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Windows 7: Windows 7 Starter CD Key unreadable


07 Jan 2014   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Windows 7 Starter CD Key unreadable

i bought a computer a while ago and it was with Windows 7 starter,with cd key and everything but i have 2 questions : 1. is the cd key one time use (i use it on one computer and i reinstall Windows 7 i can use it again or no) and 2. is there anything i can do if i cant read one letter on my cd key ? (i can see all but i cant read the last letter or number cuz its blurred (XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXX*) the * i cant read it.Is there anything i can do or i have to deal with it ?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Jan 2014   #2

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Most likely the key (COA sticker) on the computer is what is called a OEM/SLP key. The sticker is put on the computer at the factory.
It can only be used on the computer it is installed on.

I don't really know how to read a COA sticker you can't read.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2014   #3

Win 7 Ultimate (64-bit), Win 8.1.1 (64-bit)
 
 

I have read where people have scanned the COA sticker and then used photo editing software to enhance/sharpen/zoom in on the key to be able to read it.
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07 Jan 2014   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

If it is only 1 letter, I would call Microsoft. They should be able to decypher it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2014   #5

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Good idea strollin. That might work and it's free.
Another good idea whs. I didn't know Microsoft would do that. Again the phone call is free.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2014   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 x64 Home Premium (and x86 VirtualBox VM)
 
 

It's unlikely that they would - but it may be worth a try ..

However -
Your computer should have a Recovery Partition on it, from which you can return Windows to its ex-factory condition. This has its own built-in Key which self-activates.

The Key on the COA sticker is for 'emergency' use - in cases where either the self-activation system breaks down, or you are forced to reinstall using other media. It is, however, the only proof that you have a Windows license!

The Key from the COA sticker can be used as many times as necessary (within reason) but ONLY on the computer to which the sticker is attached, as it's locked to that computer's hardware the first time it's activated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2014   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

maybe i can write and email to microsoft? and what kind of photo editing software you talking about ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2014   #8

Win 7 Ultimate (64-bit), Win 8.1.1 (64-bit)
 
 

Whatever photo editing software you have available that has the ability to enhance ans sharpen an image as well as the ability to zoom in/enlarge an area of the image.

If all else fails, since it's only the last digit, you could try the brute force method where you try all of the numbers(0-9) and all of the letters(A-Z). At most you would need to try the key 35 times. However, you might get lucky and hit it right away.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2014   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Pro 64 SP1
 
 

Even less than that, to borrow a line from Noel,

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Noel
Note that the following characters cannot be used - A E I L N O S U Z 1 0 - so don't bother trying unless you like the noise it makes
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jan 2014   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 x64 Home Premium (and x86 VirtualBox VM)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by derekimo View Post
Even less than that, to borrow a line from Noel,

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Noel
Note that the following characters cannot be used - A E I L N O S U Z 1 0 - so don't bother trying unless you like the noise it makes


Yep - that reduces the possibilities to just 25 if one character is missing... or 625 if you've mislaid two (I got one Key that way with two missing characters - it took a while!)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows 7 Starter CD Key unreadable




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