How To Check If A Computer’s Operating System Is Licensed | Q&A with Patrick Marshall


Question: My 10 year old Samsung laptop crashed catastrophically. I took it to a local repair shop and the technician / owner said the entire drive and data could not be recovered. He also claimed that the laptop’s operating system was an unlicensed illegal copy of Windows 10.

I gave him permission to install a new 500 GB SSD. He also installed Windows 10. He did not tell me the source of this new operating system.

When I got home and went to the homepage for the new operating system, I saw a folder called “kms2020work”. I guess it has something to do with Windows 10. Is this a legal Microsoft product?

And how could he know that original Windows was unlicensed? When I bought the new laptop it came preinstalled with Windows 10, probably installed by Samsung.

Richard Rice

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A: There are several ways to determine if your copy of Windows 10 is legitimate, but the easiest is to click the Windows icon in the left-most corner of the taskbar, then type “run” in the box. research. A window will open with a field in which you can type “slmgr.vbs / dli”. This will cause another window to open which will display the license status.

And yes, if you bought the new laptop with Windows 10 preinstalled, I would be very surprised if the OS was unlicensed. If the drive was unrecoverable and the operating system was not working, I am unable to explain how the technician was able to determine that the version of Windows you were using was not authorized.

Question: In a recent column, you developed a discussion of the need for a subscription or in-house VPN in light of the fact that the https: // address protocol is already encrypted. Of course, this is true once a secure connection is established with the target web server. To do this, however, your connection request must first go through your ISP in the clear. This allows your ISP to collect information about the sites you visit. And they have your personal information like name, address, zip code and phone number and maybe even more information that they collected when you signed up for their service.

They can correlate this data and who knows what kind of information they are selling to third parties? A subscription VPN service only allows your ISP to see that you are going to the VPN server. The data and your actual destination are encrypted from your PC to the target. Of course, the VPN service would know where you are going, but their business model is based on not disclosing this information. Their terms of service state that they do not record any of your traffic data. At least that’s true for the ones I’ve watched.

Bruce zelazosk

A: Good point.

Connecting to a site that uses HTTPS means that your communication with that site is encrypted, but that does not mean that an ISP (or hacker) cannot see that you have visited that site. So the question is: do you care that someone knows what sites you are visiting? If you do, yes, use a commercial VPN.


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