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Windows 7: Can't (re)activate Win 7 Pro on Dell laptop

08 Nov 2016   #11

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1

I had the same problem with the A17 BIOS ("computer BIOS missing a required license") so probably no point in going backwards there... Looks like I shot myself in the foot buying a Dell, or at least a used laptop with an unknown (or OEM) install without an original Windows disc Don't know how they activated this copy of Pro on the previous hardware, though...

Are you positive I can't take another (blank) hard drive, or the one I have with the "not genuine" Pro, and use the Dell Reinstall disc to install a version that I can activate?

I looked in the closet and also have an original XP Home disc (in fact it's the last version of Windows I actually purchased new) which is no longer in use. Is there anything I can do with it (besides use it as a drink coaster)?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2016   #12

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit sp1

Apparently the Dell Latitude D630 was originally released in 2007 & came with Windows XP installed. Later versions may have had Windows Vista installed.

This probably does not help but it gives some background to work with.

I notice in your diagnostic report it shows the BIOS date as 2013, so this could be a problem with activation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2016   #13

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1

You are right - in my original post I noted that my "old" D630 had a COA showing Vista, but the "new" replacement was shipped with XP.

Activation problems were the same when I had the older BIOS (A17). The problem appears to be with the OEM key and licensing scheme. Unless I can do something with the Reinstall disc, I'm basically resigned to the "not genuine" nag.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Nov 2016   #14

Windows 7/8.1/10/XP multiboot


Your BIOS version has nothing to do with it. Both the A17 and A19 versions will have the same problem. The following details may help you understand how Dell-branded Reinstallation DVDs work.

A Dell-branded Reinstallation disc for XP/Vista/7 is essentially identical to a Microsoft-branded retail DVD. It does not install any crapware or custom Dell "tweaks", other than perhaps a web shortcut to Dell Help and Support. (There may be optional Applications discs and a Drivers and Utilities disc, but that's beside the point. I'm talking about just the OS Reinstallation disc here.) Being identical to a retail disc means that it also does not install any Dell drivers. Any necessary Dell drivers must be installed separately, regardless of whether you are using a retail disc or a Dell disc.

The only real difference between a Dell disc and a Microsoft retail disc is the Dell disc is altered to activate via a SLIC/SLP BIOS. The product key is embedded in the Dell Reinstallation disc, and if that disc is installed on a computer with a genuine Dell BIOS of the requisite SLP version, it will automatically be activated without contacting Microsoft and without prompting you to enter a key.

Dell's Reinstallation DVDs are universal and not tied to one machine or even one model line. The COA sticker is what gives you the legal right to install that OS, not the mere possession of the DVD or the OEM key embedded in the OS.

When installing from a Dell Reinstallation DVD, the installation routine looks for a SLIC/SLP BIOS in order to automatically activate. Installing Vista from a Dell DVD requires a SLIC 2.0 BIOS, while installing Win7 from a Dell DVD requires a SLIC 2.1 BIOS.

Your Dell Reinstallation DVD will not activate on your D630 because A19 is a SLIC 2.0 BIOS. Dell only shipped the D630 with XP or Vista, so the A19 BIOS contained a v2.0 SLIC table. Dell never shipped the D630 with Win7, so there was no reason for Dell to upgrade the BIOS to a 2.1 SLIC version.

FWIW, there are SLIC 2.1 BIOS updates available on the internet if you search hard enough for them--there was a whole cottage industry that developed around taking OEM BIOS updaters and hacking them to embed v2.1 tables instead of 2.0. But since that way of using a Dell Reinstallation DVD isn't strictly legal, I think any further help is beyond the scope of this forum.

As for product keys, note the key on the COA sticker is unrelated to the key installed by a Dell Reinstallation disc. The product keys embedded in the disc are not unique--in fact, practically every Dell shipped, within a given Windows version and edition, will have the same key or keys (a few editions used a couple different keys). That is the key you will discover if you use something like Magic Jelly Bean.

However, that is not the same as the key on the COA sticker on the chassis. Those stickers are always unique, and they are never the same as the OEM key embedded in the Reinstallation disc.

(FTR, ***-PW487 is not one of Dell's OEM keys. It's possibly a retail key, which would have worked with a retail DVD but will not work with a Dell DVD.)

If you want to recover and use the installed product key, I think you'll probably need to call Microsoft or reinstall with a retail DVD. If you want to install from the Dell Reinstallation DVD, you're on your own to find and install a SLIC 2.1 Dell BIOS first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2016   #15

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1

thank you DG, that was very educational. Now I have a better idea of how the process works (or should work).

A quick Google search immediately came up with the suggested SLIC 2.1 BIOS A19 for D630 in a rar file! I'm a bit nervous about possibly bricking my system though. Definitely will wait until I have imaged my HD (to another HD) before attempting this. Still beats paying triple-digits for a new copy of Win 7 Pro though... especially since I had an apparently legal copy in the first place!

OTOH I could always just ignore the nag, and I don't need a desktop background. I disabled the update service some time ago when I discovered that M$ was forcing gigs of Win10 download onto my machine even though I had declined the "upgrade". That's not cool.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2016   #16

Windows 7 64 Home Premium

Been through a similar experience after an HDD crash. In my case COA was unreadable (OEM key on original install). I'd read about trying to get MS to provide a replacement key with evidence etc.

I spent 2 hours (no exaggeration) on chat with MS support going round in circles with them even accessing the system to discover what I'd already told them (OEM key no use). and lying to me about having looked at the photo I sent of the COA sticker.

They eventually said "nothing we can do, speak to Acer". Of course Acer said "nothing we can do, speak to MS".

Anyway - the point of the tale is that instead of using my completely legitimately purchased software I went down the legal (I think) but grey area of getting a refurbished system key online. It cost me about 6. Used a Win7 disk I already had and activated online fine that way.

Might be worth considering rather than trying to go the "right way" when MS offer no help that route.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2016   #17

W7 home premium 32bit/W7HP 64bit/w10 tp insider ring

What is strange here
Standard Retail keys DO NOT require a slic table to be present, irrelevant off the manufacturer, whoever they are!.

Thats why i said the Mgadiag report was reporting inconsistancies.

The fly in the ointment is however the info i was working with,
I updated Vista to W7,
Now when this is achieved using the standard Windows update process a Retail indicator shows in the report and not an OEM type licence, and a specific OGA indicator.

MS will NOT VALIDATE a W7 clean install if it was >>ORIGINALLY Vista then upgraded<<
You have to start with Vista again and then use the upgrade option to get to W7 using the upgrade key that was purchased.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Can't (re)activate Win 7 Pro on Dell laptop

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