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I have a Dell computer that has just started waring me that Windows XP may be counterfeit, the operating system was pre-installed on the PC by Dell. Can I just ignore/disable the warning, or should I contact Dell?

Should I be worried that this may be a virus or malware?

This PC is 2-5 years old, the OS is original, and no hardware has been changed. The message started to appear within the last week.

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is this a new laptop? since when do you have it? when did it start giving this warning? is this the same pre-installed windows or did you have to manually re-install it at some point during its lifetime? – hasen Aug 17 '09 at 20:02
Best option to get the PROPER answer is to post a screen shot in your question. There is some malware that pretends to deactivate Windows – Canadian Luke Dec 16 '11 at 17:38

I would contact Dell - your Windows key/activation code should be unique.

EDIT: Even though the machine is (probably) out of warranty, they might be able to shed some light on why it's suddenly failed WGA. Microsoft do update WGA periodically and I believe add to the list of "bad" keys/activation codes. It could be that yours is in a range that's been compromised. Dell might be able to provide you with a new one.

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Use the WGA Diagnostic Site to troubleshoot this. If that doesn't offer any useful information, post your situation over at the Microsoft Genuine Advantage forum. If they have bugs in WGA, it is good to provide information for Microsoft to fix the problem.

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The diagnostic site is at (I could only post 1 link as a newbie) – user3710 Aug 20 '09 at 19:09

First of all, you should NOT ignore this warning. It might seem ok now but Windows will eventually get tired and not let you log in anymore.

Most times when you get that warning it's actually because you have a pirated license installed on your computer without your knowledge. Other times it can be a software or hardware failure.

Step 1: Verify if you have a legit copy. Click start, right click on my computer and select propterties. In the middle of the window you have a long number in the format xxxxx-xxx-xxxxxxx-xxxxx. If you have your original Dell license installed the second group should say OEM. If you have a pirated license(possibly corporate license) installed then it will be in the range of 640-649.

If you have a pirated license installed you need to re-install Windows.

If it says OEM above it's a software or hardware failure and you should contact Dell about it. Most likely you will have to re-install Windows to resolve it.

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If it was a pirated license why would it have worked for this long without problem? – Tester101 Aug 17 '09 at 20:42
because Microsoft pushed out a new version of their validation tool this spring through Windows Update. New versions always detect more bad licenses and thus you can get a warning on something that's been working for years. – Pär Björklund Aug 17 '09 at 21:27
Spring is further away than "a week ago". And this is an OEM machine according to the OP. I don't think we should question whether this is a legit copy given the details – Ciaran Aug 19 '09 at 23:18
not everyone is installing windows updates when they arrive and I'm giving advice, not saying that he's a dirty pirate. – Pär Björklund Aug 20 '09 at 6:22

I'm assuming this is an older PC as you mention Windows XP. This would mean that its way out of its 30 day activation grace period unless you recently re-installed the OS.

If you have not re-installed the OS then you are probably looking at some sort of malware (Windows doesn't just deactivate itself). Can you post a screenshot of the warning?

I know Windows gives you this warning if you have installed some sort of crack to bypass or turn off WGA

Edit: Given your update, I'm guessing malware. Can you post that screenshot?

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I can't remember where I got this from, but I had a similar problem on my Dell PC and did not want to have to phone support. I believe this ONLY works on DELL machines, but there is no harm trying it on other PC's.

I am now on vista so I cannot retest it so, if it does not work please don't complain. Also, the poor English is the from author of the post I copied the text from.

Follow these instructions:

start menu/run/ type "regedit" and press enter, this will take you to the registry editor

now navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/WindowsNT/CurrentVersion/WPAEvents

When you see 'WPAEvents' in the right-hand columm there should be 'OOBETimer' right click it and select 'modify' Change the numbers in there to; FF D5 71 D6 8B 6A 8D 6F d5 33 93 FD (this works with windows xp home and pro, both 32 and 64bit versions)

Next right click 'WPAEvents' and go into 'permissions'

Highlight 'SYSTEM' and underneath it check the two boxes under 'deny' then click 'OK'

That's it! I know it looks complicated but a compliant novice should be able to follow these instructions.

Hope this helps.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

After running every free anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware utilities I could find (without finding any issues), I decided the XP install was tired and old anyway so I reinstalled a fresh copy.

Not sure what caused the issue, but a reinstall seems to have fixed it.

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I saw this in our corporate environment. The copy was obviously legal and had been working. The problem was corruption. Like you eventually discovered, a reinstall fixed it.

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