You May Be a Victim of Software Counterfeiting FIX
The error message of the same description as the title is displayed on the computer screen of Windows XP, 7 and 8 users while regular operating is ongoing including internet use or simple documentation tasks. This error message might even be followed by restricted software installations, recurring pop-ups or screen flashes. It gets irritating over time and may be the result of different causes. Let us have a look at this error in detail.
What does the error imply?
The error is displayed on XP under the banner title ‘This copy of windows is not genuine’. This pretty much explains what does the error ‘you may be a victim of software counterfeiting’ implies. It simply states the status of our operating system as perceived by windows server which is illegal. If the user has, in fact, got a pirated version of windows then this problem is justified and should be dealt with through process described later in the article. However, if your copy of windows is genuine and you have got the license key. Follow these steps:
- Check activation status of the system through system properties.
- If it shows activated, restart and check if the error prompts again. If It does prompt again, contact your software provider immediately and report the issue.
- Also, contact Microsoft’s direct helpline and report the same along with the retailer’s office and personal details to avoid any further conflicts.
- Microsoft should either clear you issue or simply ask them for a new copy.
Do not treat the message as a glitch since it directly implies your system as invalid.
Why is the error displayed?
‘You may be a victim of software counterfeiting’ error is displayed as a preventive measure by windows’ security to alert the user about their software status. Pirated software copies or old software are more prone to attacks and hence windows prompt the message to make the user aware of their vulnerability. If user copy is in fact pirated, they should either resolve the issue or get a genuine copy to avoid data corruption, data loss or hacking issues. The users with genuine copies need to either register their licenses or update license key.
Windows has undoubtedly dominated the software platform for many years and it is still one of the most popular domestic and industrial operating systems. After the release of several Windows operating systems, windows suffered numerous piracy issues. To deal with these, they included WGA tool in the system as mandatory for all later Windows versions. WGA was previously voluntary for users but in 2006, was officially made mandatory for all types of users. You might wonder what is WGA and what does it have to do with the error displayed on windows operating system. Let us understand that in brief.
WGA stands for Windows Genuine Advantage, which is an anti-infringement software included in Windows operating systems to minimize piracy of windows operating system. WGA is tasked to check for the validity of installed version software and to check the registration status while updating different software from the Microsoft Download Center. It is renamed as Windows Activation Technologies in Windows 7. WGA has one downloaded component on the system which validates software using windows license status. Another component is a security measure that monitors the content being downloaded against windows license.
WGA package is included in the auto-download-software of the windows system. Hence, even if one version is uninstalled, a newer version is installed automatically. It is an underlying security measure embedded by Microsoft to make windows more defensive against piracy.
How to remove the ‘you may be a victim of software counterfeiting’ error?
The cause of this error, as explained above, is WGA package. Removing this package, in turn, removes the error being prompted. However, the removal of the whole package is necessary to eradicate the error. Removing the application package or application data may not help. To remove the full package and prevent any future versions from being installed follow the given steps:
Step 1: Stop WGA
- Open task manager –
Press Ctrl+ Alt+ Del
- Switch to process tab and select wgatray.exe
- Click ‘End process’
Step 2: Remove any registry entries
- Open Registry Editor
Start > Search > Regedit > enter
- Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/ Winlogon/ Notify
- Right click on WgaLogon folder and delete it.
- Restart the PC
Step 3: Clear WGA files
- Open C drive
- Go to windows/ system 32
- Unhide the hidden files from the view menu.
- Type Wga*.* (with asterisk sign)
- Search results will yield a collection of all WGA files which might include executables, set up or dll files.
- Select all these WGA files and delete them
Step 4: Clear WGA data
- Open C drive
- Go to windows/ system 32/ dllcache
- Search wga
- Select all files in result and delete them
Step 5: Shut down updates
- Open control panel.
- Go to Automatic Updates
- Install automatically must be the preselected option there.
- Change it to ‘Notify me, but don’t automatically download or install them.’
- Save changes
Using the above method is most popular among the users since it completely removes the WGA component from windows system. In case any update of wga is available, the system simply notifies the user whether to download and install it or not. To this, the user can deny permissions and no more work is needed. Whether the user has a genuine copy or pirated version of windows, above trick works I both cases.
If you are not familiar with technical stuff and find the above process lengthy and tedious, a simple solution is also available. But, this solution works only if your windows are genuine and the error is displayed after considerable use of the Windows operating system.
It involves restoring windows to a previous date or restoring a previously taken backup of windows from a point where the system was not encountering any counterfeiting error.
If you know the date after which the error started occurring, try changing the date to a previous one. The error should have vanished. Use PC normally for some time and restore the date to the original time zone and restart the computer. If the problem still persists, follow next method to restore system backup.
- Go to System Properties:
Start > My computer > Right click and select properties
- Select ‘system protection’
- Click on system restore
- Various restore points are displayed according to the previous activities
- Click on a restore point that lies in a time duration where the system did not encounter any counterfeiting error
- After successful restoration, restart pc
- The error would no longer persist
- Now go to system properties
- Locate automatic updates
- Change the automatic updates option to ‘notify me but don’t download and install them’
- Deny permission for installation of WGA every time you encounter the pop-up later on
Conclusion: You May Be a Victim of Software Counterfeiting
Although these methods may remove the given error on windows operating system, it is advised to use it only in case of possessing a genuine copy windows version. Using a pirated system only inflates chances of data attacks.