Question Are cheap Windows Product Keys legal ?

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Are cheap windows product keys legal?
Multiple concepts.

Where you got it from.
Where they got it from.

These cheap resellers do NOT have some magical discount pipeline to MS.
One guy selling a license he no longer has need for is one thing.
Someone selling 1,000 of them at a steep discount is quite another.

Counterfeit, money laundering, stolen credit cards, Not For Resale...those are some of the things that you'd be supporting.
 
Are any of them legal ?
Not that easy. Even if it’s a genuine key as pointed out above how it was acquired by the seller or by who the seller bought it from may not be. Using the TV example above, someone buys a £1k TV down the pub for £200, then sells it to you for £400. Now it is very likely stolen but did you break the law, you don’t know where the seller bought it from.
 
Jul 6, 2021
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You’ve already been told. Many people who buy these have been blocked by Microsoft so you tell me are they legal?

Go ahead and buy one and see what happens. Most likely your activation will get blocked after a while. If you buy one you are supporting criminals and that makes you a criminal to
Jeez relax
 

punkncat

Dignified
Ambassador
There is a lot of ambiguity about this practice. There are some really good discussions about it from content creators on YouTube and other social media outlets.

Carey Holzman, for instance, is staunchly against it and has a variety of video content discussing it. In his eyes, it's theft.
On the other side of the coin there are content creators like TechYesCity and Pauls Hardware that are sponsored by (various) grey market key providers.

There is a whole other global aspect to this in that (for instance) Microsoft is fully aware that a majority of the Windows users in China are on questionable license. They don't choose to do anything about it because (as I am sure you are aware) Windows 10 provides metrics and data for anyone using it.
Getting into a whole other subject field would be what Windows 11 is putting in place to help keep that manner of thing down...but that is a whole other subject and months before actual release, so conjecture.

It is absolutely good practice to purchase the license from Microsoft. The rest of the options have a lot to do with your threshold for possible issues, even later down the road, and of course your take on the morality of it.
 

Wolfshadw

Titan
Moderator
Are cheap windows product keys legal?
Or do I have to pay 145 for one from Microsoft ?
The question itself is ambiguous. If the keys were stolen, then you have to look at the realm of "possession of stolen property" and how those laws are enforced in your locality. If the source of the key is unknown, then it falls onto the purchaser to make that decision to purchase or not. That decision needs to be based on who is selling the keys and for what purpose. Many of these low-cost keys sales support criminal activity. If you're ok with that, then go ahead a purchase one. If that bothers you, then either purchase from a legitimate retailer or, as previously suggested, run Windows without activation.

-Wolf sends
 

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