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Windows 7: Bought used laptop - Win 7 key has rubbed off of sticker - options?

03 Jun 2014   #1

Windows 7
Bought used laptop - Win 7 key has rubbed off of sticker - options?

I would like to do a clean install of Win 7 on it and am wondering if I have any options. The sticker itself is attached, but the key is unreadable. It is a Toshiba about 4 years old. The seller may or may not have the recovery discs and paperwork/box that came with it and will get back to me in a few days. My guess is that the key is only printed on the laptop itself. Is there anything I can do in this situation? Would it be best to inquire through Microsoft or Toshiba?

Thanks the way this is a wonderful forum

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2014   #2

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

Toshiba used to ship those discs for free - then they started charging 30 US dollars.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2014   #3

Windows 10 Pro X64

Open Notepad. Then copy all the data in the Code box below and paste it into Notepad.

Click File / Save as and save it as "ShowKey.vbs" on the Desktop. Include the double quotes or Notepad will add .txt to the end of the name.

Right click on ShowKey.vbs on the Desktop and select Run as Administrator.

Output is in a window on the Desktop. Click Yes to save it to Windows Key.txt in the same folder Showkeys.vbs is in which in this case should be your Desktop. It would be a good idea to print that file or save it somewhere so when you need it, it's available.

Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
                Key = "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\"
                DigitalID = WshShell.RegRead(key & "DigitalProductId")

                ProductName = "Product Name: " & WshShell.RegRead(Key & "ProductName") & vbNewLine
                ProductID = "Product ID: " & WshShell.RegRead(Key & "ProductID") & vbNewLine
                ProductKey = "Installed Key: " & ConvertToKey(DigitalID)
                ProductID = ProductName & ProductID & ProductKey

                If vbYes = MsgBox(ProductId & vblf & vblf & "Save to a file?", vbYesNo + vbQuestion, "Windows Key Information") then
                   Save ProductID
                End if

                Function ConvertToKey(Key)
                    Const KeyOffset = 52
                    isWin8 = (Key(66) \ 6) And 1
                    Key(66) = (Key(66) And &HF7) Or ((isWin8 And 2) * 4)
                    i = 24
                    Chars = "BCDFGHJKMPQRTVWXY2346789"
                        Cur = 0
                        X = 14
                            Cur = Cur * 256
                            Cur = Key(X + KeyOffset) + Cur
                            Key(X + KeyOffset) = (Cur \ 24)
                            Cur = Cur Mod 24
                            X = X -1
                        Loop While X >= 0
                        i = i -1
                        KeyOutput = Mid(Chars, Cur + 1, 1) & KeyOutput
                        Last = Cur
                    Loop While i >= 0
                    If (isWin8 = 1) Then
                        keypart1 = Mid(KeyOutput, 2, Last)
                        insert = "N"
                        KeyOutput = Replace(KeyOutput, keypart1, keypart1 & insert, 2, 1, 0)
                        If Last = 0 Then KeyOutput = insert & KeyOutput
                    End If
                    a = Mid(KeyOutput, 1, 5)
                    b = Mid(KeyOutput, 6, 5)
                    c = Mid(KeyOutput, 11, 5)
                    d = Mid(KeyOutput, 16, 5)
                    e = Mid(KeyOutput, 21, 5)
                    ConvertToKey = a & "-" & b & "-" & c & "-" & d & "-" & e
                End Function

                Function Save(Data)
                    Const ForWRITING = 2
                    Const asASCII = 0
                    Dim fso, f, fName, ts
                    fName = "Windows Key.txt"
                    Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
                    fso.CreateTextFile fName
                    Set f = fso.GetFile(fName)
                    Set f = f.OpenAsTextStream(ForWRITING, asASCII)
                    f.Writeline Data
                End Function
Script posted by NiFu here: How do I find my Product Key?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 Jun 2014   #4

Windows 7 Pro-x64

For security reasons, I wouldn't leave the script on your system. Run it, print the file and delete both afterword. You can put it on a thumb drive and run it from that too. If you choose to write the file, it will go to the thumb drive too. Treat the script and thumb drive as you would a 140 dollar bill because that's what it will cost you to get another key if it gets out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2014   #5
Microsoft MVP


Unfortunately the key installed on the PC now is not the same Product key on the COA sticker used to Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7, but instead a batch key used to mass activate at factory.

The other options are to order your Recovery disks, or back up the factory SLP activation file to reinstall after the clean reinstall, an option you can research yourself since we do not support it here by decision of the Admins.

In some cases MS Phone Activation has issued a new key in such a case based on other information they ask when attempting to activate a Clean Reinstall. But this cannot be relied upon. If you were planning to reinstall the Factory SLP activation then you could try that first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jun 2014   #6
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
...In some cases MS Phone Activation has issued a new key in such a case based on other information they ask when attempting to activate a Clean Reinstall. But this cannot be relied upon. If you were planning to reinstall the Factory SLP activation then you could try that first.
I've read of cases where the user was able to send a photo of the worn out sticker to M$ and get a new key. Often, the user had to call more than once to find a savvy rep that would allow this.

While there is no way this will help the OP, I take a photo of the COA sticker as soon as I get a new machine that has one, then cover the sticker with a layer of packing tape to help protect it from wearing out so soon.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jun 2014   #7

Windows 7

Am I understanding that the key I get from the showkey.vbs file will not work on a clean install?

I would much rather perform a clean install with a Microsoft disc than reinstalling with the factory discs.

As far as saving the factory slp activation file, would that work with a clean install with an MS disc?

Thanks for the info, I will try to see if MS would be willing to help after reading the replies I got.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jun 2014   #8
Microsoft MVP


I thought I made it clear that the key onboard Factory preinstalled Win7 is not the COA sticker key but is the Factory SLP mass activation file.

I also said that there is a method to back up and then reinstall the SLP activation file after a clean reinstall but it is not supported here so we cannot answer further questions that google can.

If you are dead set against factory preinstalled Win7 then I'd follow the steps to get a perfect Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 which gives you 30 days to set it all up, test it for comparison purposes, try activating it using MS Phone Activation, if necessary appeal to MS Customer Service, do the SLP file reinstall if you choose that.

If all of these fail then your left with the choice to pay $30+ for Toshiba Recovery disks from Toshiba, or pay $89 for Win7 Home Premium OEM from Tiger Direct or New Egg, the price we now see most regularly there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jun 2014   #9

Windows 7

Sorry, just making sure since this is new information to me and is important to get right before I proceed. I appreciate the responses and info.

I have a few more questions...

Would it be possible to buy a broken laptop that is the same model # and use that key for my laptop? If so would it have to be the exact same model # or could it be a similar model? Or are those keys linked specifically to the motherboard inside?

Is it possible to wipe the hard drive and use the factory install discs? or does that need to be done with an OS present or a recovery/restore partition?

And mainly out of curiosity...

If it is possible to do a factory install on a wiped drive, would that alter the product key making it different than the mass activation key it has now?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jun 2014   #10

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem

A friend of mine had a similar issue. He purchased a used laptop and there were no discs (or the on HD recovery media had already been created), and illegible COA.

He called Toshiba and explained giving the serial number. I forget the term he used, but they swiched ownership to him and sent new recovery discs - free of charge. Give them a call, it's probably an 800 number so it won't cost anything except the 20 minute help center wait time.

I know you said that you'd prefer a clean Win7 install, but having a way to reinstall the system is a good thing. If you have to uninstall the bloat and create a system image, that's better than no path.

Good luck, you have some good member helping already.

I don't know if they gave him a new COA, I don't think so - just the Toshiba recovery discs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Bought used laptop - Win 7 key has rubbed off of sticker - options?

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