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Windows 7: Question Regarding Product Key (sticker)

03 Mar 2011   #1
Dj SharK

Windows 7 Ultimate x86 7600
 
 
Question Regarding Product Key (sticker)

Hi again!

I have a question regarding the product key 'sticker' located underneath laptops and/or the side of your desktop. Before i begin, let me just say that the question(s) below are basically just out of curiosity (for now). It sure will come in handy in future if i need to perform such action(s).

Back on topic. I'll be using a laptop as an example in this post.


Scenario: So let's say my HDD died and there's no possible way to send it (to the manufacture) for repairs or perform a data recovery on the drive as it's too heavily damaged. I then purchase a brand new HDD to replace it. The 'original' HDD of course contains the 'recovery manager' (on a separate partition) for us to perform a clean install/repair (plus the drivers, etc). By replacing the HDD, it's obvious that i no longer have the 'recovery manager/partition' as it's brand new (and oh, i didn't have a recovery CD/DVD too in this example).

Question: Is it possible for me to use a friends' Windows DVD (of the same OS and 'type' such as Home, Professional, ultimate, etc) and perform a clean install but instead of using the key which came with the DVD, I'll be using the product key located underneath the laptop? Will it work?

Every DVD are the same right? Or perhaps each DVD require it's own specific keys?
If i can't, you could stop reading here.
If i could, other than having to install the drivers myself (as opposed to the 'recovery manager' method where it'll install the drivers automatically since it's no longer available), will i come across any issues? Do i still retain the genuine stamp by doing this? Anything else i need to know besides those I've already mentioned above? And lastly, is there a possibility to 'install' the recovery manager on a the new drive (exactly as it was originally)?


EDIT: One last question to squeeze in - If my laptop originally came pre-installed with Windows 7 Home, could i install Windows 7 Professional (basically a different 'version') and using the product key the came with my laptop?



Thank you for taking the time to read!



Danny


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
03 Mar 2011   #2
Bill2

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

Yes, you can use a friend's dvd and install the SAME edition that came preinstalled on your computer, then activate online with the sticker key. If that doesnt go through (normally it does), just call MS and they'll activate for you. You'll still be genuine after all this.

The best way to preserve the recovery partition is to make recovery disks using the recovery manager software on the OEM computer. Running these disks on a new hdd can be tricky at times- you may need to create a minimum no. of partitions or go through some other loops for it to work. It depends on the OEM brand. You can also copy and save the recovery partition on an external drive, the specifics again depend on the oem brand.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #3
Dj SharK

Windows 7 Ultimate x86 7600
 
 

Thanks for your quick response Bill2! Rep added.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
Yes, you can use a friend's dvd and install the SAME edition that came preinstalled on your computer, then activate online with the sticker key.
Glad to know it'll work. So by "SAME edition", i assume you meant if the laptop came with 'Home Basic', i can only use a 'Home Basic' DVD for the keys to work right?

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
If that doesnt go through (normally it does), just call MS and they'll activate for you. You'll still be genuine after all this.
Calling MS? I doubt that'll happen. I'll probably be on this forum asking for help.
Anyways, getting the genuine stamp is what's important (for me at least) and your answer is what i was expecting.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
The best way to preserve the recovery partition is to make recovery disks using the recovery manager software on the OEM computer.
The DVD drive on the one laptop i have right now doesn't come with a burner and since the only way to burn a copy is directly from the laptop itself, it's going to be tough (i don't own an external burner nor do i plan to get one). If only i could copy/paste the recovery manager and transferring it to my desktop (since i have a burner for my desktop), it'll be much easier. But hey, I'm not complaining.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
Running these disks on a new hdd can be tricky at times- you may need to create a minimum no. of partitions or go through some other loops for it to work. It depends on the OEM brand. You can also copy and save the recovery partition on an external drive, the specifics again depend on the oem brand.
I would love to know the how-to in regards to your last sentence. If there's a tutorial to do just that, it would be perfect as I'll not require the extra work such as looking for drivers, a quick and convenient way to perform a re-format/repair and much more.

The laptop is an old Compaq Presario C700 by the way. I know there's a BUNCH of C700's on the site. Unfortunately, i have no idea which mine is.




Danny
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

03 Mar 2011   #4
Bill2

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

1) Yes, if your comp came with Home basic, thats the one that'll get activated with the sticker keys. Remember product keys are edition specific, so a home basic key will not work with ultimate or hp or pro or starter.

2) Calling MS is very easy, if you ask for help here here this is what you'll be asked to do.

Activate Windows 7 by Phone

3) HP-Compaq machines have a software called "recovery manager"- look for it under Start menu- All programs. Click on it and follow onscreen instructions to make your recovery disks.

What i would also suggest is you save an image of the install using macrium or acronis, then you can restore it without having to bother with app/driver installs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #5
alphanumeric

Windows 10 Education 64 bit
 
 

I think what he meant by the "call Microsoft" comment was to use the "activate by phone" option if it won't activate on line. A lot of manufacturers use SLP ( system locked profile) install media. During installation it checks the bios for an embedded marker that ID's the PC's brand and model. If the correct identifier is found windows installs without asking for a product key and is auto activated. The product key used doesn't match the one on the sticker. You can think of it as a corporate type of key. Every laptop of that model is using the same product code. The manufacturer just makes a master image and copies it to each PC. The one on the sticker has never been used before. When you try to use it, activation usually fails. But once you call Microsoft and explain what you did, they give you a code to enter to activate it. It happens a lot now that most laptops don't come with an actual Microsoft CD/DVD. You can make any Windows 7 DVD a universal install disk.
Windows 7 Universal Installation Disc - Create[2]=General Tips
If you can't find one to match your exact version, make a universal from what ever you can get a copy of. My recommendation is to create a bootable USB flash drive. Then just delete the ei.cfg file from the sources folder on the thumb drive.
USB Windows 7 Installation Key Drive - Create[2]=General Tips
Its been my experience that windows 7 installs much faster this way too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #6
Dj SharK

Windows 7 Ultimate x86 7600
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
1) Yes, if your comp came with Home basic, thats the one that'll get activated with the sticker keys. Remember product keys are edition specific, so a home basic key will not work with ultimate or hp or pro or starter.
Ahh, got it.
@Forum staff: I hope i'm not breaking any rules by asking this (and if i did, please remove the paragraph below).
Say my laptop came with 'Windows 7 Home Premium' but the laptop is destroyed and I wasn't planning to sell or send it for repairs. Could i install Home Premium on my desktop and use the keys found on my damaged laptop? I'm pretty sure this is not allowed (right?) but if i were to do that, would it work?
(Disclaimer: I have no reason or intention to do this but curiosity got the best of me).


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
2) Calling MS is very easy, if you ask for help here here this is what you'll be asked to do.

Activate Windows 7 by Phone
I just read the post you linked me to above. Initially, i thought i have to make an international call. I didn't know they do have a number located in my country! I learn something new yet again on this forum. Thanks for pointing it out!

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
3) HP-Compaq machines have a software called "recovery manager"- look for it under Start menu- All programs. Click on it and follow onscreen instructions to make your recovery disks.

What i would also suggest is you save an image of the install using macrium or acronis, then you can restore it without having to bother with app/driver installs.
As mentioned earlier, burning a recovery disk is not possible as the laptop doesn't have a burner (if that's what you meant). But i'll be sure to check out macrium and acronis. I would likely find a function on those program that is crucial and/or useful.


P.S.: These discussions/questions are just meant to feed my curiosity. There is nothing wrong with my laptop/desktop. These questions just crossed my mind so I wanted to get answers just in-case if it happens in future, I'll know what to do by then. (Wanted to mention this again as i don't want you to go through a lot of trouble with research, etc).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #7
Bill2

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

Quote:
Say my laptop came with 'Windows 7 Home Premium' but the laptop is destroyed and I wasn't planning to sell or send it for repairs. Could i install Home Premium on my desktop and use the keys found on my damaged laptop? I'm pretty sure this is not allowed (right?) but if i were to do that, would it work?
(Disclaimer: I have no reason or intention to do this but curiosity got the best of me).

Thats illegal. OEM keys are tied to the computer they come with, you cant use them on another computer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #8
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Dj SharK View Post
As mentioned earlier, burning a recovery disk is not possible as the laptop doesn't have a burner (if that's what you meant). But i'll be sure to check out macrium and acronis. I would likely find a function on those program that is crucial and/or useful.
There are free programs to burn cd's and dvd's like the one below (I've used for a long time):

CDBurnerXP: Free CD and DVD burning software
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #9
Dj SharK

Windows 7 Ultimate x86 7600
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
I think what he meant by the "call Microsoft" comment was to use the "activate by phone" option if it won't activate on line.
Did he really? I read through the topic and there's only mentions of "call MS" via phone. But that's okay though as i just learn that there's a local number to reach MS from where I'm located.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
If you can't find one to match your exact version, make a universal from what ever you can get a copy of. My recommendation is to create a bootable USB flash drive. Then just delete the ei.cfg file from the sources folder on the thumb drive.
USB Windows 7 Installation Key Drive - Create[2]=General Tips
Its been my experience that windows 7 installs much faster this way too.
Wow, coincidentally, I've been on Google for the last hour looking for a quick and easy tutorial on how to 'copy' Windows 7 to my thumbdrive so i could use that instead of a DVD. I found a lot but I'll ignore them now since i trust tutorials in SevenForums more than any random sites. Thanks for the link alphanumeric!



Danny
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Mar 2011   #10
Dj SharK

Windows 7 Ultimate x86 7600
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
Quote:
Say my laptop came with 'Windows 7 Home Premium' but the laptop is destroyed and I wasn't planning to sell or send it for repairs. Could i install Home Premium on my desktop and use the keys found on my damaged laptop? I'm pretty sure this is not allowed (right?) but if i were to do that, would it work?
(Disclaimer: I have no reason or intention to do this but curiosity got the best of me).

Thats illegal. OEM keys are tied to the computer they come with, you cant use them on another computer.
I pretty much figured it's illegal. Was just curious to know if it will work if someone does it.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FliGi7 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Dj SharK View Post
As mentioned earlier, burning a recovery disk is not possible as the laptop doesn't have a burner (if that's what you meant). But i'll be sure to check out macrium and acronis. I would likely find a function on those program that is crucial and/or useful.
There are free programs to burn cd's and dvd's like the one below (I've used for a long time):

CDBurnerXP: Free CD and DVD burning software
Ermm, I'm sorry but i did say that the DVD drive on the laptop couldn't burn. It only reads, doesn't burn. I probably didn't phrase that clearly earlier.


Danny
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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