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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Windows 7 "Not Genuine Copy" message

    I have occasionally received the prompt that my copy of Win 7 is not genuine. It is! Going through the MS validation rigamarole always gets rid of it, but it then reappears months later.

    I now know that the message appears when I clone one of my drives to an external drive -- but not every time, something I do on a scheduled basis. It appeared today in the middle of cloning my Drive D, which contains only data and no system files. Because I didn't want to interrupt the clone by downloading and installing the validation software, I removed the notice, thinking it would reappear when the clone was finished. Instead, when the clone completed normally, I could find no download icon for the validation, the info about my Win7 said it was not genuine, and everything stopped working.

    I disconnected the cloned external drive, rebooted, and saw everything come up normally with no "Not Genuine" notices. My questions is: does MS routinely question the validity of the OS if one clones a drive, non-system or not? If it doesn't, what causes these messages.

    Thanks in advance

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  3. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    This might be one of those cases where a call to MS could solve your problems. MS is normally very receptive to these type of problems.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  4. #3
    Star Lounger
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    It is seeing a change in your hardware which MS likes to make believe is that you might be running it on another machine, something prohibited by MS. When your restore your hardware it expects to see, as it polled your machine during its own installation routine and saved the various hardware FCC ID codes or some other device id'ing, it then thinks all is well again. Calling MS will not help and will be a waste of time. It is part of their anti-piracy scheme that they began to develop under XP (easily beatable), and improved it through Vista and 7. Change your video card may not affect it, but motherboard replacement, hard drive additions or other major assembly changes will probably cause this reaction all the time.

  5. #4
    5 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Myers View Post
    This might be one of those cases where a call to MS could solve your problems. MS is normally very receptive to these type of problems.
    They are only receptive once you have paid money to fix their own problems.

  6. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Not so. I have had to call MS twice for activation problems when reinstalling an Office product after an OS update. My office license included 2 installs, both of which were on Vista machines. When I upgraded to Win 7 and attempted to reinstall Office on these 2 PCs, I got the You have already activated this product the maximum number of times. A simple call to MS allowed me to easily activate both in less than 5 minutes.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  7. #6
    Lounger
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    mpioso,
    I suspected as much. Thanks for the confirmation.
    Ted,
    The last place I'd call for this problem is MS support. Your experience is because Installation problems are usually supported free of charge for a limited period of time, or if you have exceeded the number of installs and have to activate manually. When a mb died and I had to replace it, everything required telephone reactivation, Win 7, Adobe Photoshop, and Office etc. because I had exceeded the reinstall limits. Had no problems getting approval. It was just a nuisance. The few times I've called for install support was torture. Without the paid support, I got inexperienced personnel who worked strictly from the script, making me go through basic, non-related activities I had already done or that were not related to the problem, even after I detailed the steps I had already taken. After long periods of this I had to ask to have it escalated to to someone who really knew the answer. This particular problem is not bothersome enough to waste time like that.

  8. #7
    New Lounger
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    Very timely posts. I've just experienced a nasty variation of this same problem. In early 2010, I built 3 PCs & populated them with 3 retail copies of Windows 7 Pro. As part of my maintenance philosophy, I run Shadow Protect 4.0.0 image bkup in standalone mode from a flash drive. I then restore the image to an external drive which I can then use if I have a system drive failure by just swapping it in. Periodically, I do swap the drives anyway to verify the backup integrity & even out the wear on the drives. I've done this on a staggered schedule on my PC, my wife's PC, & my brother's PC.
    Yesterday, I was scheduled to rotate the drives on my wife's PC. I backed up the image, powered down the PC, & swapped in the drive that I'd been using to hold the weekly images. I then brought it back up in standalone mode using Shadow Protect & restored the image I had just created. The console showed that everything had proceeded fine. I powered down the PC & powered it back up booting from the restored image, something I've done with no problem many times on the 3 PCs.
    At first, everything looked fine. I require ctrl-alt-del first, & that screen did appear. I entered the ctrl-alt-del & the list of available users appeared as usual. I selected the administrator account, entered my password, & pressed enter. Then things started getting strange. Initially, the Welcome screen appeared for 1-2 seconds. Then, the message "Preparing your desktop" appeared & stayed there for about a minute. At that point, I got a light blue screen only- no other options- & the following 3-line message:
    Windows 7
    Build 7601
    This copy of Windows is not genuine
    I repeated the backup & restore, & got the same results the second time. From the "blank" screen, I was able to do another ctrl-alt-del & got the standard window with the options starting with "Lock this computer" & ending with "Start task manager". However, logging off or switching users simply brought up the same scenario for each of the available users. Task Manager showed nothing helpful to me. Shutting down & rebooting multiple times also yielded the same results.
    At this point, I made my first call to MS for help with Windows 7. I first called the activation people, but they couldn't help me because I had no options on the screen to allow me to activate the product. I had to deal repeatedly with the request to reload Windows, from all levels of technical support, explaining that I had the ability to boot up my good drive, but needed to find out why my backup was causing this Windows authentication block. At the suggestion of Tech Support, I tried a repair from the install DVD, but failed because I have SP1 installed. Then tried Safe Mode, but got a comparable screen, with "Windows 7" at the top, "Safe Mode" in each of the corners, but no desktop, just a black screen & pointer.
    At this point, after ~ 2.5 hrs on the phone with MS, they were out of ideas. I outlined a couple of things I wanted to try, then hung up.
    I had done this same maneuver successfully on my brother's PC on 11/7/11, so went back to my own backup of 11/4/11. One of my suspicions was that a patch from MS had caused the problem, so by using this backup which preceded my successful effort on my brother's PC I should be able to test that hypothosis. That restore also failed the same way. I then did a full format on the drive. Same thing. At this point, I took the image drive that I use on my own PC, & used it instead. This time it worked. It appears that the physical drive is causing the problem. I have added it as a D: drive & looked at the System directory structure & superficially, it appears okay.
    Update: Whoa! I wanted to try something else, but didn't want to have to dismantle my wife's PC again to swap in the failing drive, so thought I'd verify that I could boot from an external docking station using F8 to select the boot device. I did, & it came up to the <ctrl> <alt> <del>, which I entered. I then selected my administrator account & it displayed the Welcome screen. This time, however, it didn't revert to "Preparing your desktop", but kept the welcome screen up. It then displayed a gray (instead of blue) blank screen with the same text in the lower right-hand corner:
    Windows 7
    Build 7601
    This copy of Windows is not genuine
    In spite of the different conditions, it had seemed to settle at the same spot, so I was going to shut it down & reboot from my good drive again. However, the hard drive was still thrashing away & wouldn't respond yet to the <ctrl> <alt> <del>, so I waited for the disk activity to settle down. After a bit, I tried it again & this time it brought up the standard window with the options starting with "Lock this computer" & ending with "Start task manager". I chose the "Shutdown" icon & just about the time I did, the desktop appeared, with a message that the new device had been added & I needed to reboot. Before I could react, the Shutdown happened & the PC powered down. I rebooted again & selected the external boot device, went through the logon process & this time the system booted successfully from the "bad" drive.
    This sequence of events indicates to me that the problem does lie with the Windows authentication process. I don't know exactly why it got "fixed", but it must have been either because:
    1. I was booting from a different port
    2. I had a valid authenticated copy available at a different location on the PC at the same time
    Weird.

  9. #8
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I wonder if you indeed have a HD going bad, not unheard of unfortunately. I may have missed this in your discussion but did you attempt to recreate the Image on the suspect drive? Is this the only HD you have had this problem on? If I'm interpreting correctly your have 3 PC's with 6 HD's that you alternate regularly on your PC's. Seems a lot of work to me, but if it works for you, great. The point in most of our discussions in these forums is find a routine that works for you and just do it!
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  10. #9
    New Lounger
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    When it first failed, I did the backup & restore over, with the same results. I'll run chkdisk & other disk utilities on it to see if they pick up anything. So far, this is the only drive I've encountered the problem on. I have only 2 PCs here at home. My brother live ~ 400 miles away & we visit about once/year. They do their image bkup weekly. I rotate the drives when we come down to visit. The image backup, of course, I need to do. The restore phase takes only another 5-10 minutes/PC. I swap the drives annually, mine in July, hers in December. I've done it more frequently in the recent past because the installs were new & I wanted to verify the process. I use this Shadow Protect only on my system drives; I use Novastor NovaBackup for my data drives. For the data, I have 4 weekly drives, a Quarterly, Semi-Annual, & Annual drives that I use at the appropriate times. I do a full backup of the data weekly & an incremental daily. I'm retired IT & have patterned my personal backup after the one I used at work.

  11. #10
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    I believe that disk drives are part of the PC that Microsoft uses to establish Windows validation. You get a certain number of changes to various components within a certain time frame before Windows validation fails. Since you mentioned swapping drives more frequently perhaps you just ran afoul of the timing.

    Joe

  12. #11
    New Lounger
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    I ran chkdisk & Seagate Seatools diagnostics yesterday & the drive checked out okay. I also booted from the suspect drive again & ran the Windows System File Checker, which showed no integrity problems with the system files.
    Joe, as to the swapping frequency causing the validation failure, that's certainly possible. I have no idea the algorithm that MS uses to determine a configuration change, nor, I'm sure does MS want us to know. If this is the case, however, I'm curious how come MS finally accepted the drive. Two things were different: booting from an external drive & having a "validated" drive available at another location. The odd thing about this scenario is that by using the backup drive from my system on my wife's PC permitted validation, & yet this drive had never been used there before, which would have been more likely to raise the "changed configuration" red flag. The suspect drive had been used there previously. As I said, weird.
    This whole issue again elevates my concern with MS & their validation process (or most software vendors, for that matter). As a mainframe system programmer back in the 70's & 80's, I would have to deal with broken validation issues with 3rd-party vendors, usually right at midnight when the product would erroneously think it had expired. I was present once when my boss was on the phone to one of the vendors dealing with the problem, & to paraphrase what he told the vendor "Preventing piracy is your problem, don't make it mine."

  13. #12
    4 Star Lounger
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    I believe Micro$oft will accept computer upgrades (but probably not new MoBos) as not being "new installs" after 6 weeks or 3 months.

    Zig

  14. #13
    Lounger
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    Not Genuine

    Every W7 box contains 2 CDs: 32bit and 64bit.
    I installed 64bit on one computer and it accepted the serial number.

    But the same serial number for 32bit on the other older computer was rejected.

    Both done for the first time.
    Did that happen to you?
    [twitter][twitter]rssra[/twitter][/twitter]

  15. #14
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Roop, Even though it comes with 2 disks, it specifically states you can only install one OS, either 32 Bit or 64 Bit, not both. All retail versions have both versions to give you the ability to switch from 32 to 64 or vice versa, not use both. Generally OEM copies only have one disk, either 32 Bit or 64 Bit
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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