Buying a new or used PC? Learn what to check for before making a purchase.
There are a few quick things you can look for to make sure that you’re getting what you are paying for when shopping for a new or used PC:
Genuine Microsoft Labels
- Have been preinstalled with or licensed for Pro editions of Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 11.
- Have been preinstalled with or licensed for Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 11 shipping into China (with the exception of Hong Kong and Macau).
- Are licensed for a Windows Pro product, but have been pre-installed with a Windows 7 Professional downgrade. These devices are licensed for Windows 8 Pro but not pre-installed with Windows 8 Pro. These devices would include a GML.
- Educational Institutions
- Administrative Offices & Boards of Education
- Teachers, Faculty and Staff
- Public Libraries
- Public Museums
- Home-School Programs
Windows 11 GML
Effective Jul 2021, Microsoft released a new GML. There is a version of the GML intended for the Education Channel, differentiated by ‘For Education’ on the label. Click here to view a short video that shows the features of this new GML.
See below for prior examples of GML's which may appear in market for some time in the future.
Effective May 2021
Microsoft released a new GML as shown here in May, 2021. Features and physical characteristics are shown in the brief video, here link.
Effective September 2017
Genuine Microsoft Refurbisher Label
Effective October 1st, 2020, a new authentication label from Microsoft will be affixed to Microsoft Authorized refurbished PCs. This label is intended to allow consumers to validate that the device that they are purchasing has been refurbished by a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher.
For a visual that shows what this authentication label looks like click here.
Surface Power Supply Label
Certificate of Authenticity (COA)
Microsoft Certificates of Authenticity, for all products where software is pre-installed
- If you paid to have Office included on your new PC, an Office product key is transmitted digitally to your PC when you activate Office. You don't need or receive a printed product key.
- The first time you launch an Office program or open an Office document, Office will let you know that Office is included with the PC, and prompt you to activate using a Microsoft Account.
- You can check which versions of Office you have, change or add language packs, re-install Office on the same device and download an offline installer (or backup media) by logging into the Microsoft Account used to activate Office at office.com/myaccount.
- If you need any additional help with activating Office, please see this support article.
Earlier versions of Windows
- Interwoven security thread – is built into the paper and random paper fibers are visible when the thread appears at the surface
- Color shifting ink edge - changes from green to magenta when viewed from different angles
- Moiré Image – Within the red area on the left hand side of the label is a feature to assist in proving the label is genuine. Hold the label horizontally at arm's length and at eye level. Look straight at the label and then move to a very shallow viewing angle, for example by tilting the label away from you. A series of zig zag lines and squares will become visible where there previously appeared to be none.
Product Key Concealment
Small Embedded Product COAs Effective May 2021
This label is supplied for products that contain embedded versions of Microsoft software. To view the features of this label please click the video here.