A local lad from the village called me last week as he had been having trouble with activating a copy of XP Pro - attempts either on line or by phone were rejected by the validation process. He asked me to help and after some discussion he admitted he had bought the copy on ebay and had paid a buy-it-now price of less than £30 ($50). I looked at the holographic sticker and the booklet and at first glance it looked OK so I then had a shufti at the Microsoft website on http://www.microsoft.com/howtotell/counterfeit/gallery to see if there were any clues. We found: 1) The finish for the install disk appeared to be a label ON the disk instead of part of the disk material itself. 2) The blue booklet looked fine until compared with a genuine one and only when they are side by side was it apparent that there were errors in the content, the layout and the quality. 3) The holographic sticker was a very good copy and some of the differences only visible using magnification. We made a complaint to ebay who asked for a formal letter from an IT professional (they got me so it will have to do!) confirming it is a counterfeit copy. I am not sure if he is going to get his money back - he did not in fact buy a proper copy from me and was strangely evasive when I asked him what he was going to do about the installation! Moral - if it is dirt cheap there is probably something wrong with it or, as my old Mum used to say, "Buy cheap, buy twice"