What is Windows Product Key Expired?
This error is displayed by a malicious website that users often visit inadvertently - they are redirected by various PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) that infiltrate systems without permission. Be aware that most PUPs deliver intrusive ads (coupons, banners, pop-ups, so forth), gather sensitive data, and reduce overall system performance.
As can be seen, "Windows Product Key Expired" error states that the Windows copy has expired and needs to be reactivated. Users are encouraged to contact a local administrator or call online support via a telephone number ("0-800-046-5264") provided.
Support technicians then supposedly resolve this issue. Note that this website appears similar to a window that provides basic system information ("Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\System"). Therefore, "Windows Product Key Expired" error may seem genuine.
In fact, it is a scam. All claims regarding the expired key are false - cyber criminals attempt to scare and trick victims into calling and paying for technical support that is not required. In addition, they often request access to victims' computers. Once connected, they stealthily modify system settings and/or install malware.
The criminals then claim to "detect" more issues and offer further help for an additional fee. For these reasons, you should ignore "Windows Product Key Expired" error and never call the aforementioned telephone number. This error can be removed simply by closing the web browser (preferably via "Task Manager") or rebooting the system.
Note that, after re-running the web browser, you should never click "Restore Closed Tabs". In doing so, you will re-open the malicious website that displays "Windows Product Key Expired" error.
Most PUPs deliver intrusive ads by employing tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Displayed ads overlay visited website content and lead to malicious websites and/or even run scripts that download/install malware (or other PUPs).
Therefore, even a single click might result in high-risk computer infections. Another downside is information tracking. PUPs typically record various user-system information (mostly relating to web browsing habits). Collected data is likely to include personal details that developers share with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) and, thus, data tracking can result in serious privacy issues or even identity theft.
Furthermore, a small percentage of PUPs misuse system resources to mine cryptocurrencies or run other unwanted tasks in the background. In doing so, they significantly diminish overall system performance.
|Name||"Windows Product Key Expired" virus|
|Threat Type||Adware, Unwanted ads, Pop-up Virus|
|Symptoms||Seeing advertisements not originating from the sites you are browsing. Intrusive pop-up ads. Decreased Internet browsing speed.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.|
|Damage||Decreased computer performance, browser tracking - privacy issues, possible additional malware infections.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
As mentioned above, "Windows Product Key Expired" shares many similarities with dozens of other fake errors. Note that all claim that the system is damaged (for instance, missing files, infected, etc.), however, such claims are simply attempts to extort money from unsuspecting users.
Research shows that PUPs are all virtually identical. By offering various "useful features", they attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, these programs are designed only to generate revenue for the developers. Most deliver no real value for regular users. PUPs pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.
How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?
Some PUPs are known to have official download websites, however, due to lack of knowledge and careless behavior by many users, PUPs often infiltrate systems without permission. Developers proliferate PUPs by employing intrusive ads, and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" - stealth installation of third party applications together with regular software/apps.
Developers know that users often skip most download/installation procedure steps. Therefore, they conceal "bundled" apps within various sections (most likely "Custom/Advanced" settings) of these procedures. By skipping steps and clicking ads, users expose their systems to risk of various infections and compromise their privacy.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
To prevent this situation, be very cautious when downloading/installing software and browsing the Internet in general. Carefully analyze each step of the download/installation processes and opt-out of all additionally-included programs.
Furthermore, bear in mind that intrusive ads typically appear legitimate, however, they redirect to survey, adult dating, gambling, and other similar sites. If you encounter such ads, immediately eliminate all suspicious apps and browser plug-ins. The key to computer safety is caution.
Text presented in "Windows Product Key Expired" pop-up error:
Windows product key expired call immediately: 0-800-046-5264
Since Windows was first activated on this computer, the hardware on the computer has changed significantly.
Due to these changes. Windows must reactivate call administrator to call support at 0-800-046-5264
Another variant of this scam (tech support scammers are using +1-888-592-1999 using phone number):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Windows Product Key Expired?
- STEP 1. Uninstall deceptive applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove adware from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove rogue extensions from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove potentially unwanted plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue extensions from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Removal of potentially unwanted programs:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 users:
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
macOS (OSX) users:
Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.
In the uninstall programs window, look for any suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Remove rogue extensions from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "windows product key expired" virus, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.
Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "windows product key expired" virus, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Computer users who have problems with "windows product key expired" virus removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....
In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "windows product key expired" virus, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
Commonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.
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