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For example, will it render his version of Windows useless after X days? I have advised him to purchase an authenticated version but am unsure what happens if it is detected to be not authentic.

EDIT The version of Windows is Windows XP. The client bought it second hand so am unsure if it came pre-loaded with Windows. Yes the validation tool was run and when you boot the PC, it displays the notice that the version of Windows running is not genuine.

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What version of Windows? Different versions of Windows handle activation differently. –  nhinkle Jul 24 '11 at 8:04
    
Can you post more info: Is this a new PC with a pre-loaded OS? Has he tried running the validation tool? What version of Windows? –  Tog Jul 24 '11 at 8:09
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The only real limitations to "not genuine" software are that non-security updates (free programs, although I think IE is not subject to this) cannot be downloaded from Microsoft (but they would actually install if you got them elsewhere), and the nags like the 5-second wait to log in, the black screen, and the logo telling you it is counterfeit.

To download the non-security updates and free products, like Microsoft Security Essentials, you must install components of the "Windows Genuine Advantage" initiative, which validates your install, and lets you continue your download.

Even without that, the PC will continue to function indefinitely, and they can install any software packages on it they want, including legitimate software packages from Microsoft like Office. There are no other restrictions other than the download from Microsoft aspect.

The only client I ever "fired" was because of their extensive use of counterfeit software, and they had virtually nothing that was legal when I first started, and it was like pulling teeth to get them to buy anything legally.

Your client should be gently urged to buy a legitimate copy of Windows, as you have done.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/genuine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Genuine_Advantage

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Thanks. Does this only apply to Windows XP or is it applicable to all version of Windows from Windows XP onwards e.g. Windows 2003, Vista, 7, 2008, etc? –  PeanutsMonkey Jul 24 '11 at 19:59
    
@PeanutsMonkey All versions to the best of my knowledge. I have never actually seen an illegal server install, but I have seen it on the Windows desktop OS'es. –  KCotreau Jul 24 '11 at 21:03
    
Thanks. Will certainly attempt to convince the user to buy a legitimate version of Windows. –  PeanutsMonkey Jul 24 '11 at 21:15
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