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Windows suddenly not genuine?

MimMim Now known as "Bim"It means "Bisexual Mim"Registered User regular
edited April 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey H/A (again; I hate having two threads on 1 page. Sorry!)

I bought my laptop in September and got it upgraded to Windows 7 when the CD came in November. In December something happened and it became buggy so I took it to the Geek Squad and I had it back by January. I've been using it and all of a sudden today it tells me my copy of Windows isn't genuine. That I can use a program on the Microsoft site to repair what is causing Windows to say its not genuine and to validate it.

Is this a scam/virus? The web address says its from the Microsoft website but I didn't want to fuck with anything and end up without a laptop again (especially during finals).

Mim on

Posts

  • cmsamocmsamo Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Is the current windows CD key the same as the CD key on your Windows 7 Upgrade disk?

    Maybe the engineers who fixed your PC installed a version of Windows 7 that wasn't authentic? Just a thought. If you have a certified Windows 7 and valid product key, and your PC is currently saying it's registered to that key, then give MS a call and see what they say?

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  • ResonantResonant Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    When Geek Squad "repaired" it, did they wipe everything and reinstall Windows?

    In that case, they may have used a non-genuine version. In that case, I'd call them and be very very very furious.

    To prove this, take a look at this. http://pcsupport.about.com/od/productkeysactivation/ht/windows-7-key.htm

    Match the key with the key you have for the upgrade CD. If they mismatch, you know that the version of Windows you are using is not your own.

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  • SliderSlider Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I got that a few months ago, so I just disabled the automatic updates. Since my lappy works fine, I don't see why I constantly need to be harrassed by those annoying Microsoft updates, anyway.

    You could do what I did and just not worry about it, or yeah, contact Best Buy.

  • TejsTejs Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Slider wrote: »
    I got that a few months ago, so I just disabled the automatic updates. Since my lappy works fine, I don't see why I constantly need to be harrassed by those annoying Microsoft updates, anyway.

    You could do what I did and just not worry about it, or yeah, contact Best Buy.

    You still install those updates though, don't you?

    If not, then wow.

  • MimMim Now known as "Bim" It means "Bisexual Mim"Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I shall do all of this. I just don't get why it would happen I gave them EVERYTHING they needed when I turned the laptop in along with the code.

    It might explain why, when my laptop starts up, that it says the Acer disc has a problem and needs to finish installing Windows 7, but my laptop is a gateway..

  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Mim wrote: »
    I shall do all of this. I just don't get why it would happen I gave them EVERYTHING they needed when I turned the laptop in along with the code.

    It might explain why, when my laptop starts up, that it says the Acer disc has a problem and needs to finish installing Windows 7, but my laptop is a gateway..

    Yeah, sounds like Geek Squad is living up to their reputation here. I know it isn't super helpful, but in the future you'll want to avoid them like the plague.

    Also, for future reference, re-installing Windows is something that anyone can do by inserting the disc, selecting "DVD Drive" from the boot menu as your computer starts up, and following the prompts.

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  • CasualCasual Ho Ho Ho Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Resonant wrote: »
    When Geek Squad "repaired" it, did they wipe everything and reinstall Windows?

    In that case, they may have used a non-genuine version. In that case, I'd call them and be very very very furious.

    To prove this, take a look at this. http://pcsupport.about.com/od/productkeysactivation/ht/windows-7-key.htm

    Match the key with the key you have for the upgrade CD. If they mismatch, you know that the version of Windows you are using is not your own.

    Pretty confident it's this. They've given you a pirate copy of windows with a bad crack. Go yell at them.

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  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    However, also realize that WGA is far from perfect and gives out false positives fairly frequently.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Genuine_Advantage
    False positive rate

    The WGA program can produce false positives (incorrectly identifying a genuine copy of Windows as "not genuine"). This can happen for any number of reasons such as failed updates, etc. Microsoft has established a forum to help users encountering problems. In February 2007, a "Not Sure" section was added to the program, in case of an incorrect reading.

    According to an editorial on the arstechnica.com technology website, WGA reported around 22% of 500 million Windows computers as failing the test; of these less than 0.5% were due to pirate software, with the balance (over 20%, or 90% of all positives) related to non piracy issues. Microsoft "refused to comment on the rate of pure false positives" beyond saying it was "under 1%" (or as stated, at most around 5 million users affected).

    False negatives

    On June 18, 2007, news surfaced that it is possible to positively validate as a "Genuine Microsoft Product" user (and– as a result– be able to download certain software from Microsoft's official website) using Internet Explorer with IEs4Linux and Wine, running on Linux, without even having a Windows-family system installed.

    Major failures in WGA system

    From the moment that WGA was released, it had a flaw that allows a typical user to remove the program without uninstalling its root key, causing Windows to think that the software is installed although no "nagging" process or RAM usage occurs. This flaw has not yet (June 2009) been fixed, although it still prevents critical system updates.

    On October 5, 2006, a WGA failure occurred, incorrectly flagging some systems as being non-genuine.

    On August 25, 2007, the Microsoft WGA servers suffered an outage, resulting in many legitimate copies of Windows XP and Vista being marked as counterfeit. The issue was solved about twelve hours later. According to Microsoft, "fewer than 12,000 systems were affected worldwide."

    On July 18, 2008, reports of Microsoft's WGA and OGA servers being offline surfaced again. Microsoft later responded that only offline verification was temporarily down.

    Do you think maybe that you never had WGA on the computer to begin with (i.e. hadn't done Windows updates) and the Geek Squad ran updates as part of their normal procedure, putting WGA on there, where it would've acted up no matter who installed it due to your copy of Windows? The fact that "something buggy" happened leads me to believe that either you hadn't run updates, thus letting bad software in, or you already had updated and WGA was screwing with your computer even before you took it in.

    Regardless of whether this is the case or not, the Geek Squad can just claim this is due to your hardware and your copy of Windows.

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  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Do you think maybe that you never had WGA on the computer to begin with (i.e. hadn't done Windows updates) and the Geek Squad ran updates as part of their normal procedure, putting WGA on there, where it would've acted up no matter who installed it due to your copy of Windows? The fact that "something buggy" happened leads me to believe that either you hadn't run updates, thus letting bad software in, or you already had updated and WGA was screwing with your computer even before you took it in.

    Regardless of whether this is the case or not, the Geek Squad can just claim this is due to your hardware and your copy of Windows.
    Mim wrote:
    I bought my laptop in September and got it upgraded to Windows 7 when the CD came in November.

    So Gateway gave her a bootleg copy of Windows 7? o_O

    Occam's Razor says it's GeekSquad to me. Did you also get an upgrade to "Ultimate" instead of "Home Premium" at the same time?

    Use the Magical Jellybean Keyfinder or something to fish out the code for the installed version. If it doesn't match the one you've got, go raise holy hell with GS - and if you're feeling particularly vindictive, give Microsoft's anti-piracy hotline a call and tell them this place installed a bootleg version on your machine. :P

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  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    So Gateway gave her a bootleg copy of Windows 7? o_O

    No, I think Windows decided it wasn't genuine even though it is. That's what false positive means.

    If he never ran updates, then it's very possible that WGA never entered the picture until the Squad updated it, at which point it falsely decided that his copy wasn't legit.

    I agree with fishing out the serial and making sure it matches with the one you started with though.

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  • ResonantResonant Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    So Gateway gave her a bootleg copy of Windows 7? o_O

    No, I think Windows decided it wasn't genuine even though it is. That's what false positive means.

    If he never ran updates, then it's very possible that WGA never entered the picture until the Squad updated it, at which point it falsely decided that his copy wasn't legit.

    I agree with fishing out the serial and making sure it matches with the one you started with though.

    The only thing that throws a red flag for me is this:
    Mim wrote: »
    I shall do all of this. I just don't get why it would happen I gave them EVERYTHING they needed when I turned the laptop in along with the code.

    It might explain why, when my laptop starts up, that it says the Acer disc has a problem and needs to finish installing Windows 7, but my laptop is a gateway..

    convergesig.jpg
  • ashridahashridah Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I've definitely heard of the kind of shenanigans being pulled by geeksquad before. It used to be a lot more common in the XP days, and there are too many shops that have pushed that through to the vista/win7 systems.
    The problem is, as soon as you apply the updates for last month in windows 7, the latest round of activation exploits would have been detected. That's why your system became 'non-genuine', i'd bet.
    Geeksquad have almost certainly done the wrong thing here, probably trying to save themselves time, or just incompetently using the wrong media with the wrong system.

    So, while windows is telling you your system isn't genuine, it's actually not an accusation that you're doing something illegal. This kind of thing is designed to show people who've been screwed over by a system builder (like that shady guy down the road, or these apparently incompetent geeksquad people) that they've actually been screwed. The fact that pirates know how to disable the activation all over again in new, undetect ways is not really the point.

    In your case, it sounds like the fix is simple. backup stuff, and then reinstall from the media gateway sent you, using the key gateway gave you. And give MS a call and tell them that geeksquad apparently did something braindead.
    The tricky part is the backup part of this procedure. I'd recomment using "Windows easy transfer". I've had good luck with it whenever i've done a fresh reinstall of my laptop. point it at a usb hard drive or something to backup settings/data, whack in the gateway dvd, and let it do an automated install (it'll almost certainly be pre-pidded, and will install automatically and will probably activate automatically.
    Then let windows update install everything it can find (do the update->reboot->update->reboot->update cycle until nothing comes up) and then start reinstalling your programs. It's surprisingly painless these days. (perhaps the only annoying thing will be whatever chumware that gateway shovelled into their win7 dvd)

    tl;dr: not surprised geeksquad are idiots. Do the install yourself, it's not that hard, just remember to backup first!

  • MimMim Now known as "Bim" It means "Bisexual Mim"Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    But I have Microsoft office on here (with outlook!) and that was the last of the installs (sharing it with family and all). Do I just call Microsoft and they'll give me a new code for it or am I SOL, cause if so, then I'd rather just stay this way till school lets out.

  • ashridahashridah Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Mim wrote: »
    But I have Microsoft office on here (with outlook!) and that was the last of the installs (sharing it with family and all). Do I just call Microsoft and they'll give me a new code for it or am I SOL, cause if so, then I'd rather just stay this way till school lets out.

    If the hardware doesn't change, that product key is good for that install on that system, regardless of what OS is in place. If you *re*install office, onto the same system, and the old install is gone (Because you wiped and reinstalled) then you're not using "another" key, you're using "the same key". You're doing the right thing, and MS isn't going to screw you over. (If they do, i'll mail you a copy of office 2007 ultimate or something, because what you'd be doing is well within the normal procedures.)

    I'm not sure how MS have implemented activation of office for the multi-key packs, and i've never been hit by an activation limit for my copies (i get my copies from the company store or internally, depending on which system's involved), but for a case like this, if it refused to activate, you call them, and tell them that you just reinstalled your system, because a third party broke your system, and get them to activate it.

  • stahstah Registered User
    edited April 2010
    Slider wrote: »
    I got that a few months ago, so I just disabled the automatic updates. Since my lappy works fine, I don't see why I constantly need to be harrassed by those annoying Microsoft updates, anyway.

    You could do what I did and just not worry about it, or yeah, contact Best Buy.

    Worst advice I've ever heard! Might be ok for a power user but those users wouldn't have this kind of problem anyway.

    OP, leave auto-update alone and follow some of the other advice. Your best bet would be to take it back to Geek Squad and explain what's wrong, etc. They should offer to repair it at no cost to you since they're the one who mucked it up so it'd be the least expensive way.

    Or you could take it to another PC shop and explain what happened. Chance are a reinstall will be what is needed. Or maybe just a repair. I'd have to see it to be more sure.

  • ashridahashridah Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Slider wrote: »
    I got that a few months ago, so I just disabled the automatic updates. Since my lappy works fine, I don't see why I constantly need to be harrassed by those annoying Microsoft updates, anyway.

    You could do what I did and just not worry about it, or yeah, contact Best Buy.

    Man, this sounds like that old adage from the canadian air-force: "Log book noted evidence of fuel leak on fighter jet. Resolution: Evidence removed." I mean, seriously, you're basically doing the equivalent of "Fixing" a warning light in your car by removing the fuse that powers the warning light.

  • MimMim Now known as "Bim" It means "Bisexual Mim"Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Okay, so to make sure before I do this, this weekend:

    Back everything I want up onto storage device (documents, music, pictures). Re-install Windows 7 with what Gateway sent me, then update it and everything should be fine. AND, that if I put Microsoft Office Ultimate back on there, I won't run into a problem because its the same system so the code SHOULD work.

    Am I right? I don't mean to sound retarded about this, I just do not want to fuck myself over (or have my father kill me).

  • ashridahashridah Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Correct. Office 2007 is not an "install-once-and-only-once" key. For an office 3 pack of home/student like you got, that's 3 instances of office installed at the same time, not 3 installs ever. Basically, what would happen if you tried to install the same key on two systems simultaneously, is that one the first install would activate, the second would activate (and possibly want you to phone them because the hardware profile changed), and then the first would deactivate, because the second is now activated. Now, i'm not sure how many keys you get with a three-pack, i'm guessing 3 keys, but if it's only one, that still requires that only 3 systems have it installed at any one time.

    Either way, if there's a problem, you just CALL ms, tell them what happened (if you even wind up needing to speak to a person!) and they give you the unlock code. You're not doing anything wrong, you're not going to lose your copy of office.

    But yeah, definitely back everything up. Check that the backup *works* by looking at it on another system, making sure that it's at least readable, and then continue with the reinstall process. (make multiple backups if you're paranoid)

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