Windows also regularly checks to ensure that your key hasn’t been reported as pirated.
This occurs when your computer tries to download optional updates from Microsoft — something that normally happens as part of the standard Windows Update process.
Instead, you’re encouraged to purchase a new PC with a properly licensed copy of Windows or buy a boxed copy of Windows and install it on your PC.
If you do actually have a valid Windows key, you can change the product key in Windows.
The messages are obnoxious, but they at least let you continue to use your computer.
If you have to deal with this problem, at least you can continue using your computer in the meantime. The current messages don’t provide an easy way to purchase a legitimate Windows license and get it onto your PC.
There’s a permanent notice that you’re using a non-genuine copy of Windows on your screen, too.
You can’t get optional updates from Windows Update, and other optional downloads like Microsoft Security Essentials won’t function.
“You may be a victim of software counterfeiting.” These messages pop up regularly if Windows thinks you’re using a pirated version of Windows.
Microsoft wants to nag you until you go legitimate and prevent PC sellers from sneaking pirated copies of Windows onto their PCs.
If Microsoft’s servers tell Windows that it’s using a pirated or otherwise improperly licensed key, Windows will display a message saying that your copy of Microsoft Windows “is not genuine.” A typical Windows PC you buy will come with a pre-activated copy of Windows that’s properly licensed.
This is only something you have to worry about if you build your own PC or upgrade to a different copy of Windows — if you install Windows yourself, in other words.
This sounds obnoxious — and it is — but let’s list the things that continue working normally instead.