Windows 2003 Server System Builder Certificate of Authenticity

To confirm that you have a genuine Microsoft Windows 2003 Server operating system, look closely at the Certificate of Authenticity (COA). Here is a typical, authentic COA:


The latest small manufacturer (builder pack / OEM) pre-installed Windows COAs contain two Port-Holes™ near the middle of the COA with blue-yellow background. The Port-Hole on the left is a ragged opening and the Port-Hole on the right is a more square shaped, yet still ragged opening, each with individual paper fibers visible around the inside edges. Notice in the above image how irregular the openings are, almost as if someone had used sandpaper and rubbed two holes into the certificate. This is a sign of authenticity.  Contrast this with the image below, which is a counterfeit COA.  Notice how the openings in the counterfeit below are perfectly shaped and have sharp, distinct edges, and how the counterfeiter has glued a white strip behind the certificate, in which they've created a poor illusion of ragged openings.


Also, from the rear it becomes obvious that the silver mylar thread is not woven into the certificate, but rather simply sandwiched between the front face of the certificate and the tape strip behind it.

An authentic COA will have the metalic thread woven into the actual certificate, just like you find on modern $10, $20, $50 and $100 US paper currency.

Another sign that you have a genuine COA is the broken letter "o" in "Microsoft" that appears against the green rectangle found in the lower right portion of the certificate.

A counterfeit COA will fail to contain a "notch" on the letter "o" where it joins with the letter "s". See how the "os" within the lower left red circle differs from the genuine COA as shown within the upper right red circle?

Another sign that you have a counterfeit version is to check the CD.  The Chinese counterfeit has a clear label placed over top of a copper spray paint job on the CD. Use a razor blade and start 1/16" from the outer edge of the CD. Scrape the razor blade inward and see if you can find and peel off a clear label. If a clear label is detected covering a copper paint undercoat, you've got a counterfeit.

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