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I found a number of sites selling Windows 10 Pro, keys only, for less than $30. Are these legit?

8 Answers
Ben Drury
Ben Drury, Computer Technician (16yrs) IT Trainer (4yrs)

Sometimes cheap keys are created by buying a bulk pack of keys intended for use with an MSDN subscription, or a volume license, and sold off to make quick cash, but these keys tend to only activate once, and then become blacklisted, as they were never intended for individual resale.

If you find cheap keys on ebay, sold without the COA (Certificate of Authenticity) they are often fake, stolen, or shared keys, but not always. The real ones will send you a copy of the install media, with the key, or add the key to a Microsoft account and provide a digital download link to get the ISO file.

If you missed the Windows 10 free upgrade, there is a loophole that is available, which is to use this upgrade offer instead.

This is a legitimate upgrade, provided by Microsoft, and while it is intended for people who use “assistive technologies” it is accessible by anyone using Windows 7 or higher.

From what I have read about it, it is the same as the free upgrade offer, but unlike the general public upgrade which ended on the 29th of July 2016, this offer does not have any listed end date, and will continue to work.

John Weintraub
John Weintraub, Knowledge of Windows, from 3.0 to Win10; Linux, not OSX; & general OS principles

Some are, and some aren’t. But Ben Drury gives you the best indicators as to whether or not the license is legal. He also suggests Windows 10 upgrade for assistive technology users, of which I was not aware; it’s a back door to continue to get the upgrade, though how long that will last, I do not know. Finally, Ben Drury explains what I was going to, but he beat me to the punch: not all seemingly legitimate keys are really legitimate. Bulk packs of licenses aren’t supposed to be split up and sold singly; same with an MSDN subscription. Thanks to Ben Drury for essentially answering as I would have.

Thanks for the A2A

John F. Q. Clark

I bought Windows 7 Ultimate for $80 on Ebay in april 2017. Original packaging, CD with holograms, key code sticker, all looked legit. The laptop worked fine for half a year. Then the windows started showing that it is not licensed. The CoA key code was blacklisted. So much for buying stuff from shady sellers. It may work for a while, and then you lose your clients.

Marvin Varela
Marvin Varela, Windows power-user starting from Windows 3.0 as well as developer of software for Windows.

If you will buy Windows 10, do it from Microsoft or an authorized re-seller.

The price for Windows 10 (when Microsoft starts selling it), is more than 5x the price these sites are offering you, which makes me think they are just trying to scam you.

If you have any examples of those sites, please add them in the question details for verification purposes.

Joseph Kamal
Joseph Kamal, Computer Technician at Interamerican University of Puerto Rico (2015-present)

Purchasing keys for a software product that retails at $199 for $30 or less should be a huge red flag. This link on ebay explains the basic rules pretty well: Buying Legitimate Microsoft Products on ebay While its from 2009, I doubt anything has really changed. I was tempted to get those keys to activate new computers I am building, but some quick research suggested to me that it would not be kosher to do so. Unless you are getting the COA the key is linked to, I do not believe it can possibly be fully legitimate. It may activate, but your use of it would be violating Microsoft’s rights.

Tyler Regas
Tyler Regas, Founder & Chief Nerd @ WeDemandProof.org (2018-present)

Nope.

Don’t do it. Big mistake.

Seth Schaffer
Seth Schaffer, I've used Windows devices from Win XP to Win 10 extensively

Kingwin is a site I have heard from several reliable sources offers genuine Windows keys for $30 ish. Other sites may be a scam, this site offers purchase protection guarantees.

Windows 10 Professional OEM Key | Buy on Kinguin