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    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 14th Apr 19, 4:08 AM
    • 1,439 Posts
    • 720 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    • #2
    • 14th Apr 19, 4:08 AM
    • #2
    • 14th Apr 19, 4:08 AM
    I've recently purchased a full priced Windows 10 license and have often wondered how online vendors manage to sell seemingly legitimate licenses for 10 or 20 which seem to be from genuine sellers that have sold thousands of licenses with hundreds and thousands of positive feedback going back years.

    I believe it's called the "Grey Market" but is it based on them buying bankrupt stock or from countries where the price is much lower such as perhaps India or China?
    Originally posted by gabriel73195
    Ouch...

    .........
    • kinger101
    • By kinger101 14th Apr 19, 7:31 AM
    • 4,610 Posts
    • 6,382 Thanks
    kinger101
    • #3
    • 14th Apr 19, 7:31 AM
    • #3
    • 14th Apr 19, 7:31 AM
    For Microsoft Office at least, it's not unusual for these companies to disappear. Soon after the licence is revoked by Microsoft.
    • jim1999
    • By jim1999 14th Apr 19, 7:56 AM
    • 36 Posts
    • 42 Thanks
    jim1999
    • #4
    • 14th Apr 19, 7:56 AM
    • #4
    • 14th Apr 19, 7:56 AM
    There are various methods. One is having a subscription to Microsoft that allows you to test out products - get the test keys, and then sell them on to punters. If MS find out that you've done it, they can revoke the keys, but by that point the customers have paid.

    Getting them abroad is another option.

    Ultimately you've no guarantee that you'll keep access to the grey keys. At least if you purchased a retail Windows key you know that you can use it indefinitely and without any issues. If you do have problems (e.g. if you change computer), you can contact Microsoft and have a clear paper trail of how you bought it.
    • arciere
    • By arciere 14th Apr 19, 10:26 AM
    • 679 Posts
    • 388 Thanks
    arciere
    • #5
    • 14th Apr 19, 10:26 AM
    • #5
    • 14th Apr 19, 10:26 AM
    They often re-sell Volume licence keys that couldn't be sold. There's nothing 'grey', it's all illegal in Microsoft terms.

    A person I know called me a few days ago because he had purchased one of these magic keys from eBay. He followed all the instructions but upon activating the key that he had been given, the activation tool told him that the key had already been used too many times. He then spoke to the guy who sold him the Office key and was told to use the telephone activation process and to say that 'no other computer is using that key'.

    Yeah, sure.
    • that
    • By that 14th Apr 19, 1:17 PM
    • 964 Posts
    • 556 Thanks
    that
    • #6
    • 14th Apr 19, 1:17 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Apr 19, 1:17 PM
    for 2 or 3, and for personal use I would definitely take the chance, and let MS decide if the keys are valid or not. For my own small business or a few users, I too may take the chance if the use is not mission critical. I can afford the loss of another 3, or wait a day to visit pc world to get one which I know should never die (but that does not mean it wont).

    I work for an org that scraps around 2k PCs a year. These PC will each have their own bought license (win 7 pro), but we use our corporate license instead.

    However as an employee, or as a larger small business, it can be a pita loosing all or partial computer facilities especially if it is part of the work process. Also you saving management 1000's, but may bite you if you fall out of management favour, as the onus will fall on you, and every time I make a saving suggestion at work I get told "it is not your money, why worry, or assume responsibility".

    Licencing cost is becoming so prohibitive, many of the web servers are using free linux, and linux is becoming ever more popular. After recently putting MX linux on a 9 year old i5-540M laptop, the crispness is hard to beat even with my ssd and my much more powerful cpu.
    • Dee 1303
    • By Dee 1303 14th Apr 19, 2:30 PM
    • 164 Posts
    • 350 Thanks
    Dee 1303
    • #7
    • 14th Apr 19, 2:30 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Apr 19, 2:30 PM
    The Windows 10 Pro I'm using now cost under a fiver from Amazon, two years or so ago now. Not once in those two years have I had any problem whatsoever with the Windows installation and all the updates have been just fine.

    Since the cheapest official OEM of Windows 10 I could find then was over 50, I think it's pretty safe to say that if I needed another license I would take the chance again even if there are reputable sellers at more reasonable prices now.
    • forgotmyname
    • By forgotmyname 15th Apr 19, 6:09 AM
    • 28,958 Posts
    • 11,867 Thanks
    forgotmyname
    • #8
    • 15th Apr 19, 6:09 AM
    • #8
    • 15th Apr 19, 6:09 AM
    Threads from 5 years ago??
    And none of that appears to be relevant. The people selling the keys are not selling their own keys.

    Possibly keys from old machines, windows 7 serials will install windows 10 fine. (or it did last time i tried it, couple of months ago)

    Could be someone with a key generator, generating dodgy ones. These may work or they may not.

    No idea if its true but rumour has it that MS will accept any keys to get users onto win 10.

    I blocked all updates, seems they make it harder and harder to do this. 1703 works, seems the next updates will kill some of my stuff.
    Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar will be used sparingly. Due to rising costs of inflation.

    My contribution to MSE. Other contributions will only be used if they cost me nothing.

    Due to me being a tight git.
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 15th Apr 19, 8:00 AM
    • 6,749 Posts
    • 6,666 Thanks
    DoaM
    • #9
    • 15th Apr 19, 8:00 AM
    • #9
    • 15th Apr 19, 8:00 AM
    NEXT updates? Aren't we already on 1809?
    Diary of a madman
    Walk the line again today
    Entries of confusion
    Dear diary, I'm here to stay
    • kwikbreaks
    • By kwikbreaks 15th Apr 19, 9:02 AM
    • 8,966 Posts
    • 4,486 Thanks
    kwikbreaks
    Well I am. On a key that cost just a few quid on eBay. I needed it to get rid of a dodgy one on a refurb laptop I bought.
    • Niv
    • By Niv 15th Apr 19, 10:07 AM
    • 1,739 Posts
    • 1,561 Thanks
    Niv
    You don't even need an activation key for windows 10.
    YNWA

    Target: Mortgage free by 58.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 15th Apr 19, 12:07 PM
    • 4,876 Posts
    • 3,806 Thanks
    Tarambor
    Will they work? Yes, just as long as it isn't one from a volume licence that phones home to a company's KMS activation server because one day you may find it can't and then it'll become deactivated.

    Does it comply with the terms of the Microsoft Licence? No.

    Will it pass a company software audit? No.
    • AndyPix
    • By AndyPix 15th Apr 19, 12:13 PM
    • 4,211 Posts
    • 3,682 Thanks
    AndyPix
    You can just use your old 7 or 8 key . This is allowed by microsoft


    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-windows_install/how-to-install-and-activate-windows-10-using-your/d713f9f9-e91f-4ffe-a3c0-7ef9639a0559
    Running with scissors since 1978
    • forgotmyname
    • By forgotmyname 15th Apr 19, 3:04 PM
    • 28,958 Posts
    • 11,867 Thanks
    forgotmyname
    NEXT updates? Aren't we already on 1809?
    Originally posted by DoaM
    Probably, but after the 1703 updates they just appear to kill more of my stuff.

    Couple of the recent ones kill Bluetooth from what i gather. They killed Bluetooth with a previous update also.
    Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar will be used sparingly. Due to rising costs of inflation.

    My contribution to MSE. Other contributions will only be used if they cost me nothing.

    Due to me being a tight git.
    • Uxb1
    • By Uxb1 15th Apr 19, 6:07 PM
    • 105 Posts
    • 125 Thanks
    Uxb1
    A volume licence is sold by a software vendor/creator/wholesaler generally to another corporate.
    It allows the corporate buyer to install whatever number of installations the volume licence agreement contract allows on lots of machines under the same licence key.
    The corporate buyer might typically be a business in need of xx installations of software X.
    Such a company might buy a volume licence for 500 MS office installations from either MS themselves or from an authorised reseller middleman.
    Some MS office versions were only sold as volume licences by MS. Only the buyer (and MS) will know how many installations were bought, have been installed and hence how many are still available.

    I've no idea how it works when one of the corporate buyers in possession of a volume licence and running out of installations left on it and wants to take off some old installations on machines to be scrapped and use them on new installations. Would this be treated as a 'new' installation or not? - I guess it depends on the exact contract T&C' of the volume licence agreement.
    • that
    • By that 15th Apr 19, 6:42 PM
    • 964 Posts
    • 556 Thanks
    that
    I've no idea how it works when one of the corporate buyers in possession of a volume licence and running out of installations left on it and wants to take off some old installations on machines to be scrapped and use them on new installations. Would this be treated as a 'new' installation or not? - I guess it depends on the exact contract T&C' of the volume licence agreement.
    Originally posted by Uxb1
    We get a sheet of paper with one code for each product purchased on it. If we buy 20 Licences we can use that code for 20 times, then it no longer works.

    this is how it was: If the code is used too many times, then we eventually get a general activation message and you get a certain number of days to activate it. (think it is 30 days). The server licensing in rarely intrusive and many have thought they have registered the servers to find out a few days later they have not, so the result has not always been instantaneous.

    However we now have a KMS server (Key Management Services) The servers have to contact the KMS software within 180 days. Not sure what happens on day 181 I have had nothing to do with KMS, it just sits there and works to my knowledge.

    Unsure how we clear down the old servers licences.
    • LadyDee
    • By LadyDee 16th Apr 19, 5:15 AM
    • 3,604 Posts
    • 3,841 Thanks
    LadyDee
    OP - from a non-techy's point of view, your posts are beginning to sound as though you are trying to come up with a plan to manipulate the use of Volume Licences?
    • that
    • By that 16th Apr 19, 7:06 AM
    • 964 Posts
    • 556 Thanks
    that
    So tthat license code that you can use 20 times can be activated only 20 times and is that activation done by the Microsoft mother ship?
    Originally posted by gabriel73195
    Definitely, same as a pc. Do not think there is away of avoiding the phone home aspect somewhere along the line. Probably done now by our kms server.

    Is Microsoft able to discern that these codes are actually "Volume License Codes" designed to be used with ACME company or whichever company purchased those licenses. I have a feeling that they don't. If Microsoft can't tell then would this be a possible explanation as to how these grey market keys function? If Microsoft can't tell if the Volume Keys are associated with a particular company or not then they will surely activate and lead a normal software activation life as long as this code hasn't been sold more than the 20 times.
    Originally posted by gabriel73195
    We do not buy the code from MS, but rather through one of their agents - at least two in the uk. The bulk codes we purchased are linked to our org, or can be tracked back to our org. If i were to sell the bulk key, and if someone then queried the key they would definitely know the org. Also there is the software audit which is at least performed every year, mostly to make sure we are not overpaying. As sub companies evolve and dissolve (mainly for tax purposes in our case) there seems to be flexibility, just dont shake the tree .

    If the key is valid, and not stolen, then it is legal - like buying a can of beans. I personally would not user the windows 2019 server key from ebay for 5.29 in an org, but at home to fiddle with and learn etc, I sure would. Come to me with a 1000 block of gold convince me it is not stolen (will not take much ), and that you want 10p and we also may have a deal

    However laptops are mobile, and there was a stage where you changed a few bits of hardware and Ms licencing would complain - have not heard of the happening for quite a while, but also upgrades are less common too

    Now if it's true that this "Volume License" would be cheaper in somewhere like China or for the Chinese government then that would definitely be a route to the market place and explain why there is so many grey market keys available that work.
    Originally posted by gabriel73195
    It is software, thing will go wrong, and if you are big enough will end up needing support somewhere down the line, and they may get you to talk to their Chinese support team

    We have in the past bought servers from other countries and their uk branch did not want to support us, but the global conglomerate whipped the uk branch into shape. The servers were built around the corner - in EU, travelled loads of air miles around the world to come back cheaper

    From what I gather, and I could be wrong, thanks to UEFI?, there is no more license key sticker on the bottom of our newer laptops. I think our corporate key overwrites the original licence, because if we put generic windows back on it over the corporate one (a third installation of windows), it seems to ask for a new key - so you end up paying twice for the same thing?
    Last edited by that; 16-04-2019 at 7:36 AM.
    • kwikbreaks
    • By kwikbreaks 16th Apr 19, 11:06 AM
    • 8,966 Posts
    • 4,486 Thanks
    kwikbreaks
    Couple of the recent ones kill Bluetooth from what i gather. They killed Bluetooth with a previous update also.
    Originally posted by forgotmyname
    Yes 1809 killed my bluetooth entirely but I found a way to fix it via Google. Strangely enough it involved running an Intel bluetooth install despite my machine using a Broadcom chip. Very strange stuff.
    • kwikbreaks
    • By kwikbreaks 16th Apr 19, 11:15 AM
    • 8,966 Posts
    • 4,486 Thanks
    kwikbreaks
    However we now have a KMS server (Key Management Services) The servers have to contact the KMS software within 180 days. Not sure what happens on day 181 I have had nothing to do with KMS, it just sits there and works to my knowledge.
    Originally posted by that
    It was some sort of KMS hack on the refub laptop I bought that stopped working. Possibly after 181 days.
    Possibly https://www.passfab.com/product-key/kms-activator-windows-10.html certainly what they had put on mine got reported as malware and deleted after I'd had the machine a while and then it lost activation which was when I bought the cheapo key.
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