How to Change Product Key without a Reinstall for WGA

Posted June 9, 2006 by MickeyMouse in Windows installation

Windows Genuine Advantage is now a required install. If you need to change your product key without an installation because of WGA requirements, these steps will walk you through it. This tutorial uses Microsoft-supported software and is how I explore “You May Be a Victim of Software Counterfeiting” errors.


Many of our users at work have been receiving the You May Be a Victim of Software Counterfeiting error. Basically, what happened was that the notebooks were mailed with invalid product keys.

Surprisingly, for many people, the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) or supplied valid product key may not be the actual one in use on their desktop computer or laptop. These numbers can be found on your XP software box or on a COA sticker on your system.

First, compare the product key on your XP installation to your valid XP product key or COA number using the WGA Diagnostic Tool.

If the numbers are different, you can usually change your number to a valid one by using Microsoft’s Key Update Tool.

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