I just bought windows 8.1 from a local online seller (don't live in the US) and I am having a feeling that it isn't legal because the price was somewhat low.

The seller advertised the copy as 'retail', and they work, and the seller also had a couple of MAK keys for windows.

I wanted to know if it was possible that I bought an illegal copy of windows? I found out that there are many MSDNAA keys which are illegal to use, so what is a reliable way to check if you have a good legal windows copy? Also, are there MSDN MAK keys (MAK = multiple access keys = keys that can be activated on multiple PC's)? Because if there are only retail versions of MAK keys I am probably in the green :) .

Thanks in advance.


well, any computer with windows pre-installed needs to be activated online, if you pc successfully activated itself online, it means your windows copy is genuine, (this applies specially to win 8 / 8.1)

if your pc comes with a 'pre-activated' copy of windows it had to have a Certificate Of Authenticity (COA) somewhere, and that sticker should have the serial number used to activated your pc

about the MAK keys, there are retailers who buys the serials and the computers that they sell uses that serial, but as the first statement, it needs an online activation

if you can download updates from the windows update utility without any issue, and if you can access certain downloads on microsoft place that requires a 'certification check' it means that you're in 'green'

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    Also check out microsoft.com/genuine where you can find out what the products you have purchased should look like and a link to a 'how to tell' section and if you're still not sure after that then you can contact support and they will help you. – James Snell Aug 14 '14 at 11:17

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