Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is the best way to determine if the licensing for Server software purchased online is valid for our company? For example, this copy of Server 2003 seems entirely too cheap (we are planning to migrate to Server 2003 from Linux, can't use Server 2008 due to old Win98 machines), but if it's valid we'll certainly pick up a copy. Any advice?

share|improve this question
If a price seems to be too good to be true it probably is. – Evan Anderson Aug 28 '09 at 21:37
Damn! Those guys still sell Windows 95! – Mark Henderson Aug 29 '09 at 0:01
P.S. When you click the link for "Why is our price so low?" you get a 404... sounds a bit suss! – Mark Henderson Aug 29 '09 at 0:01
That's one of the places we still buy 95 and 98 licenses (we have some old software that uses hardware interrupts, only runs on 95/98). – Beep beep Aug 29 '09 at 14:32
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I personally don't know of any way to verify that the products are genuine as it requires having access to the product key which, obviously, is not going to be handed out without a purchase agreement.

Windows 2003 licenses are coming down in price because of the release of Windows 2008. Caveat emptor. If you don't trust a vendor, don't buy from them. If you do purchase and find a problem with the license then you can contact the Microsoft Anti-Piracy folks. Microsoft takes piracy very seriously. I personally have no experience in working with them, but I would imagine that they would help to address your issue in a fairly timely fashion.

share|improve this answer
I've worked with MS Piracy in the past. They are willing to look into a vendor and advise if the product is legitimate or not. You can ask them for clarification if you are hesitant. Also, they won't steer you away to another vendor that charges more (assuming this one is real), because they care how many SKUs are sold, not how much the vendors make. – shufler Aug 28 '09 at 22:12
@shufler: great stuff, thanks! – squillman Aug 28 '09 at 23:28

You can determine the validity of a running copy of Windows by going to and clicking on Validate Windows. As far as pre-sales go, your best bet is to buy your licenses from reputable vendors that you trust.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.