Can you trust website’s offering cheap / discounted Windows licenses?

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There are many sellers out there selling Windows keys for less money than the official shops are doing. Are they safe? Should you trust them? It’s a hard question to answer and we will explain why.

There are many website’s that sell reputable keys which are meant for retail sale to end-users but there are also many website’s that sell licenses meant for Volume activation (so called Volume License Keys). Those keys will appear to activate at first but after a while they will de-activate and never work again since they require a Key Management Server.

Microsoft itself warns for this type of sale too on their website. To quote them:

Microsoft

With the exception of Product Key Cards (PKC’s) distributed with COA’s, Microsoft does not distribute products keys as standalone products. If you see a listing on an auction site, online classified ad, or other online page advertising product keys for sale, it’s a good indication that the keys are likely stolen or counterfeit. If you were to purchase and use a stolen or counterfeit product key to activate Windows installed on your PC, the key may not work for activation, may already be in use on another PC, or it might be blocked from use later by Microsoft when the key is reported stolen.

However this does not have to mean that online sellers of keys are always doing this. They might be very legit and just have a very good sale going on their website. However we do want you to be cautious, remember; if a deal is too good to be true than it might be exactly that.

So what can you do to check a website and stay safe? We firstly recommend you buy your license keys trough Microsoft itself however if you do decide to buy the license key from a third party seller than read reviews of their website (simply google: “Website name” reviews) and see what people are writing. You can also use a website like Trend Micro Site Safety checker to make sure the website isn’t blacklisted or has been blacklisted in the past. Another good website to check is URLVoid which gives you the reputation of a website.

In the end it’s up to you and the feeling you have with the website you’ve found. However be cautious that keys might work perfectly in the begin but after a while they might stop working or be blocked by Microsoft. Be also sure to check the website it’s reputation before sending your credit card or other payment information to them. Do a bit of research for that cheap Windows license and you might find out why they are so check or …. They just have a good deal.

We hope this short article helps you choose where to buy your Windows licenses and make a good decision. Remember 2 cheap keys might be as expensive as a real key from the Microsoft store. Thanks for reading.

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About The Author
Yuri Pustjens
Yuri Pustjens
2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Windows Yuri specializes in troubleshooting (crash analysis and devices), system resource utilisation and system performance. He is also very interested in Customer Security. Yuri can be found as Windows Community Moderator and Wiki Author on Microsoft Answers and is active on different communities all across the web.
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