How to Fix 'This Version of Windows Not Genuine' Error

Try these tips to fix the problem.

Windows note genuine error message

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There's little more frustrating than paying for a legitimate copy of Windows only to be told it isn't genuine. Don't fret that you've bought a dodgy copy though. Chances are Windows just slipped up somewhere and all you need to do is remind it you do own a real copy of Windows.

Here are some tips for a “Windows not genuine” fix.

What Causes Windows is Not Genuine Errors?

The most common time to see the “Windows is not genuine” message is after reinstalling Windows or when changing over your PC's hardware. Sometimes the activation doesn't work correctly or Windows thinks you’re trying to transfer the license to a different PC it was originally purchased with or for.

It could be that some kind of crash has taken place and corrupted a file or service, meaning Windows can't confirm whether or not it's a genuine copy.

For whatever reason the error shows up, though, there are some fixes you can try.

Windows Not Genuine Fix for Windows 10

Before you start any attempts to fix the “Windows is not genuine" error, it's a good idea to locate your Windows serial number. You may not need it, but having it handy means you can input it if required.

Windows license keys are typically 25-character combinations of numbers and letters separated into groups of five characters. If you used the free upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8, your original license key for those older operating systems will work just fine.

  1. Run activation: Even if you previously activated Windows 10, running it again can sometimes be all it takes for Windows to remember it’s running a genuine copy. To do so:

    1. Press Windows key+I to open the settings.
    2. Select Updates and Security, then select Activation from the left-hand menu.
    3. You should see a notice that says "Windows is not activated." If so, select Change Product Key and follow the on-screen instructions to update it.
    Windows activation in CMD
  2. Update Windows key in Command Prompt: If the standard Windows 10 Activation system doesn't want to play ball, you can also activate Windows 10 using the Command Prompt.

    1. Search for CMD using the Windows search bar, then right-click the corresponding result and select Run as administrator.
    2. In the Command Prompt, type “slmgr /ipk XXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX” where the Xs represent your product key, then press Enter.
    3. To complete the activation, type “slmgr.vbs /ato” and press Enter again.
  3. Sign in to your Microsoft Account: Sometimes, when reinstalling Windows, you login with a local account that isn't twinned with your Windows license. Signing in to your Microsoft account can fix that issue. To do so:

    1. Press Windows key+I to open the settings.
    2. Select Accounts.
    3. Select Sign in With a Microsoft account instead, then follow the on-screen instructions to sign in.
    Sign in to Microsoft account
  4. Repair system files: If a corrupted file is the cause behind your “Windows is not genuine” woes, running a fixer tool can do the trick.

    1. Open Command Prompt by searching for “CMD in the Windows search bar.
    2. Right-click the corresponding result, then select Run as administrator.
    3. Type “SFC /scannow and press Enter.
    4. The process can take some time to complete, but once finished, reboot your system and run the activation process again.
  5. Update Windows: Some users have reported that updating to the latest version of Windows, or merely running Windows update, can solve their problems.

  6. Buy a new license key: Nobody is pointing any fingers, but for some people, the reason Windows claims it doesn't have a genuine license is because it doesn't. If you think your PC might be running a pirated version of Windows, you can buy a new license from the Microsoft Store. Once downloaded, complete the activation process as outlined above.

  7. Check the time: It might sound silly, but if the date or time of your Windows installation is off, it can sometimes throw up strange errors. If you notice your system's date or time are incorrect, you can edit and set the system clock.

Not Genuine Fix For Windows 7 and Windows 8.1

Most of the methods used to fix the problem with Windows 10's not genuine error also apply to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. However, there are some other fixes you can also try on older versions of Microsoft's operating system.

  1. Delay activation: If you want a little extra time to figure how to fix your “Windows not genuine” problem, you can delay it by 30 days.

    1. Open the Command Prompt by searching for “CMD” in the Windows search box.
    2. Right-click the corresponding entry and select Run as administrator.
    3. In the Command Prompt window, type “SLMGR -REARM and press Enter.
    4. Restart your system.
  2. Phone activation: If the system you're trying to fix is part of a business or school, you may be running a volume license key. Microsoft still offers some automated phone support in those instances, so try giving the respective number a call to see if that helps with activation.

    Alternatively, you can find the number in Windows itself:

    1. Press Windows key+R to bring up the Run box.
    2. Type “slui.exe 4” and press Enter.
    3. Select your country from the list on screen, choose Phone Activation.
    4. Call the number that appears on screen.
  3. Check the time: It might sound silly, but if the date or time of your Windows installation is off, it can sometimes throw up strange errors. If you notice your system's date or time are incorrect, you can edit and set the system clock.