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Windows 7: Trying to reinstall Windows 7 without a Product Key--Please help


21 Jan 2012   #1

windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 
Trying to reinstall Windows 7 without a Product Key--Please help

Hi, my computer originally came with windows vista 64 bit. Last year, I was able to download a free upgrade to windows 7 through my university. I did a custom install and it upgraded without any problems. I am trying to re install windows 7 now, but I don't have a product key. I can't recall if I used one. I tried running the various key finders--jelly bean, speccy, etc-- and they all say "no key found." They show my MS Office key and windows 7 product ID-- but not a serial number. I've run about five key-finding programs and none can find a key. How is this possible? Did I not need one when I upgraded?

I made a copy of the windows 7 download on a dvd-- I still have that. Is it going to prompt me for a product key or is it somehow already integrated into the installation? Sorry, I am really computer illiterate and probably sound really stupid. I looked all over to see if I wrote a key down somewhere or send myself an email with the key-- but no luck. Is it possible I don't need a key, and can just put the Windows 7 boot disk in and run the custom install? Will that work? The only other thing I can think of would be to download it again through my university, but unfortunately I am no longer a student there so I can't access their website.

Any help would much be appreciated!

Thanks!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Jan 2012   #2

Windows 7 Pro with SP1 32bit
 
 

May be the same upgrade is still available and if so you may be able to find the Product Key there. Or maybe because you got the upgrade from your University it was already preactivated.

In any case you can only find out when you reinstall or consult some of your computer savvy friends in the University.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2012   #3
Microsoft MVP

 

Try running Belarc Advisor.

Why would you not back up a $100+ Product key even if you received it free? This is careless.

Contact your school's tech department to see how they can help you. Sometimes having the receipt or bank debit info, or even the Product ID, can help getting it replaced.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Jan 2012   #4

windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Try running Belarc Advisor.

Why would you not back up a $100+ Product key even if you received it free? This is careless.

Contact your school's tech department to see how they can help you. Sometimes having the receipt or bank debit info, or even the Product ID, can help getting it replaced.

That's just it-- I am good about these things-- I have keys from 5 dollar video games I bought 10 years ago still! And since none of the scanners are picking up any type of key, I am trying to figure out how it is I was able to install Windows 7 without a key. It must have had something to do with it being preactivated or something-- like I said, I did it through my university, I didn't ever have a cd or any type of paper with a product key.

I ran Belarc Advisor, and it still isn't picking up a product key. I have a Product ID , but the key is just BBBBB-BBBBB-BBBBB-BBBBB-BBBBB. It picks up every other license on my computer... don't understand why it wont pick up my windows key...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2012   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

As was said, try your DVDs that you burnt. Next time make images once you are done installing everything and repeat them periodically (at least once per month). Then you can reinstall in 20 minutes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2012   #6

windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
As was said, try your DVDs that you burnt. Next time make images once you are done installing everything and repeat them periodically (at least once per month). Then you can reinstall in 20 minutes.

Ok, so I have the windows 7 DVD but no product key. can i try to do a custom install and see if it installs? worse case scenario is it will ask me for a product key and i can just cancel it, right? I don't want it to wipe out and lock up my computer only to find out i cant finish the installation b/c i dont have a product key
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2012   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Pro 64 SP1
 
 

Did you get your upgrade from Digital River or MSDNAA?

Here's a link to retrieve your key from Digital River,

https://store.digitalriver.com/DRHM/...ocale=en_US#q4

Towards the bottom of the page they will ask for your info.

For MSDNAA you have a school specific site, but you can try looking here,

MSDN Academic Alliance (MSDNAA) Support and Troubleshooting Resources, Program FAQs
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2012   #8

Windows 7 Professional x64 Linux Mint 16
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jackcrab View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
As was said, try your DVDs that you burnt. Next time make images once you are done installing everything and repeat them periodically (at least once per month). Then you can reinstall in 20 minutes.

Ok, so I have the windows 7 DVD but no product key. can i try to do a custom install and see if it installs? worse case scenario is it will ask me for a product key and i can just cancel it, right? I don't want it to wipe out and lock up my computer only to find out i cant finish the installation b/c i dont have a product key
When your installing just don`t enter your product key. It will ask you, do you want to enter your key now? You just choose no but you will have to pick the version you want to install.

Tuneup Utilities will show you your product key.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2012   #9
Microsoft MVP

 

You will need a key if you reinstall with any DVD besides a manufacturer's Reinstallation DVD or factory Recovery Disks which came with the computer. But since Vista came with the computer, you'll need to replace the Windows 7 key you were given.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jan 2012   #10

windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 

Thanks for the help guys :P. So I have more information...

I did in fact get Windows 7 through the MSDN Alliance program (I think it is now called Dreamspark?) through my university. Anyways, after contacting them, they told us that they couldn't give me a new key since i am no longer a student there
. I've looked everywhere in my house and through emails etc and haven't been able to find the key anywhere. I guess I learned something here-- write that stuff down and tuck it away!!! Lesson well learned.

I still don't get why none of the key retrieving programs I've run will detect a windows 7 key on my computer...

So this sucks... guess I can't reformat my computer... will have to leave it the way it is. If I do, I'd have to go back to windows vista.

Any other suggestions/ideas?

Thanks again for your help... much, much appreciated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Trying to reinstall Windows 7 without a Product Key--Please help




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