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On January 8th, 2019, Windows 7 machines that were activated through Key Management Service (KMS) started receiving a “Windows is not genuine” notification indicating that the Windows license was not valid. It turns out this this problem was not caused by a January 2019 Patch Tuesday update, but rather by a change on Microsoft’s activation servers.

In an support article released on January 10th, Microsoft explains that the activation issue was caused by a code change on their Microsoft Activation and Validation servers

A recent update to the Microsoft Activation and Validation unintentionally caused a “not genuine” error on volume-licensed Windows 7 clients that had KB 971033 installed. The change was introduced at 10:00:00 UTC on January 8, 2019, and was reverted at 4:30:00 UTC on January 9, 2019.

Note This timing coincides with the release of the “1B” January 2019 updates (KB 4480960 and KB 4480970) that were released on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. These events are not related.

Windows 7 devices that have KB 971033 installed but did not experience this issue between the time of the change (10:00:00 UTC, January 8, 2019) and the time of the reversion of that change (4:30:00 UTC, January 9, 2019) should not experience the issue that is described in this article.

This code change affected Windows 7 machines that had the KB971033 update installed and were activated by KMS. The supported versions of Windows 7 that can be activated by KMS are:

  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Professional N
  • Windows 7 Professional E
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Enterprise N
  • Windows 7 Enterprise E

For any machines that were affected, they would have seen warnings that state “Windows is not genuine”, “This copy of Windows is not genuine”, or 0xC004F200 errors.

Not Genuine Warning
Not Genuine Warning

Microsoft suggests that users uninstall the KB971033 update from any Windows 7 machines that are activated through KMS. 

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“We strongly recommend that you uninstall KB 971033 from all volume-licensed Windows 7-based devices,” states Microsoft’s support page. “This includes devices that are not currently affected by the issue that is mentioned in the “Symptoms” section.”

If KB971033 is installed on a computer, users can uninstall it by issuing one of the following commands from an elevated command prompt.

wusa /uninstall /kb:971033


dism /online /Remove-Package /PackageName:Microsoft-Windows-Security-WindowsActivationTechnologies-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~7.1.7600.16395

Once you remove the update, you should restart the computer.

After the computer is uninstalled and the update has been confirmed to be removed, users should reactivate through KMS using the following commands.

net stop sppuinotify
sc config sppuinotify start= disabled
net stop sppsvc
del %windir%system327B296FB0-376B-497e-B012-9C450E1B7327-5P-0.C7483456-A289-439d-8115-601632D005A0 /ah
del %windir%system327B296FB0-376B-497e-B012-9C450E1B7327-5P-1.C7483456-A289-439d-8115-601632D005A0 /ah
del %windir%ServiceProfilesNetworkServiceAppDataRoamingMicrosoftSoftwareProtectionPlatformtokens.dat
del %windir%ServiceProfilesNetworkServiceAppDataRoamingMicrosoftSoftwareProtectionPlatformcachecache.dat
net start sppsvc
cscript c:windowssystem32slmgr.vbs /ipk [edition-specific KMS client key]
cscript c:windowssystem32slmgr.vbs /ato
sc config sppuinotify start= demand

For a list of KMS client keys that should be used, please see Microsoft’s support page.

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