You need to enter Microsoft 25 digits product license activation key getting from ODosta Store. You can buy retail product key from Microsoft, but its very costly, So I recommend you to buy cheap key code from above site.
    as I recently bought it, activated it and my issue has been fixed.

  37. Bigly Hugent

    After a recent update, I got the Windows is not genuine black screen business. I finally re-activated the installation with my valid product key, and it all went away. I noticed in using some of the tools recommended to work around this that the product key had somehow been changed. When I activated with the product key I used initially, all the problems went away. Something in the update corrupted the product key, methinks.

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