3 ways to check whether your Windows is activated and genuine
Do you use Windows 10, Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and you want to know whether your copy is genuine or activated? Do you need to know whether activated copies of Windows are also genuine copies of Windows? If the answer is yes, this guide is what you have to read. We explain how activation works and whether it helps certify that your copy of Windows is genuine. Then, we also share all the methods for checking the Windows activation status. There’s plenty of ground to cover, so let’s get started:
NOTE: This guide works in Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. We tested all the methods we described, in all three versions. Some methods apply only to one version of Windows, and they are appropriately highlighted.
What is the link between activated Windows and genuine Windows?
Activation is a process that is built into Windows. It helps verify that your copy of Windows is genuine. When your Windows is genuine, you are eligible to receive all product updates and product support from Microsoft. If it is not genuine, you will still get security updates but not much else. Also, you are regularly asked to activate your copy of Windows, by providing a genuine product key.
The activation checks are regularly made by Windows. The first time it takes place is when you install Windows or when you first use a newly purchased PC or device with Windows. Another time an activation check is made is when you attempt to download optional updates from Microsoft. Significant hardware changes inside your computer can also trigger automatic activation checks.
Pirated versions of Windows may initially be activated and start working without issues but, after a few weeks of use, it is very likely that Microsoft’s activation checks will identify this problem and you will be asked to activate your copy of Windows by providing a valid product key.
Therefore, it is safe to assume that, if your Windows is activated, most probably it is also genuine. Read on to see several ways of checking whether your Windows is activated or not.
Method 1: Check the Windows activation status from the Control Panel (works in all versions of Windows)
This method applies to all modern versions of Windows, and it starts by opening the Control Panel. If you don’t know how read these guides:
- 8 Ways To Start The Control Panel In Windows 10
- Introducing Windows 8.1: 9 Ways to Access the Control Panel
Then, go to System and Security and click or tap System.
The System window is opened, where you see information about your computer or device. Scroll down this window, until you find the Windows Activation section.
In Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, you see a line stating whether Windows is activated or not, just like in the screenshot below.
In Windows 7, you will also see a badge on the right, with the text “ask for genuine Microsoft software”.
Method 2: Check the Windows activation status from the Command Prompt (works in all versions of Windows)
Another method that works in all modern versions of Windows is to run the Command Prompt as administrator. If you don’t know how to do this, read this guide: 7 Ways To Launch The Command Prompt In Windows.
Then, type the command “slmgr /xpr” and press Enter. You will see a prompt saying whether your Windows machine is activated or not. Click or tap OK, and you are done.
If you want to know more about slmgr and how it works, type this command without any parameters in the Command Prompt. Several prompts are shown, with information about all the parameters that can be used and what they do.
You can also get some documentation from Microsoft, here. It’s not good but it’s better than nothing.
Method 3: Check the Windows activation status from the Settings app (works only in Windows 10)
If you are using Windows 10, there’s another way for you to quickly check the activation status, which is very friendly especially on devices with touch.
First, open the Settings app. If you don’t know how, read this guide: 9 Ways to open the Settings app in Windows 10. Then, go to Update & security.
In the column on the left, click or tap Activation. Look on the right, and you will see the activation status of your Windows 10 computer or device.
In our case, Windows 10 is activated with a digital license to our Microsoft account. Windows 10 can also be activated using a product key that can be purchased in many ways. If you want to learn more about the activation methods and types of licenses, read this documentation from Microsoft: Activation in Windows 10. You will find very useful information.
How do I find my product key for Windows?
If your Windows is activated, everything is well and working. At this step, you may also want to know your product key, so that you write it down somewhere and reuse it, in case you need it in the future. For this task, you can use a free third-party app like the ones we recommend in this article: 6 Free apps that help you find your lost Windows product key.
How to tell whether your Microsoft software and hardware are genuine
Even though your Windows is activated, you can’t be 100% sure that it is also genuine, unless you get it from a trusted source. To educate users and make sure that they are not scammed into purchasing non-genuine hardware and software, Microsoft has created a portal with information on this topic. Check it out and learn how to make sure that you always buy genuine software and hardware.
Is your copy of Windows activated? Is it genuine?
Now that you have read our guide, let us know what you’ve learned: is your Windows activated? Is it genuine? Use the comments form below to share your experience.