How to Remove "You May Be a Victim of Software Counterfeiting"

By Avery Martin

Malware in counterfeit software may have cost businesses $114 billion in 2013, according to research firm IDC. Software validation can often protect you from the malware that may be embedded in counterfeit software. If you get a notice that your software didn't pass validation, you need to take action to ensure your system stays free of malware. If you don't have malware on system, other remedies exist to remove the counterfeit software warning.

Remove Malware

Step 1

Disconnect peripheral devices such as USB hard drives and remove any CDs or DVDs currently in your computer. Restart your system.

Step 2

Hold the "F8" key while the computer boots. If you can't boot your computer while holding down the "F8" key, try tapping the "F8" key repeatedly instead.

Step 3

Press the down arrow key, select "Safe Mode With Networking" and press the "Enter" key.

Step 4

Run an anti-malware program such as Malwarebytes or Hitman Pro to remove the infection.

Use System Restore

Step 1

Boot your computer while holding down the "F8" key. If you can't do that, try tapping the "F8" key until you get to the boot options screen.

Step 2

Use the down arrow key to select "Safe Mode With Command Prompt."

Step 3

Type "C:\windows\system32\rstrui.exe" without quotes at the command prompt to access System Restore and press the "Enter" key.

Step 4

Select a restore point with a date that predates the infection. Click "Next."

Step 5

Run a system scan with your anti-malware application to check for and remove any infections.

Validation

Step 1

Point your mouse to the upper-right portion of the screen, swipe down and select the "Search" option.

Step 2

Type "Control Panel" in the search box.

Step 3

Click the "System" icon.

Step 4

Select the "Details on Windows Activation" link.

Step 5

Click "Activate" and provide your administrator username and password if prompted.

Step 6

Enter your digital product key into the "Product Key" field and select "Activate."

Tips & Warnings

  • The free version of Malwarebytes removes the infection, but won't protect you from future infections.
  • If you paid the $4 to remove the Genuine Microsoft Windows virus, contact your bank, dispute the charge and report your card as lost or stolen.
  • If you don't have a valid installation of Microsoft Windows, make a backup of all your data and then reinstall your operating system using a genuine product. Using a counterfeit product can leave you at risk, since illegal copies often contain malware.