How to Get Rid of the "Not Genuine" Message on Windows 7

Techwalla may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Three women are sitting by a laptop.
Image Credit: Lighthaunter/iStock/Getty Images

If your Windows 7 installation harasses you with "Not Genuine" messages, it means that something is wrong with the computer's activation status, or the system never activated at all. As an anti-piracy practice, Windows 7 uses the activation process to confirm software legitimacy. If you ignore this notification, Windows 7 will black out the screen after 60 minutes of up time. If you don't resolve the "Not Genuine" issue within 30 days,Windows 7 will lock you out of the system.


Enter Your Product Key

If you legally own your Windows 7 software, resolving the "Not Genuine" issue involves activating the installation by entering your Windows 7 product key and confirming it with Microsoft's servers. You may encounter a situation in which Windows thinks your product key is invalid or requires running the activation process again, if you've activated the same product key on another computer, you re-installed Windows 7, your computer is running new hardware or the background authenticity check failed erroneously. You will also get the "Not Genuine" message if you're running a pirated version of Windows 7: the only way to resolve the issue in that instance is to buy a copy of Windows 7.


Activate Windows 7

Activation runs the validation process, which confirms that your software isn't pirated and the licensing files haven't been altered. The 25-character product key can be found on a sticker placed on the computer itself or on the Certificate of Authenticity included with the system or Windows 7 software. You can run the activation process at any time by opening the "Start Menu," right-clicking on "Computer," selecting "Properties," choosing "Activate Windows now" and following the onscreen instructions.


Uninstall The KB971033 Update and Reset The SLMGR Program

Microsoft's KB971033 updated the activation software in Windows 7, enabling the tool to flag pirated copies that bypassed previous Windows versions. It is illegal to pirate Windows 7 software, but if you believe the update erroneously tripped the "Not Genuine" message, you can get around the problem by removing the update. To remove Windows updates, launch the "Control Panel," select "Windows Update," select the "View installed updates" option and locate "KB971033." Uninstall the update and restart your PC. You can also try resetting the activation tool by pressing "Windows Key-R," typing "cmd" and pressing "Ctrl-Shift-Enter" to open a command prompt. At the prompt, enter "SLMGR-REARM," press "Enter" and restart the PC.


Enable Necessary Permissions

Microsoft has identified a Plug and Play Policy issue that prevents the Windows Genuine Advantage tool from validating product keys. Disabling the Plug and Play policy may circumvent the conflict. Press "Windows Key-R," type "rsop.msc" and press "Ctrl-Shift-Enter" to launch the Resultant Set of Policy wizard. In the wizard, open the "Computer Configuration | Policies | Windows Setting | Security Settings | System Services" location, click the "Plug and Play" listing and change the setting to "Not Defined." Next, press "Windows Key-R," type "cmd" and press "Ctrl-Shift-Enter" to launch the command prompt. In the prompt, type "gpupdate /force" and press "Enter" to force the policy update. If the permission adjustment fails to fix the problem, back up your data and reinstall Windows (see Resources).


references & resources