Monday, 6 April 2015

Is Your Software Legal?

We would love to share a few tips to check if the operating system and product software you have installed on your computer is legal. 

If you are unclear the difference between an operating system and product software please check out our blog. Click Here

If your computer is a branded computer like Lenovo, HP Compaq, Toshiba, Dell etc. then the operation system I’m sure will be legitimate; you will have a sticker on the bottom that will look like these.

Windows 7 & 8 COA Stickers

What you really should do on a branded Desktop or Laptop computer, if you not already done it, is make sure you burn your system restore CD/DVD’s on a memory stick is case you need to fully restore your computer on a new hard drive; we will tell you how you can do this in one of our next blogs.

If your computer was custom build you should get a windows DVD/CD to restore your computer and an OEM COA sticker with a product key. You will also get a few other CD’s with the software drivers for your system.
If you don’t have this then ask your seller.  If they can’t supply them you then may not have a genuine Microsoft licence. Then you may just start seeing this.



So that’s the main system covered but what about other software?


Is your Microsoft Office suite software legal?

We are now talking about your Word, Excel, Publisher, Outlook software etc. There are some simple ways to check, for instance if you have bought a laptop of full desktop for around £300 and you ask the question, what software does it come with?  If they tell you Microsoft Office is installed, with a new device at this price it be very doubtful unless the laptop / Desktop is a very slow or a second user computer.

Just for Office Home and Student, 1 year subscription, is generally around £59 and for a full retail product with all programs included can be above £300.

What should I ask to prove it is installed and legit?
    1.       Ask to see the Office PKC licence product key.
    2.       Ask is it an Office subscription product or full retail product.
    3.       Check it is not a 30 day trial.  A lot of the large stores show the computer as Office ready but they refrain from saying it’s for a limited trial period and nothing more.

This is an example of what a PKC Licence key would look like.

Office 2013 PKC Licence example

If you don’t have any of the above it could be supplied on a printed sheet of paper with codes and linked to an email address. All office 2013 and on wards software will now be linked to an Email address.  You should be able to log on to the web page and see the software that belongs to you.  These can be a PKC licence bought through trade portals or Office 365 subscription package bought from Microsoft or partner websites.  You will get something if you have purchased a licence and it should not be a photocopy of a box cover and product key, or even worse just someone’s word you have it.

This is the same with most software packages, nowadays in 2015 a lot of products you purchase you can simply log into a web page and install the software from there. You need to be aware of what you have and keep track should it ever need to be re-installed.

Customers come to us and ask can we system restore their computer.  When we ask for their software and/or product codes some find they have been mis sold the product or its not legal software.  These are the replies we get very often:
1.       I did not get anything, it was already on there when I bought it!
2.       I've lost them!
3.       I threw them away, as I didn't think I need them anymore!

All of these answers can work out very expensive if you can’t find an invoice or receipt of some sort to prove you had it.  We won’t report you; we just want you to have legal software for your own security.  The support you get is worth paying for without any of the other benefits like updates.


It is imperative that you look after your bought software keys.  Software can work out more costly that the hardware itself.   Should you have any concerns talk to me and I will be more than happy to advise you in the correct direction.  Click here to contact us and leave a message. You can also connect with me in LinkedIn and send me a direct message. 

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