Windows 7 key fraud?

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Topic Author
Nyc10036
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Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:29 pm

Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by Nyc10036 »

I recently received an Acer laptops that I bought on eBay.
The seller had Windows 7 Pro installed.
I promptly upgraded to Windows 10 Pro which Microsoft still allows and is legal.

Then I noticed something odd.
Under Activation, it said, Windows is activated using your organization's activation service.

I looked it up, and it turns it that after 180 days, this "license" is going to run out.

Did I just buy a laptop without a legitimate Windows 7 key?
Makefile
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by Makefile »

How old is the laptop? Anything from the Windows 8 or later days should have a Windows license baked into the BIOS, even if this one turns out somehow to have shipped with an illegitimate OS.
123
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by 123 »

Nyc10036 wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:57 pm ...I looked it up, and it turns it that after 180 days, this "license" is going to run out.

Did I just buy a laptop without a legitimate Windows 7 key?
Perhaps it will automatically renew the activation when the license runs out?

I would rather not be dependent upon some third party holding my activation authority.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
CFM300
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by CFM300 »

I think you should have fully activated Windows 7 before updating to Windows 10. Have you checked under the battery to see if there's an activation code for Win 7? If so, you might have to reinstall Win 7, activate using the code, then upgrade to Win 10.
criticalmass
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by criticalmass »

Nyc10036 wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:57 pm I recently received an Acer laptops that I bought on eBay.
The seller had Windows 7 Pro installed.
I promptly upgraded to Windows 10 Pro which Microsoft still allows and is legal.

Then I noticed something odd.
Under Activation, it said, Windows is activated using your organization's activation service.

I looked it up, and it turns it that after 180 days, this "license" is going to run out.

Did I just buy a laptop without a legitimate Windows 7 key?
Forget the current situation. Maybe it had a school's or business's license, who knows? It's not worth debugging.
If you bought the laptop used, I highly recommend installing everything from scratch. Who knows what software / malware is lurking on the machine otherwise. You may have to install 7 from a USB stick and then upgrade to 10 again. The 7 license should be included with the machine serial number, if it was originally licensed---it typically will have a sticker somewhere indicating this.
seawolf21
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by seawolf21 »

CFM300 wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:38 pm I think you should have fully activated Windows 7 before updating to Windows 10. Have you checked under the battery to see if there's an activation code for Win 7? If so, you might have to reinstall Win 7, activate using the code, then upgrade to Win 10.
criticalmass wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:08 pm
Nyc10036 wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:57 pm I recently received an Acer laptops that I bought on eBay.
The seller had Windows 7 Pro installed.
I promptly upgraded to Windows 10 Pro which Microsoft still allows and is legal.

Then I noticed something odd.
Under Activation, it said, Windows is activated using your organization's activation service.

I looked it up, and it turns it that after 180 days, this "license" is going to run out.

Did I just buy a laptop without a legitimate Windows 7 key?
Forget the current situation. Maybe it had a school's or business's license, who knows? It's not worth debugging.
If you bought the laptop used, I highly recommend installing everything from scratch. Who knows what software / malware is lurking on the machine otherwise. You may have to install 7 from a USB stick and then upgrade to 10 again. The 7 license should be included with the machine serial number, if it was originally licensed---it typically will have a sticker somewhere indicating this.
Working/activated Win 7 is not needed for a Win 10 upgrade; you just need to have a Win 7 key and Win10 upgrade on a USB stick/CD.

I agree that a new fresh install including deleting existing hard drive partitions and creating new would be best.
Topic Author
Nyc10036
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by Nyc10036 »

seawolf21 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:34 pm Working/activated Win 7 is not needed for a Win 10 upgrade; you just need to have a Win 7 key and Win10 upgrade on a USB stick/CD.

I agree that a new fresh install including deleting existing hard drive partitions and creating new would be best.
I Google'd the seller.
He works in IT at a community college.
I am guessing that is why the keys are the way they are.

Technically, these laptops probably did not come with a Windows 7 license.

From what I read, Microsoft lets you keep Windows 10 unactivated forever. :shock:
Makefile
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by Makefile »

Nyc10036 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:52 pm
seawolf21 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:34 pm Working/activated Win 7 is not needed for a Win 10 upgrade; you just need to have a Win 7 key and Win10 upgrade on a USB stick/CD.

I agree that a new fresh install including deleting existing hard drive partitions and creating new would be best.
I Google'd the seller.
He works in IT at a community college.
I am guessing that is why the keys are the way they are.

Technically, these laptops probably did not come with a Windows 7 license.

From what I read, Microsoft lets you keep Windows 10 unactivated forever. :shock:
Did you ever go into the BIOS and see if there is any indication of a Windows 8 or 10 license being in there? If there is, and you had done a clean install w/o entering a key, 10 probably would've used that instead.
And yeah. XP was strict with the product activation; Vista/7 would just punish you by taking your wallpaper away, I think 10 just nags you on occasion.
Topic Author
Nyc10036
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by Nyc10036 »

Makefile wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:56 pm
Nyc10036 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:52 pm
seawolf21 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:34 pm Working/activated Win 7 is not needed for a Win 10 upgrade; you just need to have a Win 7 key and Win10 upgrade on a USB stick/CD.

I agree that a new fresh install including deleting existing hard drive partitions and creating new would be best.
I Google'd the seller.
He works in IT at a community college.
I am guessing that is why the keys are the way they are.

Technically, these laptops probably did not come with a Windows 7 license.

From what I read, Microsoft lets you keep Windows 10 unactivated forever. :shock:
Did you ever go into the BIOS and see if there is any indication of a Windows 8 or 10 license being in there? If there is, and you had done a clean install w/o entering a key, 10 probably would've used that instead.
And yeah. XP was strict with the product activation; Vista/7 would just punish you by taking your wallpaper away, I think 10 just nags you on occasion.
Nothing in BIOS to indicate that Windows 8 or Windows 10 was installed.
I ended up using a Windows 7 Pro key from a different laptop after removing the key that the seller used.
Microsoft took it.

EDIT:
Using the laptop's serial number, I was able to determine that the original OS was Linux.
So, it appears that the seller somehow got a hold of a Windows 7 Pro key that requires the laptop to connect to a KMS server every 180 days to keep Windows 10 activated.
criticalmass
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by criticalmass »

Nyc10036 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:50 pm
Makefile wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:56 pm
Nyc10036 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:52 pm
seawolf21 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:34 pm Working/activated Win 7 is not needed for a Win 10 upgrade; you just need to have a Win 7 key and Win10 upgrade on a USB stick/CD.

I agree that a new fresh install including deleting existing hard drive partitions and creating new would be best.
I Google'd the seller.
He works in IT at a community college.
I am guessing that is why the keys are the way they are.

Technically, these laptops probably did not come with a Windows 7 license.

From what I read, Microsoft lets you keep Windows 10 unactivated forever. :shock:
Did you ever go into the BIOS and see if there is any indication of a Windows 8 or 10 license being in there? If there is, and you had done a clean install w/o entering a key, 10 probably would've used that instead.
And yeah. XP was strict with the product activation; Vista/7 would just punish you by taking your wallpaper away, I think 10 just nags you on occasion.
Nothing in BIOS to indicate that Windows 8 or Windows 10 was installed.
I ended up using a Windows 7 Pro key from a different laptop after removing the key that the seller used.
Microsoft took it.

EDIT:
Using the laptop's serial number, I was able to determine that the original OS was Linux.
So, it appears that the seller somehow got a hold of a Windows 7 Pro key that requires the laptop to connect to a KMS server every 180 days to keep Windows 10 activated.
It may have been an enterprise Windows 7 Pro key from the school that is independent from the laptop purchase. I'd say that is more likely than not, and also explains the message you saw.
Topic Author
Nyc10036
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by Nyc10036 »

I wish I knew how this enterprise Windows 7 keys worked.
I am concerned that after 180 days the key expires since the laptop is no longer connected to the college's server.

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lazydavid
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by lazydavid »

Nyc10036 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:50 pm EDIT:
Using the laptop's serial number, I was able to determine that the original OS was Linux.
So, it appears that the seller somehow got a hold of a Windows 7 Pro key that requires the laptop to connect to a KMS server every 180 days to keep Windows 10 activated.
To clarify, they didn't "somehow get a hold of" said key, they are completely public information. I'm guessing the product key that is installed on your system is:

FJ82H-XT6CR-J8D7P-XQJJ2-GPDD4

That is the KMS key for Windows 7 Pro. It may have changed to:

W269N-WFGWX-YVC9B-4J6C9-T83GX

during your upgrade, which is the KMS key for Windows 10 Pro. You can find them for every version of Windows here. In large enterprises (or educational institutions), this is how licensing is almost always done, because the standard MAK (Multiple Access Key) activation process is a pain in the rear at scale. In fact, the ISOs provided to volume licensees don't even ask for a product key during installation, they just use the default KMS key. In my business, I do exactly what was done here--order all of my laptops with Linux, and then immediately reimage them with Windows 10 Enterprise, using my KMS server for licensing. That way I don't have to pay for Windows twice.

Unfortunately yes, you did just buy a laptop that does not have a valid Windows license (because it is no longer owned by the entity that DID have a license), and you will have to purchase one in order to stay legal. A legitimate Windows 10 pro license key costs approximately $150, though discounts are generally available if you or someone in your household is a student or educator. Did the auction state that the laptop included a license for Windows 7 Pro?
Topic Author
Nyc10036
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by Nyc10036 »

lazydavid wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:44 pm
Nyc10036 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:50 pm EDIT:
Using the laptop's serial number, I was able to determine that the original OS was Linux.
So, it appears that the seller somehow got a hold of a Windows 7 Pro key that requires the laptop to connect to a KMS server every 180 days to keep Windows 10 activated.
To clarify, they didn't "somehow get a hold of" said key, they are completely public information. I'm guessing the product key that is installed on your system is:

FJ82H-XT6CR-J8D7P-XQJJ2-GPDD4

That is the KMS key for Windows 7 Pro. It may have changed to:

W269N-WFGWX-YVC9B-4J6C9-T83GX

during your upgrade, which is the KMS key for Windows 10 Pro. You can find them for every version of Windows here. In large enterprises (or educational institutions), this is how licensing is almost always done, because the standard MAK (Multiple Access Key) activation process is a pain in the rear at scale. In fact, the ISOs provided to volume licensees don't even ask for a product key during installation, they just use the default KMS key. In my business, I do exactly what was done here--order all of my laptops with Linux, and then immediately reimage them with Windows 10 Enterprise, using my KMS server for licensing. That way I don't have to pay for Windows twice.

Unfortunately yes, you did just buy a laptop that does not have a valid Windows license (because it is no longer owned by the entity that DID have a license), and you will have to purchase one in order to stay legal. A legitimate Windows 10 pro license key costs approximately $150, though discounts are generally available if you or someone in your household is a student or educator. Did the auction state that the laptop included a license for Windows 7 Pro?
Thank you!!!

The FJ82H ... is exactly the key that was installed in the laptop.

The auction skirted around the issue by saying that Windows 7 Pro was installed.
When I asked him about it, he said I shouldn't have a problem and that I should contact him in 180 days if I do.

Since I have the laptop, after 180 days, it will try to contact the KMS server and will not be able to.
:annoyed
.
ballons
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by ballons »

Nyc10036 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:50 pm Using the laptop's serial number, I was able to determine that the original OS was Linux.
So, it appears that the seller somehow got a hold of a Windows 7 Pro key that requires the laptop to connect to a KMS server every 180 days to keep Windows 10 activated.
If the listing said it included Windows 7 Pro, file a SNAD claim and get your money back. You have 180 days.
Topic Author
Nyc10036
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by Nyc10036 »

ballons wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 3:23 pm
Nyc10036 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:50 pm Using the laptop's serial number, I was able to determine that the original OS was Linux.
So, it appears that the seller somehow got a hold of a Windows 7 Pro key that requires the laptop to connect to a KMS server every 180 days to keep Windows 10 activated.
If the listing said it included Windows 7 Pro, file a SNAD claim and get your money back. You have 180 days.
I have contacted him again.
I am waiting to see how he responds.

He works in IT.
I cannot believe that he is so idiotic as to do something like this.
lazydavid
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by lazydavid »

Can you link the auction, if it hasn't been purged already?
Topic Author
Nyc10036
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by Nyc10036 »

lazydavid wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 3:39 pm Can you link the auction, if it hasn't been purged already?
This is what it said in the auction regarding the OS:
It has a fresh copy of Windows 7 Professional with all of the drivers installed.
There were three photos of the laptop but nothing with the activation information.

In my latest eBay message to him, I linked that Microsoft website page you linked.

I am very interested in how he will respond.

I thought he was a reseller with OEM WIndows 7 keys.
Topic Author
Nyc10036
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Re: Windows 7 key fraud?

Post by Nyc10036 »

Update:

Based on the professional knowledge of Boglehead @lazydavid,
I can report that the laptop I bought does not have a legal Windows 7 Pro key.

How do I know this?
Because in Activation I see Windows is activated using your organization's activation service.
I mentioned this in my original post.
I have purchased many used laptops on eBay and I had never seen that before.
If you see something like this, don't buy the laptop.

I have decided to keep the laptop and do a clean installation of Windows 10.
Except for a few minor details, Microsoft seems to allow people to continue using Windows 10 without activation.

I have also messaged the seller telling him I know what he did.

I am not sure what to do about the seller's eBay feedback.
He did offer to take back the laptop, but I have decided to keep the laptop with all its faults.
On the other hand, someone without access to the professional knowledge of Boglehead @lazydavid,
would have been deceived and possibly get a Your windows license is expiring message six months in the future.


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