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 COA, recovery media, and security features

A certificate of authenticity (COA) is a label to help you and your customers identify genuine Microsoft Windows software. Without it, your customers will not have a legal license to run their Windows software.

  • You will find the COA included in the System Builder Pack that you acquired from your distributor. If it is not included, contact your distributor.
  • You must affix the COA to the case of the computer on which you are preinstalling Windows as described in the system builder license.
  • You may not distribute the computer without performing this step.

Certificate of authenticity

Windows 10

New certificate of authenticity (COA)
  • Microsoft has introduced a COA for Windows 10 that has a new look and feel and new security features.
  • Learn more about the security features and review the most current pictures.

Earlier versions of Windows

New certificate of authenticity (COA)
  • The picture above shows the look and feel of the COA used for Windows 8.1.
  • Similar to the Windows 10 COA, it also includes security features to help prevent counterfeiting.
  • Learn more about the security features and review the most current pictures

Recovery media

  • If you acquired a System Builder Pack with recovery media, you are required to include it with the computer on which Windows is preinstalled.
  • The disc that you received should include some security features in the form of holograms on the inner and outer bands of the disc. Learn more about the security features and review the most current pictures.
  • If the disc that you received does not include any security features, contact the distributor from which you acquired the System Builder Pack.

Distribution

Individual OEM system builder Windows software licenses must be distributed with the following:

  • Certificate of authenticity (COA) label
  • Authorized recovery media
  • Documentation
  • Software License Terms*

 

*Note: The Software License Terms can typically be found within the software.

Counterfeit protection

Don't fall victim to stand-alone COAs. If you receive offers for COAs as stand-alone items, be aware that these offers are highly suspect—and they can put you and your customers at risk. If you fall victim to stand-alone COAs, you will have wasted money and your customers will not have a legal license to run their software.

Protect your customers and your company. Purchase software through a Microsoft authorized OEM distributor, an assured source of genuine Microsoft software.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Act of 2003 (U.S. only), passed on December 24, 2004, makes it a criminal offense to distribute stand-alone COA labels. There is now a significant legal risk for dishonest resellers to illegally deal in stand-alone COAs. The full weight of the law is behind the efforts of Microsoft to make the marketplace safe for your honest partners.

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