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Windows 7: Vista - Clean install w OEM disc - Think I messed up BIG TIME

06 Jul 2014   #1
jsmith71292

vista
 
 
Vista - Clean install w OEM disc - Think I messed up BIG TIME

PLEASE HELP!!!

A friend of mine upgraded my machine (that came with Vista pre installed) with a crappy version of Windows 7. My machine has been pretty much useless for a year bc the admin/system password was changed somehow. I called Dell and they gave me a new password and it got me in so I could get all of my pictures, music etc off of the hard drive. I thought that was all I had to "back up". Boy was I wrong it seems.

I thought I could use the OEM disc and do a reinstall and start over with a clean slate. So I did and it worked fine, until I realized that I didn't back up things like MICROSOFT OFFICE!!! I called Dell and they said I would have to repurchase it. I already purchased it once though, why again? I checked the product key and noticed that is has changed since the clean install.

Now I have no idea how I can get it back on my Dell laptop. I only have the OEM discs (one for the OS and one for the drivers and utilities) since my version of Windows came pre-installed. Now it's back to asking for not only the admin/system password but now a WINDOWS password as well! I asked Dell about this as well and they said there was a way to disable this but it would cost me $130+ to get it! I think I am seriously getting the run around and I'm beyond sick about it.


So my questions are:
1. Is there anyway to go back now that I have clean installed and save anything?
2. Am I screwed and will never have my Microsoft office again?
3. Why did my product key change?
4. Is there anyway to fix this?

Please help if possible!!! Thanks so much in advance!!!!!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Jul 2014   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Your original Vista install Product Key was likely a generic key used by Dell at the factory to activate thousands of machines. That key was not unique to your machine.

If you then did a clean install, I assume you activated it using the Product Key found on the "Certificate Of Authenticity" sticker on the machine. That key IS unique and does NOT match the key Dell used to mass activate at the factory.

If you did a true "clean install", I'm guessing you are hosed. If you did something short of a clean install, you may have a "Windows.old" folder somewhere, but I don't think it would be useful to get Office back even if you have that folder.

There are free alternatives for Office that work pretty well, such as Open Office.

You might post a screen shot of Windows Disk Management as there is some possibility you did not wipe out any recovery partition Dell might have put on your hard drive. I'm only guessing that Dell provides such a partition--maybe not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2014   #3
jsmith71292

vista
 
 

Thank you so much for your quick reply! I appreciate it SOOOO much!

I don't remember the machine asking me for a product key when I did the clean install using the OEM disk. I'm guessing it recognized something as it didn't ask me for which version of windows vista I needed to choose from. This was stated in some clean install tutorials I reviewed. So maybe there is hope??? I doubt it though.

I will search the machine and see if I can find the Windows.old file you referred to. I am not at that machine at the moment or I would now, but I will post a screen shot if possible when I try and fix it again. I don't know if I can even get to it is again, as it is asking for a Windows password now. The only Windows password I set was for my "profile" during the clean install process. The machine worked fine, with the exception that I deleted Microsoft Office but now it's back to throwing up the admin/system password screen. I'm not understanding what happened! Soooo frustrating.

I hope this isn't too much to process. It appears I made a HUGE mess of things. :-(((
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Jul 2014   #4
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jsmith71292 View Post
I checked the product key and noticed that is has changed since the clean install.
Are you referring to a Vista Product Key?

You apparently compared old key to new key.

Where did you find the old key to make the comparison?

From where did you read the new key?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2014   #5
jsmith71292

vista
 
 

The product key that is on the sticker on the bottom of the laptop. And the one I compared it to was the one you can see in the control panel options and it says you can change it. I tried and tried to change it to the one that is on the bottom of the laptop, hoping it would bring back my Microsoft Office, but I could never get it to change.

Maybe I need to do another clean install and make sure nothing gets populated in the product key field? I remember the tutorial said it would ask me to select the version of Vista I had originaly, but it never asked me to chose the version of Vista I had, so it had to get info from somewhere, right?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2014   #6
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

I can't help you with password issues.

Unless Office is contained on that OEM Vista disc that you have (unlikely), I don't see how you can retrieve Office unless you have a working recovery partition.

Wait for comment from others.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2014   #7
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

If that is the oem os disc that came with the machine, it should install the correct edition and you shouldn't have any os activatiobn issues.


If MS office came with it, that would probabaly be a trial version, with a default product key.

I assume you purchased an office key to turn the trial into a fuuly functional Office?

If so, your purchased should work to activate Office, just as it did before.

I don't use Office, but I assume there is somewhere obvious to enter the Office key?

If you can't get it to work, post scrennshots of how and where you are attempting to insert the key. Somebody who uses Ofiice will know how it is done.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2014   #8
jsmith71292

vista
 
 

Thank you so much!!! I will try these as soon as I get to the computer again. Should be later this afternoon.
Again... thank you guys sooooooo much!!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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