Let’s be honest – software licenses are not cheap and in some cases may even run into hundreds of dollars. So, when you come across someone selling cheap Windows 10 license keys and touting them as ‘original’ can they be legit?
A copy of Microsoft Windows 10 Home costs RM919 in Malaysia (or $139 in the US) if you buy it at the Microsoft store. At the same time, sellers are flooding online e-commerce sites and forums offering ‘original’ Windows 10 keys for as low as RM19.
Are these Cheap Windows Licence Keys Legit?
To round things up simply in one word – No. The story behind the scenes is a little more involved than that answer though. For the software license keys to be legitimately sold to the public, they must come from the company that produces the software and intended for that purpose.
Because of the way software licensing works, there are various means of getting software keys for different purposes. Let’s say for example we assume that the RM19 key for Windows 10 we mentioned earlier is a real key and can be used to activate the software.
Unfortunately, it may be that the key was not originally intended for sale in Malaysia, intended for sale to educational institutions, or it could originally have been purchased illegally using a stolen credit card. There are many scenarios whereby keys could be original and yet obtained through illegal means.
While that would not likely get you into trouble, once the software vendor is notified of the issue with that key, it will likely disable that license. This means that if you’re using it, you’re just out of luck and RM19 poorer.
Don’t Support Criminals!
By buying cheap software license keys that most likely would have been stolen, you’re supporting a criminal ecosystem and encouraging them to continue their activities. In the best case, you might only be guilty of that, in the worst case, you’re helping them abuse programs set up by software vendors to help support poorer countries or students.
If the software vendors feel that such programs are costing them too much due to illegal activity, they might shut them down. You know it and I know it, there’s no way that you’re getting a real retail version of Microsoft software for RM19 legitimately.
How to Know if the Software You’re Buying is Legit
As I’ve been saying, price is a very good indicator. Unfortunately, the platform you’re buying from may not be a good indicator. I’ve seen these dirt-cheap keys for sale on so many legitimate and reputable sites so far that it’s simply astounding.
From Lazada in Malaysia to Amazon internationally, it’s often too easy in fact to find people selling these keys. Just because the platform is legitimate, doesn’t mean that the seller and/or product always is. In the case of pirated software, it’s also useful to know that software pirates today are sophisticated enough to use fake certificates of authenticity for the stuff they are selling.
If you are planning to purchase software keys from a website, it’s important to do your research and ensure that the keys you’re buying are legitimate. Here are some tips to help you know if the software keys you’re buying are legit:
- Purchase from reputable sources: Stick to purchasing software keys from reputable sources, such as the official website of the software vendor or authorized resellers.
- Read reviews: Look for reviews from previous customers who have purchased software keys from the website. If the website has a high number of negative reviews, it may be a red flag.
- Check for authenticity: Make sure that the website provides authentic software keys by checking if they offer a money-back guarantee or provide an authenticity certificate.
- Verify the vendor: Verify the vendor’s credentials by checking if they are authorized by the software vendor to sell their products. This information can usually be found on the vendor’s website or by contacting the software vendor directly.
- Use reputable payment methods: Always use reputable payment methods when purchasing software keys, such as PayPal or credit cards. These payment methods offer additional protection and can help you dispute any fraudulent charges.
- Avoid suspiciously low prices: If the price of the software key is too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid websites that offer software keys at suspiciously low prices, as these keys are likely to be counterfeit or fraudulent.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that the software keys you’re buying are legitimate and avoid the risks associated with purchasing counterfeit or fraudulent keys.
There are Better Options Available
While I certainly understand that there are limited options for those who can’t afford original software, you also need to be aware that there are some options. Software vendors often have steep discounts for students. Microsoft, for example, often has Student versions of their popular software, including Office, which can be obtained through your schools.
For businesses, there are several easy, affordable licensing solutions that can help ensure that organizations have genuine Microsoft software. For more information, contact your local Microsoft volume licensing representative or authorized Microsoft re-seller and ask them about Get Genuine Solutions