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Trying to reinstall, but activation key blurred RRS feed

  • Question

  • My son brought me his laptop this weekend saying that a virus had killed Windows 7 Home Premium. I killed the virus (hooray for AVG bootable rescue CD) but not a single one of the system restore points works. So I copied off all his personal files and downloaded an ISO from MSDN, since the fly-by-night company he got the laptop from apparently did not supply any kind of recovery or install media. My problem is with the activation key. This is printed on a sticker underneath his laptop... but two years of heavy use have made two of the digits unreadable. I was able to boot the CD to a repair console and ran REG.EXE to query the product key... and although the rest of the contents of hklm/software/microsoft/windows nt/ seem to be present, ProductKey came up empty. Is there any other way I can find/recover the product key from an unbootable system, or is this going to be a $120 lesson for him in finding better vendors?
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 6:20 PM

Answers

  • Most major PC manufacturers that preinstall Windows 7 at the factory use a special image and a master product key.  That master product key cannot be used with any other installation media.  The only way to solve your product key issue would be to contact the manufacturer of the PC and ask them for assistance.
    Carey Frisch
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 6:53 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Most major PC manufacturers that preinstall Windows 7 at the factory use a special image and a master product key.  That master product key cannot be used with any other installation media.  The only way to solve your product key issue would be to contact the manufacturer of the PC and ask them for assistance.
    Carey Frisch
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 6:53 PM
    Moderator
  • "Peter B. Steiger" wrote in message news:2d1c2e60-0f27-475d-985b-862d2d845ea1...
    My son brought me his laptop this weekend saying that a virus had killed Windows 7 Home Premium. I killed the virus (hooray for AVG bootable rescue CD) but not a single one of the system restore points works. So I copied off all his personal files and downloaded an ISO from MSDN, since the fly-by-night company he got the laptop from apparently did not supply any kind of recovery or install media. My problem is with the activation key. This is printed on a sticker underneath his laptop... but two years of heavy use have made two of the digits unreadable. I was able to boot the CD to a repair console and ran REG.EXE to query the product key... and although the rest of the contents of hklm/software/microsoft/windows nt/ seem to be present, ProductKey came up empty. Is there any other way I can find/recover the product key from an unbootable system, or is this going to be a $120 lesson for him in finding better vendors?

    EVERY PC has a Recovery System - you appear not to have used the one available to you on this PC.
    Your having used the disk from a download is almost certain to have done two things.....
    1) break the Licensing rules
    2) failed to have installed all the correct drivers and software from the manufacturer.
    This WILL lead to problems.
     
    You need to contact the original manufacturer, and order a set of Recovery disks for that machine, and then use that for a reinstall/reformat - this almost never requires the input of a Key, as this is supplied by the manufacturer. It DOES however, mean reformatting the system, so back up all user data first!
     
     

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    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 9:32 PM
    Moderator
  • {shrug} He swears that the laptop did not come with any recovery disks, so I don't know how to respond to that. I know he was at army training and the package was delivered to him on base. Or maybe there's a recovery option built into the BIOS... I guess it wouldn't hurt to look there first. And yeah, the first thing I did was back up all his personal data onto my Linux server until he can get his laptop sorted out.
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 9:42 PM
  • "Peter B. Steiger" wrote in message news:c47c4655-86e8-420f-84a7-6d7bc13bd41f...
    {shrug} He swears that the laptop did not come with any recovery disks, so I don't know how to respond to that. I know he was at army training and the package was delivered to him on base. Or maybe there's a recovery option built into the BIOS... I guess it wouldn't hurt to look there first. And yeah, the first thing I did was back up all his personal data onto my Linux server until he can get his laptop sorted out.

    MOST machines come with no Recovery disks - the user is expected to read the manual and follow the instructions to make them!  (and we all know what happens in such cases<g>)
     
    One of the problems is that having installed from an alternative disk, you may have damaged, or removed the Recovery partition.
     
    Hopefully, a good look at the User Manual for the PC concerned will tell you which boot shortcut may access the recovery partition and allow proper installation of the software involved.
    NOTE hat whatever Anti-Virus is installed after that will be NON-functional in any meaningful sense - and you will need to uninstall it, run the relevant Removal Tool, and then install you choice of AV (AVOID the likes of Norton and McAfee - almost anything is both better, and less expensive in the log run).

    --


    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 10:51 PM
    Moderator
  • If you could provide the specific make and model number of the laptop, we could better assist you.
    Carey Frisch
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 10:54 PM
    Moderator
  • I have the same exact problem. My laptop is HP Pavilon dv4. Operating system is Windows 7 Home Premium.
    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 9:10 PM
  • Please Contact HP Customer Service for assistance.  Thank you!

    Carey Frisch

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:10 PM
    Moderator