Software piracy is a common act among computer users. Over the past decades, MS Windows OS remains to be the most pirated operating system. With over a billion active devices running on Windows 10, Microsoft indicates that 57% of those are using the software illegally. In an attempt to prevent mass piracy of the software, Microsoft introduced a new method of verifying the Windows key called Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA).
The WGA feature uses an algorithm that checks software program keys against those blacklisted. If the key is flagged, your Windows copy gets banned from receiving security updates. The wallpaper and background are set to default which gives the user no option to personalize.
A notification that reads “Activate Windows” is posted to your desktop. This will happen until a genuine product key is used to activate the operating system. Occasionally, this also happens to users with genuine product keys. When this happens, most users choose to bypass online validation or remove WGA after its installation. Now, this doesn’t give a great solution as it also leaves your system exempted to Windows updates.
If you’re facing this issue but believe that your product key is genuine, the Microsoft Genuine Advantage Diagnostic Tool (MGADiag) is a better option. The tool scans your system to present reasons behind the validation error messages that you may be receiving. MGADiag is also useful in resolving various issues and sending error reports to Windows.
Pro Tip: Scan your PC for performance issues, junk files, harmful apps, and security threats
that can cause system issues or slow performance.
There is a grace period for illegal Windows users provided by Microsoft. This period allows them to get genuine product keys before their systems get sanctioned. The main aim of providing this period is to allow illegal Windows users to redeem themselves and buy genuine activation product keys.
Sadly, the tool seems to have been discontinued. MGADiag is not programmed to operate on Windows 10. To check the Windows 10 product key validation, users can rely on several tools and tricks.
Here is how to verify if the product key is authentic for Windows 10:
Use Slmgr Command
Slmgr Command can help check Windows 10 product key validity. Here is how:
- Open the Run dialog by simultaneously pressing the Windows + R keys.
- Type “slmgr.vbs /dli” (no quotes) and press the Enter key. Slmgr is the abbreviation for Software License Manager and .vbs for Visual Basic Script.
- In the emerging window, check for ‘Volume_ activation expiration.’ If the text is there, it means the copy of your Windows 10 isn’t legally activated.
Use Windows 10 Settings
This is another way to perform Windows 10 product key validation. This method uses the Settings app and is quite straightforward. Here is how you can check for product key validation via the Windows 10 Settings app:
- Access the Start Menu and click on the Gear Icon to launch the Settings app
- Now, click on the Update & Security tab.
- Hover down to click on Activation located on the left pane.
- If the copy of your Windows 10 Operating System is genuinely activated, you will see text that reads, “Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account.”
Use Command Prompt
Alternatively, you can use the admin Command Prompt to check Windows 10 product key validation.
- On the Windows 10 Start Menu, type “Command Prompt” (no quotes) and hit Enter.
- Right-click on relevant results and select Run as Administrator.
- Copy and paste the command line below before hitting the Enter key.
- Check details on the emerging window. Proceed to check the expiry date of your Windows by replacing the command line above with the one below and hit Enter.
If your Windows 10 copy is genuine but for some reason, you’re receiving errors related to illegal product key validation, use the steps below to follow up on the issue:
- Open an elevated Command Prompt by following Steps 1 and 2 of the previous procedure.
- Copy and paste the command line below before hitting the Enter key
Licensingdiag.exe -report %userprofile%\desktop\report.txt -log %userprofile%\desktop\repfiles.cab
- Now, copy the results and save them to your OneDrive. Then, find the .txt file created by the system on your desktop and upload it too.
- Access the MS Product Activation Center and open a case.
Although using pirated software can be tempting considering the opportunity of using a dream app for next to nothing, there is always a price to pay. Apart from getting jail time and paying hefty fines depending on your location, you risk exposing your precious information to cybercriminals. Remember, it’s cybercriminals that crack software products intending to gain access to a huge number of PCs. If you have had a pirated software product, we advise installing a strong anti-malware security tool to scan and detect for any malicious programs that are capable of stealing information or spying on your activities.