Are you anticipating the Windows 10 release as much as we do?
Microsoft surprised many people earlier this year with their announcement that users with Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 licenses will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. Not content with blowing our minds with a free operating system, it was announced that even pirates would receive the upgrade, although their Windows copy will remain non-genuine.
As the Windows 10 release date looms large, the prices for legitimate Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 licenses is steadily dropping off as their market value loses power. Whether you own a pirated copy or are still running a version of Windows that doesn’t qualify for a free upgrade, there has never been a better time to modernize or legitimize your Windows license. Just make sure your system can handle Windows 10.
We’ll show you some of the best places to pick up a Windows product key.
Bonanza is an online marketplace that claims to “remove the technical expertise needed to build a profitable online business.” You can find all manner of useful and useless tat on Bonanza, and Windows license keys are amongst the pile.
I picked up a Windows 7 Ultimate key for around $35, received it within an hour, processed it, verified it with the Microsoft Key Checker, and left the appropriate, thankful feedback. Bonanza is still relatively unheard-of, despite featuring alongside Etsy, Amazon, and eBay in Time Magazine, and as such you can find an absolute Windows license key bargain.
Prices: From around $35 for both Windows 7 and Windows 8.
One of the largest global marketplaces for marked down Steam-keys is also home to a number of legitimate Windows 8 license keys, covering Standard, Professional, and Enterprise, in both 32 and 64-bit flavors.
G2A also offers a range of languages and locations to buy from, as well as including the option to protect your purchase with the G2A Shield.
Prices: From around $22 for Windows 8, but nothing for Windows 7.
If you poke and prod Amazon a bit, it will reveal its soft underbelly. This is where the Windows 7 and Windows 8 licenses are kept. Amazon offers a confusing range of prices for Windows license keys; presumably relating to the presence of actual Microsoft sanctioned products delivered directly by Amazon, and individual vendors undercutting what now seems quite a large layout for two aging operating systems. There are also a number of “open-box” offers, bringing the price as low as $30 in some cases.
If you can spend the time searching for the right deal, you’ll save some serious pennies.
Price: From around $30 for both Windows 7 and Windows 8 – but as high as $100 direct from Amazon. Go figure!
This is a subreddit – a subsection of the news aggregator and social media network – dedicated to swapping Microsoft software. It isn’t all swapping, either. You can buy Windows 7 and Windows 8 product keys to upgrade with, as well as all manner of Office, Windows Server, Windows Project, Vision, and more, whilst each Seller is verified.
However, how much this verification actually means is unclear, but there does appear to be an active administration and vendor community relationship, plus some very low prices. I would be wary, but not outright skeptical as I’ve had some outstanding opportunities in life through Reddit – this job being one of them!
Price: Ridiculously low – Windows 7 and Windows 8 from around $15
PriceGrabber is another site that takes a little sifting. There are some excellent deals to be had, but you have to track them down with a little sleuthing, and sometimes it’s a case of “right time, right place.” If you do have time to perceiver in pursuit of a product key, you can find some reasonable discounts.
Price: Windows 7 starting from around $60, Windows 8 from around $70
Yard Sale/Garage Sale/Car-Boot Sale
This is a much less technological based approach to upgrading your system, but you get the added pleasure of fingering through other peoples stuff as you pretend you’re interested in buying their serviette holders. I picked up an aging Windows 7 machine at a UK car-boot during this week for grand sum of £10 ($15!), and can take the hard-drive from one machine, place it my own, and keep the extras for spares and repairs.
It is getting to that time of year, too – spring has sprung, and summer isn’t far off. Keep your eyes peeled!
Price: Varied, but you’ll be able to barter for the best deal.
A Few to Avoid
Of course, in the search for cheap Windows license keys, you’ll certainly run into some scams. That search combination – “cheap” “Windows” “license” “keys” – will reveal thousands of sites desperate for your money. Avoid them like the plague. The job is becoming more difficult as scammers up their games to appear increasingly legitimate, and as we’ve shown with our legitimate sources, Windows license keys can indeed be that cheap.
- MrHighTech – duplicate addresses, invalid VAT handling, multiple forum threads discussing scam
- Pay4VIP – blocked WHOIS, invalid receipt management, countless forum threads advising scams and duplicate keys, no HTTPS.
- WINDOWS7ANYTIMEKEY – duplicate addresses, forum threads advising of scams, based in China
N.B: not all companies selling Windows licenses in China are illegitimate, but there is a large propensity for fake keys from the region.
These were three I found within seconds – there are literally thousands more of these sites waiting to swipe your cash. So before committing to purchasing a Windows license key, complete this very small check list:
- Install the Web of Trust extension for your browser. It’s available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer. It provides reputation ratings based upon customer feedback, and can be a real life/wallet-saver.
- If it is a site you’ve never used, and looks somewhat iffy, Google “site name+scam” to reveal any reservations other consumers have had, or bad experiences people are blogging about.
- If you can, pay using PayPal, a credit card, or a single-use debit card. Don’t provide scammers with any ammunition!
- Make sure your purchase session is secured with HTTPS. You can grab a really handy Chrome extension that creates a secure connection everywhere.
Good luck, and happy hunting!
Are you upgrading before the Windows 10 release? What has prompted your move? Let us know below!