Microsoft has setup a website in which they have on display many of the counterfeit copies of their products for your review. Included in the counterfeits are copies of Vista [all flavors] along with Office 2007. Examples of recently seized counterfeit products are also on display for comparison purposes.

On their site Microsoft also has an explanation of COA – Certificate Of Authenticity that is described as:

Certificate of Authenticity (COA) is a label that helps you identify genuine Microsoft software. A COA is not a software license – it is a visual identifier that assists in determining whether or not the Microsoft software you are running is genuine. However, without it, you will not have a legal license to run Microsoft software. A COA should never be purchased by itself without the software it authenticates.

To help you verify the authenticity of the Microsoft software you acquired, be sure that your software came with one of the following COAs (or a previous version) and that the COA includes the advanced piracy prevention features described.

For Windows software that comes pre-installed by a large manufacturer (also known as an Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM) on a computer, the COA should be affixed to the body of the computer. The COA includes the 25-character product key, which would be required if a reinstallation is needed. More information. View previous versions and compare now.

Though the web site is primarily for detection of counterfeit software products, it can also be used by those who are bying a used computer system. As described above, most OEM’s will have the COA affixed to the body of the computer. If you are looking at a used system, confirm that the COA is intact and that the Product Key is clearly visible and also intact. This may just help in preventing you from buying a system with a illegal copy of Windows installed.

Comments welcome.

Microsoft web site is here.
[tags]microsoft, counterfeit, website, genuine, [/tags]