Windows COA Sticker – Serial Number for Microsoft Windows

What is a Windows COA sticker? Well it is something you will need if you have Windows installed on your computer. Many people do not even realize that they have a COA sticker ( certificate of authenticity) until they actually need to enter in this serial number for the copy of Windows while formatting a hard drive. This is about the only time you will need to use Windows COA, when installing or upgrading Windows. Maybe you are building a computer and have bought a new copy of Windows to install on it. If you have bought a genuine copy of Windows (and lets hope you have) it will come with a certificate of authenticity.

What is a Windows COA sticker?

A Windows COA sticker is a certificate of authenticity sticker that proves that your copy of Windows is genuine. This, along with an original Windows CD, confirm that your copy is genuine.

Where can I find my COA Sticker?

A COA sticker can be found on either side of a tower or desktop computer case. It can also be found on the top, however very rarely at the bottom or back of a computer case.

How do I know if my COA sticker is a counterfeit?

If you have tried to Activate your copy of Windows and have been rejected than there is usually something wrong. I have never had a problem activating Windows, even if I had to eventually phone up Microsoft themselves.Even after I basically changed every part in a computer, and therefore making it look like a different computer, Microsoft still let me activate my copy of Windows. When you are changing computer parts all the time, here is an article I wrote back in the Windows XP days, on how to activate Windows XP.

If you have a genuine copy then you have nothing to worry about. You must make sure you have the disc that matches your COA sticker. For example if it says Windows XP Home then the cd must say this also. You can go to the Microsoft website to see if your COA is genuine.

coa stickerWhat’s the difference between a retail and a OEM Windows version?

  • Retail – A retail version Of Windows is more expensive than the OEM and usually comes in the big fancy box with the COA attached. You can install this Windows on any computer, only one at any time though, as long as it has the COA with it. If your computer breaks down you can remove the sticker and the software to use on your new pc.
  • OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) – An OEM COA is meant for the pc it was originally made for. The OEM sticker will have the version of Windows with the manufacturers name underneath. You cannot remove the sticker and use it on another computer as this copy of Windows is only to be used with the original pc it came with. An OEM is cheaper than the retail version of Windows. Once it is registered on a certain computer that is usually the end of it.

Windows COA sticker for sale

Well it is really not a good idea to buy a serial number sticker from anyone except Microsoft. Unfortunately, as far as I know they do not sell them. You can always ask though, as things change.

Notes about a Windows COA sticker:

  • An OEM and a retail version of Windows are the same program, except for the limitations on the OEM.
  • If you have a computer with a  Windows COA sticker but no cd, it is not genuine until you have an original cd that matches your COA sticker.
  • If you change your hardware in your computer drastically, you may not be able to use your OEM copy of Windows as it will think it is a different computer.
  • You can also download a free PDF report on How to Format Windows

Many backyard computer sellers try to sell you a computer without a COA sticker attached to the computer case. If you did not have a COA sticker then you will not have a serial number to enter in when you have an emergency. It used to be illegal to sell a computer with a copy of Windows on it and no Windows COA sticker. The person selling the computer would be better to wipe the Operating system off the computer if it is not genuine.

On the other hand, Microsoft now sells downloadable versions of Windows and the serial number is stored in your Microsoft account online.