License Sticker (COA)

The Microsoft Certificate of Authenticity (“COA”) is the primary anti-piracy device, OEM product-tracking device and proof of license for Microsoft OEM products.

  • OEM Customer receives COAs from SILICA after purchasing Runtime Licenses.
  • The COA is a non-removable, sequentially numbered sticker with anti-piracy features designated by MS. It is permanently affixed to an accessible location on or within each Embedded System.
  • COAs are designed to provide a more secure document and allow improved authentication of genuine product.
  • Each COA identifies the Licensed Product installed on an Embedded System.
  • Embedded Systems distributed with Microsoft Embedded Licensed Products must have a COA.
  • It is the OEM customer’s responsibility to accurately reconcile total number of COAs received with the number of systems shipped with MS software. OEM customers and MS Distributors should maintain appropriate records regarding the disposition of all COA labels, including serial number tracking of any COAs damaged as part of the manufacturing process.

There are three types of COAs used in the Embedded Channel. All three COA types are produced by De La Rue, a secure print vendor company that specializes in COA production.

COA Types

1. The Embedded Thumbnail COA (Image not actual size)


Note that the OEM don't need to stick the pink 2D Barcode on the device. Only the grey COA Sticker. The pink 2D barcode is only an incremental number from the manufacturing lot.

To improve manufacturing quality processes and reel integrity, Microsoft has developed a new roll of Embedded Thumbnail Certificates of Authenticity (COAs). Changes include adding a serialized 2D barcode next to the thumbnail portion.

Trialer labels

These images of the current and the new leader and trailer labels are provided as a reference on the existing labels used on the Embedded Certificate of Authenticity (COA). These labels are needed for production and processing purposes and have no licensing function for the OEM customer. The leader labels are located at the beginning of the reel and trailer labels are located at the end of the reel.

Current Trailer COA

Trailer COA current

New Trailer COA

Trailer COA new

2. The Embedded Personal Computer (PC) COA (Image is not actual size)

Trailer COA green
Trailer COA rose

3. The Embedded Self Adhesive (SA) COA (Image is not actual size)

Trailer COA Security
Trailer SA COA

COA Type Table


COA Type

MS-DOS Embedded

Thumbnail COA

Windows Embedded CE

Thumbnail COA

Windows 3.11

Thumbnail COA

Windows NT-Embedded

Thumbnail COA

Windows XP-Embedded

Thumbnail COA


Thumbnail COA

Windows 2000 Professional


Windows 2000 Server


Windows NT Workstation


Windows NT Server


Windows XP Professional


Windows Vista


ISA Server


Windows Server Appliances - NAS


Windows Server Enterprise


Windows Server 2003 Embedded

PC COA or Large SA COA

Windows Server Appliances - Other

PC COA or Thumbnail COA

Data Protection Manager Server

Large SA COA

SQL Server & CALs

Large SA COA

Windows Embedded Standard

Thumbnail COA

Windows Embedded POSReady

Thumbnail COA

Visit the product section of each Microsoft Embedded product to find the specific License Terms.