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Problem with ACER vista COA OEM keys, says invalid? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm a computer technician and I've run into this issue on three different acers now. For some reason the product keys for windows vista (both home basic and premium, but it's probably not limited to those two) report themselves invalid. They won't be accepted by the all-versions OEM dvd, and they aren't accepted if you try adding the key after vista is installed.

    Now I've researched this problem extensively, and so far this is what I've found:

    1. Other people are having this problem with Acers.

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en/genuinevista/thread/438bc501-1433-4d15-ad2f-07da1300b9c2

    2. Nobody has actually found a solution.

    3. Acer claims they really do not care. I've had to lie to them repeatedly just to get in touch with a human, as their phone system has 30 different menus, all of which end in them curtly exclaiming "Good Bye" and hanging up. According to them, if the hardware is out of warranty they don't care that the license is invalid. They offer the suggestion of purchasing a recovery disc. Microsoft support has also offered only this solution. They have not yet explained why the OEM discs do not work with these OEM keys.

    4. I have used these OEM discs with HPs, Dells, Sonys, and Toshibas, without any issue of a rejected key. Only Acers are having a problem. This is a significant issue.

    Now as many people will point out, we could just get the recovery discs from acer for each computer. But that being said, it certainly doesn't address the following issues:

    1. Why the keys plainly do not work.

    2. Why we should spend more money on a product that has already been purchased. I didn't read any restriction on the EULA for acer that mentioned the key is only valid for the first year.

    I am posting this here as a last ditch effort. The best advice I've got so far for my acer clients (and they're starting to add up), is to consider a class action law suit.

    Please help! There must be a reason this is happening with ACERS only.

    Now Microsoft has claimed on more than one occasion that this is Acer's problem. I understand that ultimately it is most likely their responsibility. That being said, it is the microsoft product that we're having an issue with, and if I'm not mistaken, these product keys are issued by microsoft. I certainly take issue with both Acer and Microsoft with this problem. The posibility of Vista on a store bought machine being counterfeit is a disgusting idea, but the only conclusion I can come up with. Is Acer just making up keys as they go? Or does acer have their own build of windows, complete with their own binaries? This makes me uncomfortable just to consider that the copy of Windows Vista Home Premium is in fact not what was delivered, but instead a modified product.

    This does not bode well for either Acer or Microsoft. After getting the runaround from both, I'm getting very aggrivated.
    Wednesday, December 30, 2009 5:34 PM

Answers

  • Hello La Cucaracha,

    1. Other people are having this problem with Acers. http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en/genuinevista/thread/438bc501-1433-4d15-ad2f-07da1300b9c2.


    I did some looking and I do see a few issues where a a COA Product Key returns a Invalid message.  They do seem to be mostly Acer and they all appear to be when the user uses an Acer Product Key in non-Acer OEM Software

    1. Why the keys plainly do not work.


    No, at this point we know that Keys that come with Acer PCs don't seem to work in non-Acer OEM Software. 

    2. Why we should spend more money on a product that has already been purchased. I didn't read any restriction on the EULA for acer that mentioned the key is only valid for the first year.


     That PC did come with recovery software.  OEMs are required to provide Reinstall or Recovery software with the PCs they sell that came with Windows Pre-installed. Most OEM, now days, don't included it on a seperate CD, but on a partition on the PC's hard drive. Microsoft does not indicate in what form the software is to be provided, only that it is. 

      In this case, the only reason to have to spend more money is if you have lost or deleted that original recovery software. Some OEMs provide replacments for free (or just shipping cost) others charge. This is not something that Microsoft has any say in.

    No, unless the EULA states it, there is no restriction on the length of time a key is good.


    4. I have used these OEM discs with HPs, Dells, Sonys, and Toshibas, without any issue of a rejected key. Only Acers are having a problem. This is a significant issue.

    I do not know why it has worked in those cases, but my understanding is only the OEM Software from a particulat OEM is designed to work with the Product Key that came with a PC that came from that particular OEM.  Apparently mismatching the OEM software and keys sometimes works, but is not designed to.



    Here are a few options that I can see:

    1) If these laptops are recent purchases, and you don't like that their Product Keys will only work with the software that came with them, you may want to return them.

    2) Order Replacment software from Acer.

    3) Install another OS of your choice on the PCs (within the licensing terms for that OS, of course) Windows 7 is very nice, but whatever OS you choose, is completly up to you.

    4) There may be websites that contain images of the Acer Recovery software that may work for your needs. I can not recommend this option, however, since I have no way of knowing if the recovery software on these sites are modified in any nefarious way. But it is an option.


    I am very sorry I couldn't be more help,
    Darin MS
    • Marked as answer by Darin Smith MS Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:07 PM
    Thursday, December 31, 2009 10:57 PM

All replies

  • I suppose I should add that these computers have had their drives formatted or replaced, and are not currently in windows to run the genuine tool
    Wednesday, December 30, 2009 5:44 PM
  • Hello La Cucaracha,

    1. Other people are having this problem with Acers. http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en/genuinevista/thread/438bc501-1433-4d15-ad2f-07da1300b9c2.


    I did some looking and I do see a few issues where a a COA Product Key returns a Invalid message.  They do seem to be mostly Acer and they all appear to be when the user uses an Acer Product Key in non-Acer OEM Software

    1. Why the keys plainly do not work.


    No, at this point we know that Keys that come with Acer PCs don't seem to work in non-Acer OEM Software. 

    2. Why we should spend more money on a product that has already been purchased. I didn't read any restriction on the EULA for acer that mentioned the key is only valid for the first year.


     That PC did come with recovery software.  OEMs are required to provide Reinstall or Recovery software with the PCs they sell that came with Windows Pre-installed. Most OEM, now days, don't included it on a seperate CD, but on a partition on the PC's hard drive. Microsoft does not indicate in what form the software is to be provided, only that it is. 

      In this case, the only reason to have to spend more money is if you have lost or deleted that original recovery software. Some OEMs provide replacments for free (or just shipping cost) others charge. This is not something that Microsoft has any say in.

    No, unless the EULA states it, there is no restriction on the length of time a key is good.


    4. I have used these OEM discs with HPs, Dells, Sonys, and Toshibas, without any issue of a rejected key. Only Acers are having a problem. This is a significant issue.

    I do not know why it has worked in those cases, but my understanding is only the OEM Software from a particulat OEM is designed to work with the Product Key that came with a PC that came from that particular OEM.  Apparently mismatching the OEM software and keys sometimes works, but is not designed to.



    Here are a few options that I can see:

    1) If these laptops are recent purchases, and you don't like that their Product Keys will only work with the software that came with them, you may want to return them.

    2) Order Replacment software from Acer.

    3) Install another OS of your choice on the PCs (within the licensing terms for that OS, of course) Windows 7 is very nice, but whatever OS you choose, is completly up to you.

    4) There may be websites that contain images of the Acer Recovery software that may work for your needs. I can not recommend this option, however, since I have no way of knowing if the recovery software on these sites are modified in any nefarious way. But it is an option.


    I am very sorry I couldn't be more help,
    Darin MS
    • Marked as answer by Darin Smith MS Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:07 PM
    Thursday, December 31, 2009 10:57 PM
  • Thanks for your reply Darin!

    Is it safe to assume, then, that purchasing a computer from any company that claims to have windows vista pre - installed may actually have a modified version of windows? You mention that OEMs may provide a proprietary version of windows that only works with their keys, and I wonder then to what extent these changes may exist. I would prefer if acer, the hardware company, avoided muddling with software. It is clear if your assertion is correct, that acer has modified windows.

    Which brings me to the next point, if Acer has such an ability, may I have the source to modify my own copy of windows?

    I apologize, my last question was rhetorical,  snarky and curt! But as you can imagine, this is getting most frustrating for me.
    Monday, January 4, 2010 9:38 PM
  • I have got a asus computer that come with the windows vista basic installed in it when i parchist this lap top. I am also having the same problem with the product kay and it will not accsepted .This is a significant issuei have been trying to get to the bottem of issue for some time now and i am just getting no where in doing so i just keep getting the runaround from both, I'm getting very aggrivated my self with this problem. I have also tryed the same things as u have and it just dont work and i dont get any where also.
    Sunday, March 28, 2010 9:30 PM
  • Hi everyone just wanted to thow in a note that if you are looking to reformat or restore an acer pc you will need to go to the acer site they have a recovery program specific to each pc for download for free it pulls the key off the i386 folder, this should fix you problem. you just burn a iso image of this and boot from dvd.
    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 7:36 PM
  • Hi Erikscomputerrepair, could you you provide a link for this? I'm having the same problem. Cheers.
    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 9:17 PM
  • I am having the same problem with a gateway computer

     

    Sunday, April 4, 2010 3:36 PM
  • I am having the same problem with a gateway computer. will using the recovery software on my partitioned hard drive work with The COA key or would the oem key be needed

     

     

    Sunday, April 4, 2010 3:38 PM
  • I got my first issue, maybe two of them (acer's on the bench):( Why do M$ issue non valid oem software keys then??? whats the point on having them on the machine??

    My client had a complete hard drive failure, no restore/recovery disks... i've used proper oem software to reinstall but get thew same problem.

    Yes i agree where the manufacturer (in this case Acer), but they cant be responsible for the CEO, which is on the cases just for such cases!!!

    It just beggers belief. Especially if it is not a one of problem, why doesnt M$ allow manual activatio/verification because i bet my clien would love to approach Acer about their X1300 and tell Acer their fencing fake licences/CEO's....

    Possible solution: to find which version the key is linked with! maybe they were printed for xp, or vista basic or even for in-house only... we dont know.

    Mealwhile do i have to charge my client for another licence they shouldnt need?????

    STeve

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:14 PM
  • Hi

    I've had a couple of acer's in my self, with HD failures. Fixed both of them after doing a lot of googling n reading.

    Not sure how much i can say here, but you need to google "vista oem slp keys".

    Vista is installed using a oem slp key, not the coa key that on the back. There's also a oem certificate that need to be installed with the slp key so windows can be activated. If you don't install the certificate, you can't activate windows.

    Once you find the correct forum, the main page of interest is page 1, and 22

    Hope that helps

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010 3:01 PM
  • "Atarian" wrote in message news:c5c385be-a430-4916-9aac-623f15796a6e...

    I got my first issue, maybe two of them (acer's on the bench):( Why do M$ issue non valid oem software keys then??? whats the point on having them on the machine??

     


    Keys start out valid - then some idiot publishes them on the web, and 30,000 people end up using that key illegally - what do you expect MS to do? ignore it? get real!.
    They block the Key, and introduce check-systems to protect their intellectual property, same as you would do.
     

    --
     

    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Wednesday, June 9, 2010 5:21 PM
    Moderator
  • "Madrichie" wrote in message news:2199a920-33ef-4071-97a0-566f0cd8b341...

    you find the correct forum, the main page of interest is page 1, and 22

    Hope that helps


    ....and tomorrow, it'll be page 1 and page 48 - or page 20, and page 92.... give links, not numbers!

    --
     

    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Wednesday, June 9, 2010 5:23 PM
    Moderator
  • Keys start out valid - then some idiot publishes them on the web, and 30,000 people end up using that key illegally - what do you expect MS to do? ignore it? get real!.
    They block the Key, and introduce check-systems to protect their intellectual property, same as you would do.
     

    I totally agree, that's why you must install the correct certificate on the manufactures laptops it was issued to.  If you use the certificate on a different manufacture, it will fail to activate.

    OEM SLP Product Keys activation:
    You need is an OEM SLP Product Key that matches the version of Windows Vista you have installed or are going to install.
    (Home Basic, Home Premium, Business or Ultimate), plus the OEM certificate matching the SLIC table found in the BIOS

    The OEM SLP Product Key does not have to match the OEM-brand certificate nor the OEM-brand BIOS ACPI_SLIC information.
    (The only ones that need to match are the OEM-brand certificate and the OEM-brand BIOS ACPI_SLIC information.)


    i.e.: A+B+C = Vista Activated Offline
    OEM SLP Key + OEM Certificate + Full SLIC Table = Vista Activated Offline
    If one (A,B or C) is missing, activation will fail!

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010 6:57 PM

  • ....and tomorrow, it'll be page 1 and page 48 - or page 20, and page 92.... give links, not numbers!

    --
     

    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth


    It has been on those same pages for the last 14 months !!!!!!

    I'm 99% sure posting a link directly to the forum breaks the 'these' forum rules !!!!!!

    Google "vista oem slp keys", and it should be at the top of the list

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010 7:01 PM
  • Depends on the situation. If you do not have an active partition anymore (means preloaded with acer bloatware to make your own restore disks) means that either you do not have the recover disks with a formatted or a new hard drive just get hold of like ubuntu or linux mint. Both of them are free operating systems! No need to spend extra money. When I bought my acer it came with a partition and a software to create a perminet recovery disks because I knew that I wanted to upgrade the system to a faster and bigger hard drive. Because the acer was on sale a 899.99 computer for 499.99 I did not mind spending the 24 dollars for the extra back up disks. I got two copies now my home brew and genuine acer recovery disks. The thing is when you get the disks make sure that you have still acer warranty! Because like any other company stated to me was that if you do not have their warranty you are ____ out of luck. They will not replace the disks nor send you new ones or even help out with a faulty key unless you call the famous "microsoft" pay-per-incident  number. The bast way if you do not have the partition nor can get hold of acer or microsoft use Linux Mint or Ubuntu on them. There are a lot of free tech support out there and people will help you out a lot to write your own codes if the time shall arrise! Also I forgot to add is that OEM keys are sold to computer manufacturers and not warranted by Microsoft throu their OEM user agreement which means that a person needs to call the computer manufacturer instead microsoft. Microsoft only provides help for the retail key and not the OEM key!
    Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:12 AM
  • "The OEM SLP Product Key does not have to match the OEM-brand certificate nor the OEM-brand BIOS ACPI_SLIC information.
    (The only ones that need to match are the OEM-brand certificate and the OEM-brand BIOS ACPI_SLIC information.)"

    I think you're confused here

    The OEM_SLP Key requires a matching BIOS SLIC table

    The COA_SLP Key does not - nor does it require anything else except a phone call to MS to verify that it's installed on a valid system.

    To quote Darin....

    Computers, which are built by large manufactures that come with Windows Pre-Installed, come with two (2) Product Keys:

    A)   OEM SLP: This key comes pre-installed in Windows, when it comes from the Factory. This key is geared to work with the OEM Bios Flag found only on that Manufacturer's computer hardware. So when Windows was installed using the OEM SLP key (at the factory) Windows looks at the motherboard and sees the proper OEM Bios Flag (for that Manufacturer and that version of Windows) and Self-Activates. (that's why you did not need to Activate your computer after you brought it home)

     

    B)    COA SLP: This is the Product key that you see on the sticker on the side (or bottom) of your computer. It is a valid product key, but should only be used in limited situations (sush as if the OEM SLP key stops self-activating for whatever reason). The key must be activated by Phone. (Note: All manufacturers that use the OEM SLP system are required by contract to include a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) sticker, that has a COA SLP key, on the computer)

     


    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:17 PM
    Moderator
  • After reading your post I'm very annoyed as I'm having a problem with my recovery disks, my computer is saying they are invalid but I've used them before and they've been fine! I also have the original disks for my windows 7 upgrade and it's also saying that's invalid!

    The two companies are a disgrace!! That's how they get out of it too, if there are more than one company involved they can just blame each other and none has to own up.

     

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010 1:01 PM
  • Let me try and explain your situation to you - see if I have it right.

    You have a manufacturers set of recovery disks that came with your computer.

    You have attempted to reinstall the OS from them. This has failed for some reason - you don't say what the error message is, but I'll guess that it was something like 'Windows has determined that the Key for this installation is Invalid' - or perhaps 'This Key is already in use', if you used the COA Key for installation.

    You also attempted to use a Win 7 Upgrade disk to reinstall your system - and the Key was rejected... probably with an error message along the lines of 'The Windows Key cannot be used for this installation'.

    An Upgrade disk cannot be used to clean-install the OS, except from a working and validated previous OS (there are workarounds - more later), so you need to first get the (presumably) Vista recovery disks to work.

    Have you read the manual that came with your computer? Quite often, the procedure to use the recovery disks varies depending on whether they have been used before or not (you don't say who the OEM was, so I have no clue whether yours is one of these). Are you sure the disks are clean and scratch-free, and are actually the disks that came with the PC involved?

    Usually, booting to Disk 1 of the recovery set will start the process - or you may be able to start it from within Windows if you have a working installation.

    What EXACT error messages do you get - and where in the installation process? Are these errors related to Activation, or to general installation problems?

    Have you changed any hardware on the machine since you bought it? Have you unplugged any external hardware (printers, scanners, USB hubs, etc.) when attempting the install?

    If the hardware is still the same, and no external devices are connected, then it may be worth checking hte internal hardwre using software tool such as MemTest86+ and the HD manufacturer's test utility.

    If all checks out, and the recovery disks still do not work, and you haven't installed/changed hardware, then you can try a clean install with the Win 7 Upgrade disk - look here for details http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/clean_install_upgrade_media.asp

    Note that you MUST have a valid license for the orignal qualifying OS before using that workaround, or your installation will be non-legal. Again - if you get error messages during the install, make a not of the EXACT message, and then post back with it.

    Please note that for assistance with installation, you should post your experiences to teh proper forum - the Win 7 or Win Vista Installation/Upgrade/Activation forums, rather than to this forum, which is supposed to deal only with Activation and Validation problems.

    http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/vistainstall/threads

    http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7install/threads

    Hopefully the abpove will get you on your way with a clean install.


    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Sunday, November 28, 2010 11:42 AM
    Moderator
  • I was having this exact same problem with an Acer Aspire that needed rebuilding.  I dug out my trusty Vista OEM disc which has worked for so many other repairs I've done and it rejected the key I entered, despite checking it several times.  So I performed the installation without a key, and made sure I chose the correct version of Vista that the licence was for.

    Once installed, I went to the System panel and clicked the link to change the product key.  I entered the key from the label as before (the one that was rejected) and it went in and activated with no problems whatsoever.

    This might not be the ideal way of doing this, but it certainly got me out of a hole!

    Thursday, December 1, 2011 3:50 PM
  • "Lee Dodgson" wrote in message news:15635374-2283-4051-be6b-05f22d2e007c...

    I was having this exact same problem with an Acer Aspire that needed rebuilding.  I dug out my trusty Vista OEM disc which has worked for so many other repairs I've done and it rejected the key I entered, despite checking it several times.  So I performed the installation without a key, and made sure I chose the correct version of Vista that the licence was for.

    Once installed, I went to the System panel and clicked the link to change the product key.  I entered the key from the label as before (the one that was rejected) and it went in and activated with no problems whatsoever.

    This might not be the ideal way of doing this, but it certainly got me out of a hole!

    Please start a new thread, and post an MGADiag report – then we can see the results that you’ve achieved.
     

    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Thursday, December 1, 2011 7:40 PM
    Moderator
  • I have the same problem. My machine return invalid product key for activation.

    I have Acer original recover disk (1&2) and system disk (1,2) The system was re-installed using those disk a few months ago after virus.

    First my sound failed and then I get this message. 

    I have uninstalled all Acer's tools right after installation to improve performance. This could the issues?

    Any way, I have used computers since Atari to now with many different  manufactures (Dells, Toshiba, Hp, IBM Thinkpads, to Tablets pc) for my business and personal use. I am very disappointing with ACERS quality. I have 1 laptop and 1 one desktop from ACERS to try out because of price reason. Both have problems with hardware and software. I guess, you get what you pay for.   


    Tuesday, September 24, 2013 12:13 AM
  • If you want to try to solve your problem, please follow Noel's suggestion in the previous post - start your own new thread with your own MGADiag report.  For information on how to do that, please read this.
    Tuesday, September 24, 2013 2:11 PM