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If you encounter a Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) message that there is a problem with the product key or the volume license key for your installation of Microsoft Windows XP or Windows Vista, use one of the following methods to resolve the issue.

Windows XP

  • If you have the original media or the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) with a product key, visit the Compare Product Key Web site for resolution:, after validation is unsuccessful at the following Web site, select Update your product key:

  • Contact the reseller from whom you purchased the software and request Genuine Windows software. Microsoft can provide a report to help explain the situation to the reseller. If you plan to use this option, visit the following Web site to try validation: validation is unsuccessful, select see all options, and then select Go back to your reseller. Next, follow the instructions for returning to your reseller to receive Genuine Windows XP software.

  • Purchase a full packaged product (FPP) version of Windows XP from a retailer.

  • Microsoft will send a complimentary copy of Windows XP to customers who have been sold a high-quality counterfeit version of Windows XP. You must submit proof of purchase, the counterfeit CD, and a counterfeit report that includes details about the purchase. To obtain more information about the Complimentary WGA Kit and to apply, visit the following Web site to try to validate the software, and then select See all options validation is unsuccessful, click Complimentary WGA Kit.

  • Purchase the Windows XP Home or Pro WGA Kit online at a reduced price (estimated at $99 for Windows XP Home, $149 for Windows XP Pro). With this option, a new product key will be e-mailed to you after payment is confirmed. You will also receive the Windows XP CD and media by mail within four to six weeks. The kit will include Windows XP Service Pack 2. When you use the kit, you may have to reinstall the operating system. To purchase the WGA legalization kit, visit the following Web site to validate your software, and then select Buy Now after validation is unsuccessful:

    Note No kit is available for Windows XP Media Center Edition.

  • If you are confident that you are using Genuine Windows software and that you need more help, visit one of the following Web sites to contact WGA Technical Support: Select a product, and then select Windows Genuine Advantage.

Windows Vista

First, verify that your software was installed by using the correct product key. If an incorrect product key may have been used, try to update the product key, and then try to validate again. To update the product key, try to validate the software by visiting the following Web site: Validate Now. After validation is unsuccessful, follow the instructions to update your product key and validate again.

The following options are available when Genuine Windows Vista validation is unsuccessful:

  • Contact the reseller from whom you purchased the software and request Genuine Windows software.

  • Purchase a full packaged product (FPP) version of Windows Vista from a retailer. For more information about purchasing Windows Vista from a retailer, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

  • Obtain technical support. In rare cases, technical support may be needed to identify and resolve your validation issue. To determine the best technical support option for your issue, visit the following Microsoft Genuine Advantage Web site, and see the "Get Technical Support" section:

More Information

For a list of frequently asked questions and answers, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

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