In Australia, a Windows 10 Professional product key will set you back $339. But, spend a few minutes searching the web, and you’re sure to come across several websites promising a legitimate Windows 10 Pro key for less than $20.
Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Not quite.
In this article, we’ll examine cheap Windows 10 Pro keys in a little more detail. Are they real? Do they work? And what are the risks?
Why are cheap Windows 10 Pro keys so inexpensive?
Websites selling cheap Windows 10 Pro keys are not official stockists of Microsoft products. The keys they offer are not legitimate – they are typically obtained one of two ways:
- The keys are purchased from countries where Windows licenses cost less. These are known as ‘grey market’ keys, and although they may be technically legitimate, they were not created for use in Australia. China, for example, offers significantly cheaper Windows product keys.
- The keys are purchased with stolen credit card information. Here’s how it works: a cybercriminal obtains credit card numbers, purchases a bunch of Windows 10 Pro keys, and sells them to unsuspecting users at a discounted rate. If the credit cards are reported as stolen, Microsoft will deactivate the keys purchased, meaning anyone who purchased a cheap key will lose access to Windows 10 Pro. The worst part: the criminal gets away scot-free with the cash.
Do cheap Windows 10 Pro keys work?
You know these keys are super sketchy – but do they actually work?
Often, yes. They do work, but just for a little while. Microsoft usually catches on eventually and blacklists the stolen, illegitimate product key, causing it to stop working. Other times, the keys don’t work at all and sometimes they work perfectly for years. It’s a gamble.
The thing is, purchasing these keys is unethical. You are supporting criminal activity – and putting your personal information at risk in the process.
I can’t afford a legitimate key – now what?
Let’s say you need Windows 10, but the cheap keys are all that you can afford. What should you do?
Don’t buy Windows 10 at all.
Instead, get Windows 10 for free without a product key. Yes, you will see a watermark, and yes, it will nag you to purchase a key. But you can still use it indefinitely without paying a cent.
This is a great option for those that have just built or purchased a PC and can’t quite afford a license. When you can afford a Windows 10 key, upgrading is super easy. You can purchase and pay directly through the Windows 10 store.
Have an old Windows 7 or Windows 8 key? That’s even better. You can use an old Windows 7 or Windows 8 key to install Windows 10.
And finally, look into the programs available that help users secure Windows 10 at a more affordable price. High-school and university students, for example, may be eligible for a discounted or free version of Windows 10.
Upgrade to Windows 10
Upgrading to a new operating system can be daunting. And without the proper backup and security measures in place, you risk losing your valued files, photos, and documents. Get in touch with our friendly team of Windows experts today. Give us a call on 1300 553 166 or fill out the form on this page, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.