Question Win7 Pro 64 Reported As Not Genuine

Mantrid-Drone

Senior member
Mar 15, 2014
290
22
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I've had this PC since 2016 when I activated the 100% genuine Win7 Pro 64. No problems since then in this respect until earlier today.

Suddenly I get a pop-up saying this 6 years old fully updated by MS until Win7 supported ended is now, mysteriously not genuine.

Pretty sure this must be caused by the fact that about a month ago I replaced the almost full 128GB SSD originally fitted with a 500GB one cloned from that.

Nothing untoward reported after the replacement; Windows continued indicating on the System Info screen that the licence and OS are just as before genuine and activated. I even had the last monthly Windows Malicious Software Revoval tool offered and installed and why would that happen if it was not a valid Windows OS.

Problem is that as the reported issue is that Windows is not a valid copy the option to (re)activate it is missing. I was therefore sent on a merry-go-round of unhelpful "help" pages online at MS until apparently opening some sort of ticket with customer 'phone support from which I'm waiting to get a response.

Question is what do you do in such circumstances? What is the best course of action?

Even more worrying is that I updated my other (Win7 Pro) PC a few weeks later in the same way. At this time there is no indication of any trouble, Windows is shown as valid and activated but I'm really concerned I'm go through this again with that too some time soon.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
53,779
8,014
126
Should be on Win10, at least. This is Fate telling you that.

TBH, I don't know why the problem happens, but I've seen it before as well. GL.
 

Jimminy

Member
May 19, 2020
187
60
71
Even with win 10, after I've made hardware changes, sometimes it throws a fit. Have to go to my "account" several times, and it usually finally clears up, but never says pee turkey about what the problem was.
 

Mantrid-Drone

Senior member
Mar 15, 2014
290
22
81
I need this Win7 Pro 64 PC and I've paid for the genuine OS software and key. It has been working fine for 6 years and then suddenly this drivel.

But how best to fix it?

Microsoft 'help' is a bad joke; I opened a 'ticket' which was difficult enough in itself to do given the labyrinthine and purposefully unhelpful nature of their Help pages. I received an automated 'phone call about an hour later giving me various less than useful options.

I selected "Other" problems only to be told telephone support has been ended and I should look for help on their web site..........................................the very place I had been to find out how to get help and open a 'ticket'. Kafkaesque.

The thing is a well known problem for years, including whilst Win7 was still being actively supported, yet there is no official MS recommended solution

It is reported that in plenty of documented, genuinely valid Windows installs, like my own, it is caused by a glitch on the MS activation servers which check the OS validation. What triggers the glitch is unclear.

I found this quote on another web site where this matter was being discussed, in particular one of the recommended solutions being to remove or hide the KB971033 Windows Update:-

"The main problem is that when a Windows installation has been flagged as non-legit, the procedure to recover require advanced knowledge and is not widely known. It is not a matter of uninstalling KB971033 any longer."

What it does not say is what the procedure needed actually is.
 

Mantrid-Drone

Senior member
Mar 15, 2014
290
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81
Update (maybe useful info for others).

Using a supposed fix with CMD Prompt "slmgr -rearm" I managed to get my desktop back and also what appears to be just a short "period of grace" whilst trying to sort out this problem.

What it did though is allow me to use the Activate Windows Now system properties page options. I used the telephone activation ones and deliberately messed it up (a trick I'd read about years ago) so I'd get put through to a real person.

That worked and I had a surprisingly long conversation with him trying for sort out the matter and later his supervisor. The bottom line though was that either they now don't have the knowledge, the tools or (probably) the desire to help fix this sort of problem with a Win7 installation.

The 'real person' said the problem was likely as a result of the cloning of the SSD. The 63 number Installation ID didn't match up with either the Product Key or the specific Product ID, not clear which.

The 'solution' recommended, surprise, surprise, was to use the original install disc to do a fresh install of Win7 and then that, hopefully, fix the validation issue.

But this raises the whole question of what happens when you need to or want to replace the primary OS SSD/HDD in a PC. I used a System cloning tool - EASEUS Todo and the cloned SSD was working fine with Windows reporting the OS as "Activated" until this authentication issue arose.

If the installation ID is changed by the cloning and that is the cause of the problem, even though it is being used in exactly the same PC, how come none of the articles or forum posts about cloning/replacing the primary SSD/HDD do not mention this,

My thinking is that maybe it is actually a licencing thing not a key one. I'm using an OEM Windows licence and that is reporting the installation as a clone on new hardware ie. the replacement SSD. It is this even though in the same PC and perhaps doing that is not covered by the OEM licence.

However could it also mean the possibility that even if I do a clean reinstall of the OS from the original disc onto a new SSD that will have a different installation ID too and again not be covered by the original licence if using the same product key?

Comments/thoughts welcome.
 
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Mantrid-Drone

Senior member
Mar 15, 2014
290
22
81
Update - may be some useful info for others with the same issue so please excuse the double post.

Using a supposed fix with CMD Prompt "slmgr -rearm"* I managed to get my desktop back and also what appears to be just a short "period of grace" whilst trying to sort out this problem.

What it did though is allow me to use the "Activate Windows Now" system Properties page options. I used the telephone activation ones and deliberately messed it up (a trick I'd read about years ago) so I'd get put through to a real person.

That worked and I had a surprisingly long conversation with him trying for sort out the matter and later his supervisor. The bottom line though was that either they now don't have the knowledge, the tools or (probably) the desire to help fix this sort of problem with a Win7 installation.

The 'real person' said the problem was likely as a result of the cloning of the SSD. The 63 number Installation ID didn't match up with either the previous Product Key or the specific Product ID, not clear which.

BTW such information can be found by using CMD Prompt again (Admin rights enabled):-

slmgr /dlv

The dialogue box with the info may take 5+ seconds to appear.

The 'solution' recommended in the end, surprise, surprise, was to use the original install disc to do a fresh install of Win7 and then that, hopefully, fixes the validation issue.

But this raises the whole question of what happens when you need to or want to replace the primary OS SSD/HDD in a PC. I used a System cloning tool - EASEUS Todo and the cloned SSD was working fine with Windows reporting the OS as "Activated" until this authentication issue arose.

If the Installation ID is changed by the cloning and that is the cause of the problem, even though it is being used in exactly the same PC, how come none of the articles or forum posts about cloning/replacing the primary SSD/HDD mention this,

My thinking is that maybe it is actually a licencing thing not a key one. I'm using an OEM Windows licence and that is reporting the installation as a clone on new hardware ie. the replacement SSD. Correct even though in exactly the same PC but perhaps doing that is not covered by the OEM licence.

However could it also mean the possibility that even if I do a clean reinstall of the OS from the original disc onto a new SSD that will have a different installation ID too and again not be covered by the original licence if I use the same product key?

Comments/thoughts welcome.

* This is only a temporary fix, the activation status is reset to 3 days but with a "period of grace" of a month. I assume this means that after 3 days it'll go back to the black desktop and basic Windows functionality, with warning prompts on start up and, after a month Windows, will be disabled.
 

mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
6,460
996
126
What's the reason not to upgrade to Win10?

Install Open Shell Menu if you don't like Win10's start menu.

 

Mantrid-Drone

Senior member
Mar 15, 2014
290
22
81
Simple reasons: I prefer to stick to Win7, my MB only supports up to Win 8 so I'll likely have driver and software issues. The PC is fine, the OS is still very useable and I do not want the hassle of having to deal with the unwanted extra cost which I certainly don't need at this time and late stage.

By late stage I mean that I've been buying, slowly, the bits and pieces I need to build a Win 11 desktop and be able to skip Win 10 entirely. The irony now is that because I need this Win 7 PC to be working fixing this current matter is going to set back that project months.

My Win7 OS installation is genuine, as said its had the same Win 7 OS 'Activated' in 2016 and updated by MS for the last 6 years. Suddenly, mysteriously they decide its not genuine. It makes no sense unless it was the cloning of the primary SSD has caused this problem.

I hope it is that but even then it is odd.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
15,434
5,658
136
I'd ring Microsoft's activation line. They'll ask the question "is this licence installed on more than one PC", you say no, they activate it... is what I think will happen.
 

Mantrid-Drone

Senior member
Mar 15, 2014
290
22
81
It doesn't and the didn't.

I had quite a long chat with two MS people on the activation line as I said in my OP and they could not do that, which is what I hoped they would do. The reason seemed to be that the installation ID and the key ID didn't match as before, presumably because of the SSD change.

It could be something to do with the licensing rules with an OEM Windows version I'm using.
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,925
657
136
An OEM version of Windows 7 is limited to a single machine, but what defines the machine is the CPU/motherboard (not the system drive). Are you absolutely sure that this is the exact same media you used to originally install Windows on this machine? Since you have two machines, you didn't get the two medias for the two desktops mixed up by chance, did you?

Also, if you swap the original system drive that was cloned back into the machine that contains the original Windows install and then boot up the machine, is Windows still activated? The act of cloning should not have changed anything on the original system drive. If it is still activated, you can try to clone it again with another tool like Macrium or Acronis.
 
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Mantrid-Drone

Senior member
Mar 15, 2014
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Reinstalling the original SSD and testing that is something I've been putting off in the hope there would be some simpler solution. But I think that is what I'm going to have to do, certainly before trying another (new genuine key) or a Windows reinstall from the original disc.

The new 500GB SSD was cloned using an EASUS Todo System Drive cloning tool direct from that original 128GB one so there has been no mistake mixing up the media because the original genuine, easily identifiable OEM installer disc was not involved.

The product key (I still have the COA sticker of course) is the original one too showing the same ID in the system information screen its always done throughout the 6 years since the OS was installed. Its never had to be reinstalled and I think that throughout that time SFC and CHKDSK have only had to 'repair' it once (SFC) and twice (CHKDSK).

Incidentally both those tools run at this time show no problems at all.

The CPU and MB are the same as they've always been. Only other things I've change in the last three months is upgrading the RAM to 16GB from 8GB replacing 4 x 2GB with 2 x 8GB ones (different make but same DDR3 1600Hz type). I also replaced the two storage HDDs (1TB and 160GB), as they were getting full, with two matched 1TB ones.
 

deustroop

Golden Member
Dec 12, 2010
1,878
322
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You have covered the basics so its time for a Hail Mary: reclone the original OEM disk using Macrium which is major a step up from EASEUS .There is a free edition here
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
15,434
5,658
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It doesn't and the didn't.

I had quite a long chat with two MS people on the activation line as I said in my OP and they could not do that, which is what I hoped they would do. The reason seemed to be that the installation ID and the key ID didn't match as before, presumably because of the SSD change.

It could be something to do with the licensing rules with an OEM Windows version I'm using.
I agree with others here that something else must have changed along with the SSD. I've literally never had to do a Windows reactivation (let alone the licence being marked as not genuine) purely because of an SSD change (and I've done a lot of HDD replacements with SSDs, many clean installs, though an increasing number of clone jobs in recent years).

I realise this opinion is of no help to you in your current situation. I have the feeling that MS have decided to alter the conditions that require a licence reactivation, at least for Windows 7. I had a situation recently with a virtual machine guest running Win7 needing a new licence key because reasons (I backed up the entire VM config in Virtualbox using its own backup function while I did a Linux OS upgrade / clean install), and as I had some spare at the time I didn't fight it. I also have the feeling that no amount of reinstalling or reimaging is going to help this particular Windows licence, but I haven't had a huge amount of experience with licences being marked as dodgy previously. Once upon a time (XP era) it was common when I did a clean install on an big-name OEM PC (e.g. Packard Bell) that the licence refused to activate over the Internet and I often had to ring the activation line to get it to activate.

I've also seen OEM licences used on completely different PCs than what they were originally activated on without any issues.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
7,093
1,045
126
If you have a legit license and can't get this done any other way, I'd try KMSPico... from a trusted source. Windows Defender/other may not like it, might need excluded from detection-actions.
 

Mantrid-Drone

Senior member
Mar 15, 2014
290
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^ Yes he can and did. :)

I could not wait any longer to get this sorted so I genuinely new a matched Win7 Pro 64bit MS factory sealed OEM disc/key.

The whole package was clearly genuinely and after rubbing off the covering the key ID was entered and confirmed as legitimate. It installed and (re)activated/(re)licenced my system immediately, thankfully.

Not pleased about the cost at all but it fixed it and I now have proof that everything is as it should be. But why it reported as 'not genuine' is still a mystery. As others have said here, if the CPU and MB were not changed it should still have been reporting as the same PC it always has been despite cloning the SSD.

To stop the risk of this happening again would turning off 'Check for updates but ask' and using don't check at help. I long ago changed the Group Policy settings to prevent MS 'telemetry' gathering but I was also wondering if deleting the KB971033 update, connected with system validation and activation by MS, would be advisable as well.
 

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