Learn more about features included with genuine Microsoft software, including the packaging, installation CD/DVD/USB, product key labels, and the Certificate of Authenticity (COA). When you purchase software such as Windows, Office, or Windows Server on its own (not preinstalled on a PC), this is called packaged software. Typically, packaged software can be purchased from a retail store, an authorized reseller, or an online reseller. Here are some quick things you can look for when purchasing packaged software:
Microsoft Retail Box Top COA prior to April 2021:
1) Holographic Feature
2) Color-Shifting Feature
Retail Box COA
Effective April 2021, Microsoft released a new COA for the Retail Box Top label. To view the features of this new label click on the video HERE.
In April 2022 Microsoft has released a new authentication label which will replace the prior label in these same countries and more. For a short video that shows the features of this new label click HERE.
In Addition, as of May, 2020, for Southeast Asia, India and Korea Microsoft has deployed a unique authentication label on Retail product. In those countries this label can be found next to the Retail Box COA as shown in the image here:
Product key label
Before April 2021:
Your Windows 10 Microsoft packaged software product is delivered with Windows on a USB device which includes vibrant color and 3D effects as the USB device is tilted. This hologram is embedded within the plastic molded component of the USB; it is not a label.
April 2021 and After:
For a video that illustrates the holographic features click here:
In limited countries and regions worldwide, you may receive your Office 2016 backup software on a USB device that includes vibrant color and 3D effects as the USB device is tilted. This hologram is embedded within the plastic molded component of the USB; it is not a label.
Earlier version of Windows
Microsoft packaged software products prior to Windows 10 such as Windows, Office, and Windows Server are delivered on a CD or DVD, which includes vibrant color and 3D effects on the inner hub of the disc, as the disc is tilted. This hologram is embedded within the disc; it is not a label.