Certificate of Authenticity (COA)

A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) is a label that helps you identify genuine Microsoft software. A COA is not a software license – it is a visual identifier that assists in determining whether or not the Microsoft software you are running is genuine. However, without it, you will not have a legal license to run Microsoft software. A COA should never be purchased by itself without the software it authenticates.

What you should look for with genuine Microsoft software


 
 

Certificate of Authenticity (COA) label
End-user license agreement (EULA)*
Hologram media
Documentation
*The EULA can typically be accessed within the software it covers.

 

The four types of COAs

To help you verify the authenticity of the software you acquired, a COA includes advanced anti-counterfeiting features. COAs may also contain a barcode that is used for product tracking purposes. There are four types of COAs:

 Retail Software COAs
For software that is purchased separate from a PC through retail channels, the COA label will be affixed to the top of the software packaging. More information. View previous versions.

 Preinstalled Windows COAs
For Windows software that comes preinstalled on a PC, the COA label should be affixed to the body of the PC. The COA label includes the 25 character Product Key, which would be required if a reinstallation is needed. Some system builders include the Windows software with new PCs but do not preinstall it. These PCs should come with Preinstalled Windows COAs. More information. View previous versions and compare now.

 Preinstalled Non-Windows Software COAs
For non-Windows software (Microsoft Office for example) that comes with the purchase of a PC, the COA label is included with your system recovery CD. More information. View previous versions.

 Embedded Windows COAs
For Windows software that comes preinstalled on PDAs and other small devices, the COA label may be affixed to the body or under the battery. Printed on the label are the product name and a 25 character Product Key. More information.

 

Don’t fall victim to stand-alone COAs

If you receive offers for COAs as stand-alone items, be aware that these offers are highly suspect and can put you at risk. To fall victim to stand-alone COAs offers means that you may have wasted valuable money and you will not have a legal license to run the software. The best way for you to protect yourself is to purchase software from a familiar, reputable reseller. The Anti-Counterfeiting Act of 2003 makes it a criminal offense for dishonest resellers to distribute stand-alone COA labels.
Related Links

 

Find out what anti-counterfeiting features are included with your Microsoft software.
Learn more about the benefits of genuine Microsoft software.
Think you may have received counterfeit software, or want to report suspected piracy?
This entry was posted in Microsoft. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Certificate of Authenticity (COA)

  1. Unknown says:

    Hi there,I just came across your blog, it was a really interesting read! A while back i actually had some barcode labels by a british labels company for a really low price, the quailty of the print was excellent, they were well worth the money.

  2. Tarique says:

    Hi TheWhiteSeal, Thanks for visiting my blog, comment & share\’s ur experince🙂

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