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Windows 7: Possibly unique situation? Retail disc + OEM key

03 Dec 2009   #1
SomeguyusingW7

w7
 
 
Possibly unique situation? Retail disc + OEM key

Hello all :-)

I borrowed my friends Windows 7 retail disc (or I think it's the MSDN 64bit disc) for professional. I wanted to try it out for 30 days and make sure I liked it. Well, I did like it and now I ordered the OEM disc since I'm a system builder.

My main question is this: I've already installed windows 7 using the MSDN/Retail disc, could I just enter my OEM key when it arrives and activate?

Or do I need to blow it up and reinstall windows using the "special" OEM disc? I'd rather not have my key screwed up since it's a one time use thing.

Thanks!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Dec 2009   #2
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I believe that you will have to reinstall.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Dec 2009   #3
mckillwashere

Windows 7 x86/x64, Server 2008r2, Web Server 2008
 
 

The oem key is bound to the hardware. In windows xp, it looked at the hardware installed built a key what was send to MS. Ms sent back an okay or not okay to your machine. Yes there was at one point in time a special key that just said okay your good no need to contact MS. In vista there was a similar setup. For windows 7 im not exactly sure but im pretty sure that the OEM will be hardware bound like all the previous Activation required os's that MS has released. And there is no difference the OEM key is just a standard key, it should work when you put it into the "change product key" menu located in your system properties. If it requires and reinstall it will not let you activate using that key
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Dec 2009   #4
SomeguyusingW7

w7
 
 

Hmm, very intersting.

So if I entered my OEM key and it fails to activate, will it like deactivate the key or something? The scenario I don't want to get in is where I try the OEM key and it fails, then I reinstall using the OEM disc and go to activate but it fails because it was already attempted once, or something like that... lol
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Dec 2009   #5
mckillwashere

Windows 7 x86/x64, Server 2008r2, Web Server 2008
 
 

The key is not technically a one time use. This is because of having to reinstall. It is tied to one machine. not to one activation. Because wouldn't you hate to have to purchase the OS every time you have to have to reinstall, weather it be a virus, system crash/ fatal error/ or massive user malfunction. If you try to activate in windows it will pop back not a valid key for this version, Just like if you try to use an ultimate key to upgrave from premium. Win7 know what they keys look like and whether they are for different versions or not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Dec 2009   #6
gregrocker

 

The key will not be tied to the hardware until it is activated. You cannot lose a key for failing to activate. You bought it and own it for life. MS cannot steal it back from you, only enforce the EULA which for OEM means tied to hardware on one machine permanently.

There are a few things you can try:

1) All installers in Win7 - retail or OEM - are the same while the keys are version-specific. You can simply try inserting the key at Computer>Properties activation link. You have an unactivated Pro version installed and want to activate it as an OEM which is done by the key anyway.

2) If both are Pro versions 64 bit, then running an in-place Upgrade is a repair install. A repair install in Windows 7 is an Upgrade run from the desktop, which saves programs, files and settings in place while reinstalling the OS and reconfiguring the boot. It only requires re-activation afterwards.

Using your new OEM DVD, you can run repair/Upgrade and it should overwrite any possible coded version requirements so you can then insert your key. But I cannot foresee anything in the installation blocking use of an OEM key since OEM's themselves can be upgraded using retail as we have found here.

You might ask why some installers are version-specific if the WIn7 installer is the same for all versions. It is because of a file in the Sources folder called ei.cfg which if edited out makes a full version installer. The key then determines which version is installed, which is what makes an easy solution for you here possible, especially since you are staying same-version although it is OEM.

Others may have more specific solutions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2009   #7
SomeguyusingW7

w7
 
 

Hello all,

First I wanted to say thanks to everyone who posted helpful information in this thread. Secondily, I wanted to report that I was able to successfully authenticate my OEM key despite installing it from a MSDN/Retail disc 20+ days prior. All I did was go to properties and click on "change product key" and bingo, it was activated.

So thanks a ton and I guess you guys can use this for reference if anyone else asks. I'll probaby make an image of my system now, since it's running clean with no issues. I wonder if I reload an image if it requires me to authenticate the key again?

anyways, cheers
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2009   #8
gregrocker

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SomeguyusingW7 View Post
Hello all,

First I wanted to say thanks to everyone who posted helpful information in this thread. Secondily, I wanted to report that I was able to successfully authenticate my OEM key despite installing it from a MSDN/Retail disc 20+ days prior. All I did was go to properties and click on "change product key" and bingo, it was activated.

So thanks a ton and I guess you guys can use this for reference if anyone else asks. I'll probaby make an image of my system now, since it's running clean with no issues. I wonder if I reload an image if it requires me to authenticate the key again?

anyways, cheers
Reimaging should NOT trigger activation on the same hardware. There might be an issue with a replacement HD but normally HD is not enough of a single changeout to fail activation, just mobo.

I'd save WIn7 Backup image to a primary formatted partition on a secondary HD (or the same HD if that's all you've got) then copy to external. This way you are covered for HD or external failure.

Be sure to test the images by cueing up from the booted Win7 DVD Repair console>Recover Using an Image to make sure they are autodetected and are listed correctly on subsequent screens. Just don't click final Next unless your image is current to reimage.
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 Possibly unique situation? Retail disc + OEM key




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