Can Someone Steal My Windows Product ID?

Ahmed Olatunde wonders if someone can copy his Windows Product ID from the sticker on his laptop, and use it to install Windows on another machine.

Ahmed asked me this question after reading my tip Find Your Windows Product ID, so you might consider this tip something of a sequel.

My first concern: If a dishonest person finds the opportunity to turn over your laptop and write down the number without getting caught, they'd probably just steal the whole computer.

But to answer your question, there isn't much a criminal could do with just the number. The very fact that the PID is on a sticker means that it's for an OEM version of Windows intended for one particular computer. These aren't transferrable to another PC.

What if you installed a retail copy of Windows on your PC, and the thief steals your Product ID with software like Magical Jelly Bean's Keyfinder? I still doubt it would do them much good or you much harm. They wouldn't be able to activate Windows without first calling Microsoft and offering an explanation.

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