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Microsoft Windows Is Not Genuine Scam

Also Known As: ShareCash ransomware
Damage level: Severe

What is "Microsoft Windows is not genuine"?

"Microsoft Windows is not genuine" is a fake error message that locks computer screens and states that the operating system (Windows) is not genuine. To return systems to their previous states, victims must enter a Windows product key. Be aware, however, that "Microsoft Windows is not genuine" error (screenshot below) is fake.

Microsoft Windows is not genuine scam

This error states that the system can only be restored by entering an activation key, however, note that entering a genuine key will not work. The displayed pop-up window contains a link ("Click here to get your key") supposedly leading to a survey, which victims must complete to receive a "product key".

In fact, the link currently redirects users to a pay-per-download website ("ShareCash" - legitimate, and not relating to this virus ). To download a text file (which supposedly contains the product key), victims must pay a fee. This behavior is relatively uncommon to this type of virus.

Most state that the system is infected (or damaged in other ways) and encourage victims to call "Certified Technicians" to receive help in solving the problem. These claims are merely attempts to trick victims into paying for services that are not required.

Never attempt to contact these people or pay for any services (or, in this case, for a download) - it is likely that you will be scammed.

There are dozens of fake errors similar to "Microsoft Windows is not genuine". Examples include Your Computer May be At Risk, Microsoft.Inc Warning!, Your Windows Has Been Banned, and many others. All attempt to scare users and trick them into paying.

These viruses might be distributed along with adware/malware applications, however, cyber criminals usually proliferate them via malicious files attached to spam emails, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks (Torrent, eMule, etc.) and other third party software download sources (free file hosting websites, freeware download sites, etc.), fake software updaters, and trojans.

Therefore, never open any files received from suspicious/unrecognized email addresses. Furthermore, never download programs from unofficial sources.

Cyber criminals are capable of exploiting software bugs/flaws to infiltrate the system. Therefore, keeping installed applications up-to-date and using a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite is also very important. The key to computer safety is caution.

"Microsoft Windows is not genuine" error message:

This copy of Microsoft Windows is not genuine.
To use all Microsoft Windows features, such as all updates from Windows Update; get the latest updates; and receive product support, your copy of Microsoft Windows must be validated as genuine.

As a new step to security (to continue using Microsoft Windows), we require you to complete a survey for a new product code.

Screenshot of a pay-per-download website ("Click here to get your key" redirect):

Pay to download unlock key for Microsoft Windows is not genuine scam

ShareCash (pay-per-download website) Terms of Use:

ShareCash terms of use

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Quick menu:

"Microsoft Windows is not genuine" virus removal:

Step 1

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer starting process press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Go to the Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click on Advanced Startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window select Advanced Startup. Click on the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into "Advanced Startup options menu".

Click on the "Troubleshoot" button, then click on "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen click on "Startup settings". Click on the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press "5" to boot in Safe Mode with Networking Prompt.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Step 2

Log in to the account infected with the "Microsoft Windows is not genuine" virus. Start your Internet browser and download a legitimate anti-spyware program. Update the anti-spyware software and start a full system scan. Remove all entries detected.


If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, try performing a System Restore.

Video showing how to remove viruses using "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" and "System Restore":

1. During your computer starting process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears, and then select Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list and press ENTER.

Boot your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt

2. When Command Prompt Mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt type cd restore

3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt rstrui.exe

4. In the opened window, click "Next".

restore system files and settings

5. Select one of the available Restore Points and click "Next" (this will restore your computer system to an earlier time and date, prior to the "Microsoft Windows is not genuine" virus infiltrating your PC).

select a restore point

6. In the opened window, click "Yes".

run system restore

7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remnants of the "Microsoft Windows is not genuine" virus.

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking (or with Command Prompt), boot your computer using a rescue disk.

Some viruses disable Safe Mode making it's removal complicated. For this step, you require access to another computer. After removing "Microsoft Windows is not genuine" virus from your PC, restart your computer and scan it with legitimate anti-spyware software to remove any possible remnants of this security infection.

Other tools known to remove this scam:

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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