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Windows 7: Activating fresh install on preinstalled OEM laptop

24 Sep 2011   #1
gimno

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Activating fresh install on preinstalled OEM laptop

I have a laptop which came with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. I did not make recovery disks or record the COA serial on the bottom. The hard drive failed, I have replaced the hard drive, and would like to install and activate the same OS that came with the laptop. I do have the Product ID and the original pre-installed (OEM) product key. I have working setup disc for Win7, correct edition and architecture - but it's retail. I have installed it successfully, but activation failed with the original OEM key.

The problem is that the COA key on the sticker on the bottom of the laptop is unreadable because the sticker has been worn out. I can read some characters of the key, however, so I have narrowed the key down to a set of 384 keys. However, it is not practical to try each of those possible keys. I think if I had the COA key, I could activate it, but there isn't really a way to get it at this point.

Is there a way to activate with the OEM key, other than what I have tried (i.e. activating from inside the completed install.) ? I think I read once that if you have the iso of the setup disc and can edit the files and repack it, then you can change it from a retail to OEM image by editing one file. Is this true? If so, I think I will try installing using that modified image. Otherwise, are there any other options?

Thanks in advance

PS: I have checked and I can purchase recovery discs from the Gateway (the OEM) but I would prefer no-cost options.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Sep 2011   #2
Maguscreed

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Without a key I can't really come up with a work around for you that doesn't involve cracking windows, which is not something we offer support for around here.

There may be some possibility that you can contact the manufacturer give them your laptop's serial and info and get the key out of them, though I kind of doubt that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2011   #3
seavixen32

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

Download and run Belarc Advisor, which will display an inventory of the computer including the product keys of any installed software, including the operating system.

Belarc Advisor - Free Personal PC Audit

You should then be able to install to install Windows with this product key, providing the version you are installing is the same as the OEM operating system.

Clean Install : Factory COA Activation Key
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Sep 2011   #4
gimno

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I ran Belarc Advisor before I wiped the drive and reinstalled windows. That's how I got the OEM key that was used for the factory installation. That key is not working with the retail windows 7 that I installed, which is the same edition and architecture as the original installation. Belarc did not give me the COA key.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by seavixen32 View Post
Download and run Belarc Advisor, which will display an inventory of the computer including the product keys of any installed software, including the operating system.

Belarc Advisor - Free Personal PC Audit

You should then be able to install to install Windows with this product key, providing the version you are installing is the same as the OEM operating system.

Clean Install : Factory COA Activation Key
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Sep 2011   #5
theog

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

You can not use the factory OEM-SLP activation method Product Key that Belarc, may/may not find to reinstall Windows.
System Locked Preinstallation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Sep 2011   #6
fseal

Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
 
 

The best I can think of is that you need to get a hold of an OEM install disk of Home Premium (or whatever version you originally had). Then your key may work. See if a friend has one or something...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Sep 2011   #7
gimno

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Do you think that disc would need to be an OEM disk for the same model as my laptop, or just the same manufacturer?

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by fseal View Post
The best I can think of is that you need to get a hold of an OEM install disk of Home Premium (or whatever version you originally had). Then your key may work. See if a friend has one or something...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Sep 2011   #8
theog

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

factory OEM disk
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Sep 2011   #9
gimno

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

That actually doesn't answer my question.

I know that I could use a set of recovery discs made by the same model of laptop, but could I use discs for any Gateway laptop? (Mine is a gateway.) I'm guessing probably not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Sep 2011   #10
theog

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

No, make & model in specs, therefore factory OEM disk
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Activating fresh install on preinstalled OEM laptop




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