Get the facts about genuine Microsoft software

Understand and communicate the value of genuine Microsoft software to your customers. Doing so will help foster your relationships, create loyal customers, and protect your reputation as an honest reseller.

More marketing assets available for your company!

In addition to downloading key marketing assets from SmartMarketing, the Microsoft Digital Commerce & Campaign Network (DCCN) has made available more assets for you to load and post on your company’s website! See details and register to take advantage of this offer by going to Get Genuine banners can be found under the Windows and Office campaigns.

Report software that isn’t genuine or correctly licensed

If you are aware of or have suspicions of piracy concerning Microsoft software, we urge you to contact Microsoft through one of three methods:

Please note: You can choose to be anonymous or not when reporting your concerns.

What information is collected?

Within this reporting tool, you will be asked for information about the local Australian business you suspect is selling software that isn’t genuine or correctly licensed, including details about the products involved, contact details of the business and some optional personal information if you do not wish to report anonymously.

What does Microsoft do with the information collected?

We will use the information you provide to investigate and may take appropriate action against local Australian businesses who sell software that isn’t genuine or correctly licensed. If you provide your contact details, we may contact you about your submission to follow up on specific details; however, we will not contact you for general marketing purposes.

Microsoft is committed to helping our customers and to protecting your privacy. You may read the Microsoft Privacy Statement if you would like more information on how we protect customer information

Benefits of genuine

Genuine software provides protection

Genuine software helps protect against viruses, spyware, malware, and other risks associated with counterfeit software.

Genuine software is supported

Only genuine software is supported by Microsoft or Microsoft partners. Users of counterfeit software aren’t entitled to support, which will leave them at a real loss when things go wrong.

Genuine software is reliable

Your customers count on the reliability and performance of genuine software. They can’t afford the downtime caused by system failures or security breaches that can result from counterfeit software use.

How to tell if Microsoft software is genuine or counterfeit

Check out this site for a wealth of information where you can learn about features that are included with genuine Microsoft software:


Risks of counterfeit

Viruses, malware, identity theft

1 in 3 consumer PCs with counterfeit software installed will be infected with malware*, which increases risks of identity and bank account theft.

*International Data Corporation, DANGERS OF COUNTERFEIT SOFTWARE STUDY 2013

Damage to PCs and devices

Counterfeit software can have disastrous effects on the performance of your customer’s PCs and devices – both at work and at home.

Increased costs

Fixing issues caused by counterfeit is time-consuming and expensive. An estimated $25 billion USD and 1.2 billion hours were spent in 2014 dealing with security issues created by malware on pirated software**.

**International Data Corporation, Whitepaper, The Link between Pirated Software and Cybersecurity Breaches, 2014

How to tell

Understanding the different types of piracy can help you ensure your customers are getting only genuine software. Remember that if the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Hard Disk Loading (installation piracy) Hard disk loading (installation piracy) occurs when a system builder installs (and typically activates) one license onto multiple devices, then sells the devices without accompanying software licenses.

The system builder avoids the license costs, but typically charges the customer for the illegitimate software. Customers may remain unaware of any pirating until they encounter issues.
Ensure you are providing your customers with a genuine, fully licensed version of software to accompany software you have installed on a new PC. Microsoft OEM Software is designed specifically for this purpose, and can be purchased from Microsoft Authorized OEM Distributors. Learn more at and
Online Downloads

Software distributed illegally via peer-to-peer networks or downloaded through unauthorized sites. This software often contains harmful malware and viruses that can put users at risk.

Only download Microsoft software from sites you know are legitimate, such as the Microsoft Store. Never download from any peer-to-peer networks, BitTorrent index sites, or one-click file hosting sites. Learn more at and

Standalone Certificates of Authenticity (COAs)

Standalone COAs are COAs that are sold by themselves, without the accompanying software they authenticate. They are often branded as “excess inventory” or “unused labels” and are often counterfeit versions of COAs. Purchasing standalone COAs and passing them off to unsuspecting customers is a form of piracy.

COAs should never be sold, shipped, or purchased on their own, without being affixed to a PC or sold with related Microsoft software (either full packaged product or Microsoft OEM software acquired by system builders). Do not fall victim to standalone COAs. Learn more at

Leaked Volume License Keys (VLKs)

Microsoft Volume Licensing Agreements for large organizations provide Volume License Keys (VLKs) for Microsoft product activation in certain scenarios. The unauthorized distribution of these VLKs, outside of the organization to which they are tied, is a form of piracy.

Only those devices that are a part of the organization with the Volume Licensing Agreement may use their assigned VLKs. VLKs are never legitimate when sold or distributed outside of the organization to which they are tied. Never purchase or illegally use or download a VLK. To learn more about VLKs visit:

Online Auction Sites

Pirated or unauthorized software is often distributed via online auction sites, where sellers take advantage of unsuspecting buyers. Sellers may be offering second-hand product, previously activated product, stolen or used COAs, illegally copied DVDs, etc. Buyers are often left without recourse once they discover they have been a victim of piracy.

Be careful when buying from online auction sites. Ask important questions. Does the software come in its original packaging? Does it include all necessary components? Is the price too good to be true? Is it being sold by a reseller you know and trust? Learn more at