Cheap Windows 10 Keys: Do They Work?


Microsoft charges $200 for a Windows 10 Pro merchandise key. However, using a quick search online, it is possible to come across websites promising Windows 10 Pro keys for $12 or much less. That’s a big saving–but do not fall for it.

windows 10 key

Are They Really So Affordable?

The websites selling inexpensive Windows 10 and Windows 7 keys aren’t getting valid retail keys directly from Microsoft.

Some of these keys just come from different countries where Windows licenses are more affordable. These are referred to as “gray market” keys. They may be legitimate, but they have been sold for cheaper in different countries. As an instance, Windows keys were once much cheaper in China.

A criminal acquires some charge card numbers, purchases a lot of Windows keys online, and sells them via third party websites at a reduction rate. When the credit cards have been reported as stolen and the chargebacks happen, Microsoft deactivates the keys, and also the ones Windows installations are no longer activated–but the offender gets away with all the money people paid for them.

A few keys could be education keys meant for pupils but got fraudulently.

On very sketchy sites, you may just be buying an entirely bogus key or an already-known key which has been used to pirate Windows on several approaches that have been obstructed by Microsoft. An especially bad site may even steal the credit card number you use to buy the key and use it to start the credit card fraud match afresh.

But Do They Work?

A valid Windows 10 key would not have issues with “volume activation.”

Alright, fine, so that these keys are sketchy. But you are wondering: Do they work?

Well, maybe.

We bought a Windows 7 key for approximately $15 from among these sites. We stuck it in a virtual server, and it worked for a year. Our Windows permit was no more”genuine.”

Quite simply, at some point in that calendar year, the key that we bought was flagged as bad by Microsoft. It was likely purchased with a stolen credit card number, and it was eventually blacklisted on Microsoft’s servers. So it stopped working, and we’d have to get a new key.

That is just 1 anecdote, but it is our expertise. Your key may never work in the very first place, it may work for a month, or it may never be blacklisted at all. It all depends on where the key initially came from, and you are never going to know where that was.

All these Keys Are Not Legitimate.

These keys simply aren’t legitimate. Or, you may be rewarding people who misuse programs set up to help pupils and encouraging the shutdown of those apps.

We all know it. There’s no way that a $12 Windows product key had been acquired legitimately. It is just not feasible. Even if you luck out and your new key will not work indefinitely, buying these keys is unethical.

Be Suspicious Anywhere You Find a Cheap Key

The keys we’re talking about this are often found on key reselling marketplaces such as G2A (G2deal), Kinguin, and several other smaller sites. These websites also sell gray-market video game keys, which are also of questionable origin and may be revoked later on. Polygon, a gaming website, has a great look at the problem with grey market game keys.

However, you could run into this issue on many sites. Sites like, eBay, and Craigslist are consumer marketplaces, and it’s frequently possible to locate vendors with Windows 10 or Windows 7 merchandise keys for much too inexpensive on these sites.

You might have a less difficult time filing a dare after buying a shady key from, but only because you buy a $40 Windows 10 product key in somebody on Amazon does not indicate it’s legitimate. Amazon is an enormous market, and it’s an issue with counterfeiters. Amazon might rather not help you in case your key works for a year before being revoked, either.

How To Get Windows 10 Free

Alright, let’s say you will need a Windows 10 license, along with the cheap keys are all you can afford. Here is what we recommend: Simply don’t purchase Windows 10.

We are serious here. You can install and use Windows 10 with no product key.

This really is a great method for installing Windows within an occasional digital machine to check software. In addition, it is a good stopgap if you have just assembled a PC and can’t manage a whole retail Windows 10 license only yet.

We imply it: You’re better off not buying Windows than buying it through a few of these sites.

When you are ready to buy Windows 10, you are able to pay to upgrade directly from within Windows 10’s Store, or by buying a legitimate product key and typing it into Windows 10’s Settings program.

How To Spend Less On Windows 10 Keys

You can still spend less on actual Windows licenses, too! As an example, we only seemed, and Amazon is selling legitimate OEM Windows 10 Home licenses straight from Microsoft for $99 vs. the typical Microsoft Store retail price of $139. That’s far out of $12, but approved stores were selling actual, legitimate licenses frequently perform undercut Microsoft’s prices, so you can locate some valid savings if you shop around.

Microsoft is being sneaky and continuing Windows 10’s free upgrade offer for this method.

And, supposing you already have a Windows 10 permit, Windows 10’s Settings program is now able to help you transfer it between various PCs. So, if you are switching to another PC, you may be able to choose your current license with you.

You might also be eligible for a program that assists you to get a key for cheaper. For instance, students might qualify for more affordable (or free) Windows 10 product keys during their universities.

Many of the legitimate keys offered on online shops like Amazon have been”OEM” or”System Builder” keys which lock themselves into one PC. Retail or”Full Model” permits are generally a bit more expensive.

Regrettably, Microsoft’s arcane licensing provisions seem to forbid people from utilizing OEM licenses on their own PCs. OEM licenses are just supposed to be used if you’re going to sell the PC, not use it all yourself. However, Microsoft has shifted its license back and forth over time, and it’s own messaging has been very confused.

Many typical geeks building their own PCs keep to purchase OEM copies of Windows to them, and we all do not blame them. Microsoft has never tried to prevent them, although the OEM license arrangement technically forbids it. In actuality, Microsoft continues selling OEM licenses to people establishing their own PCs through stores like Amazon without much upfront warning regarding the licensing issues.