I remember years ago thinking that many people who were using pirated copies of Windows XP deserved what they got by not being able to take advantage of updates or upgrades provided by Microsoft. But as the years have passed it became apparent that some people who were using pirated copies of Windows XP may have been the victims of deceit and were unaware their copies were in fact illegal. Some ways in which people were taken advantage of include:

  • Buying a used PC with a illegal copy installed and not be told this by the seller.
  • Buying a copy of Windows XP online from one of the auction houses and being told it was legal.
  • Buying a PC from a system builder who used pirated copies to increase their profit margin.

There are many other ways that people ended up with illegal copies of Windows XP, but these are just some of the examples of how it could happen. Microsoft in fact realized this could happen and provided a way to update the licensing information of Windows XP, without having to resort to a complete reinstall of the operating system. What brought this to my attention was a posting in one of the forums today in which the writer stated:

I just found out the version of XP installed on my PC is not authentic. I have since purchased a licensed copy of Xp and want to install it – for many reasons, but mostly to be legal and able to take advantage of the support available to an owner of authentic licensed software. I also have many problems with my PC and I am almost certain they are directly related to the
pirated software. I want to uninstall the pirated version and install the licensed copy.

What will happen if I do this? Will I lose software installed since the pirated XP was installed? Lose files? Programs? Etc… I am not too technically savvy, but have some knowledge, so please reply in kind. (: I’m really just trying to determine if an uninstall of pirated software and an install of the licensed version is the best route for me, but really have no idea what will happen if I do this. Any help from the “pros” is appreciated!

Fortunately someone responded to this request and provided this person with a link to Microsoft’s site, which fully explains the process on how to update the licensing information without a complete reinstall. Though this procedure may not help with problems the user may experiencing, i.e. viruses or spyware, none the less it is painless and works very well.

So if you are a victim of a pirated copy of Windows XP having been installed on your system, follow the directions described in this KB article after you have purchased a legal product key.

Microsoft site here.

[tags]windows, xp, pirated copy, license, product, key, [/tags]