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Gateway OEM system. Damaged product key sticker, no recovery media. Any pointers?

    Question

  • Hi all

    The goal is to install the operating system licensed for use on this computer. The system has no recovery media with it, and no recovery partition. It is out of warranty. Current status: I have tried a couple OEM-type discs from a few places and none is picking up the fact this system has the SLIC feature.

    Here's the situation. I have a Gateway (Acer, due to how recent it is) laptop that shipped with Vista Home Premium (pre-service packs). It has an intact product key label, however because of the idiotic place manufacturers put these labels (the bottom of the computer, rather than inside the hard drive access cover or something similarly logical) parts of the product key have worn off. It can be mostly figured out but not fully. Because this is an OEM system, it has the ACPI SLIC feature, or I can only hope it does, and so entry of that key is not even supposed to be necessary when the correct install media is used. I have come up with a few possible forms the key could take, but when you shuffle them around, there are literally hundreds of possibilities.

    If I am understanding correctly, any OEM version of a Vista install disc, 32 or 64 bit, so long as it is able to install Home Premium, with or without any service packs should work. Is this correct?

    I would contact Gateway (again), but anyone who thinks this is a reasonable or logical approach has not tried to contact Gateway or the parent company Acer. It is truly a hopeless endeavour, and when the MS people on the activation line tell you to call the OEM, they really aren't realizing what sort of experience they are sending the end user in for. I think the fact that I can provide parts of the key should be enough for the MS line to give out a new key, but they seem to disagree.

    Is there possibly a MS employee watching these forums who is able/willing to assist? I am not trying to pirate the software and just want to make use of the license this computer was granted. Given the scenario with Gateway support, it is literally impossible to obtain proper recovery media from them for any cost. Dell, on the other hand, you can find OEM copies via torrent and since all OEM keys are supposedly interchangeable and I have a license, it doesn't matter how the software is obtained since a license to use it exists.

    Any pointers? Much appreciated.

    Also, a side note that nobody will ever read: MS should be refusing to license computers where the product key label is to be located somewhere that it can be damaged. It should be placed inside of the computer under one of the existing access panels.


    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 6:42 AM

Answers

  • "activation_questions" wrote in message news:813f1faa-dcac-4479-a111-83c26cbdad59...

    Hi all

    The goal is to install the operating system licensed for use on this computer. The system has no recovery media with it, and no recovery partition. It is out of warranty. Current status: I have tried a couple OEM-type discs from a few places and none is picking up the fact this system has the SLIC feature.

    Here's the situation. I have a Gateway (Acer, due to how recent it is) laptop that shipped with Vista Home Premium (pre-service packs). It has an intact product key label, however because of the idiotic place manufacturers put these labels (the bottom of the computer, rather than inside the hard drive access cover or something similarly logical) parts of the product key have worn off. It can be mostly figured out but not fully. Because this is an OEM system, it has the ACPI SLIC feature, or I can only hope it does, and so entry of that key is not even supposed to be necessary when the correct install media is used. I have come up with a few possible forms the key could take, but when you shuffle them around, there are literally hundreds of possibilities.

    If I am understanding correctly, any OEM version of a Vista install disc, 32 or 64 bit, so long as it is able to install Home Premium, with or without any service packs should work. Is this correct?

    I would contact Gateway (again), but anyone who thinks this is a reasonable or logical approach has not tried to contact Gateway or the parent company Acer. It is truly a hopeless endeavour, and when the MS people on the activation line tell you to call the OEM, they really aren't realizing what sort of experience they are sending the end user in for. I think the fact that I can provide parts of the key should be enough for the MS line to give out a new key, but they seem to disagree.

    Is there possibly a MS employee watching these forums who is able/willing to assist? I am not trying to pirate the software and just want to make use of the license this computer was granted. Given the scenario with Gateway support, it is literally impossible to obtain proper recovery media from them for any cost. Dell, on the other hand, you can find OEM copies via torrent and since all OEM keys are supposedly interchangeable and I have a license, it doesn't matter how the software is obtained since a license to use it exists.

    Any pointers? Much appreciated.

    Also, a side note that nobody will ever read: MS should be refusing to license computers where the product key label is to be located somewhere that it can be damaged. It should be placed inside of the computer under one of the existing access panels.


     
     
     
    To be able to use the SLIC for activation purposes, you MUST use the correct manufacturer’s Recovery disk set for the machine – it’s only that disk which has the proper certificates in place which match those in the SLIC table and allow self-activation.
     
    For ANY other disk set you must use the COA Key from the sticker – which you say is unreadable. Neither MS nor the OEM keep records of which Key is attached to which machine, and it’s not possible usually for anyone in MS to check a partial Key unless it’s accompanied by other data – which in turn would require it to be installed on a machine in the first place.
     
    Have you attempted to purchase a set of recovery disks from Gateway? You could try alternative sources such as restoredisks.com but Check whether their disks include the appropriate files before purchase.
     
    If you cannot acquire a set of recovery disks, and the sticker Key is truly unreadable, then your only option is to purchase a new Full Retail license for Windows – in which case I would suggest purchasing Win7, as it’s almost certain to be compatible with the system, but check the Gateway site for drivers first.
     

    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    • Marked as answer by Darin Smith MS Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:40 PM
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 11:23 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • "activation_questions" wrote in message news:813f1faa-dcac-4479-a111-83c26cbdad59...

    Hi all

    The goal is to install the operating system licensed for use on this computer. The system has no recovery media with it, and no recovery partition. It is out of warranty. Current status: I have tried a couple OEM-type discs from a few places and none is picking up the fact this system has the SLIC feature.

    Here's the situation. I have a Gateway (Acer, due to how recent it is) laptop that shipped with Vista Home Premium (pre-service packs). It has an intact product key label, however because of the idiotic place manufacturers put these labels (the bottom of the computer, rather than inside the hard drive access cover or something similarly logical) parts of the product key have worn off. It can be mostly figured out but not fully. Because this is an OEM system, it has the ACPI SLIC feature, or I can only hope it does, and so entry of that key is not even supposed to be necessary when the correct install media is used. I have come up with a few possible forms the key could take, but when you shuffle them around, there are literally hundreds of possibilities.

    If I am understanding correctly, any OEM version of a Vista install disc, 32 or 64 bit, so long as it is able to install Home Premium, with or without any service packs should work. Is this correct?

    I would contact Gateway (again), but anyone who thinks this is a reasonable or logical approach has not tried to contact Gateway or the parent company Acer. It is truly a hopeless endeavour, and when the MS people on the activation line tell you to call the OEM, they really aren't realizing what sort of experience they are sending the end user in for. I think the fact that I can provide parts of the key should be enough for the MS line to give out a new key, but they seem to disagree.

    Is there possibly a MS employee watching these forums who is able/willing to assist? I am not trying to pirate the software and just want to make use of the license this computer was granted. Given the scenario with Gateway support, it is literally impossible to obtain proper recovery media from them for any cost. Dell, on the other hand, you can find OEM copies via torrent and since all OEM keys are supposedly interchangeable and I have a license, it doesn't matter how the software is obtained since a license to use it exists.

    Any pointers? Much appreciated.

    Also, a side note that nobody will ever read: MS should be refusing to license computers where the product key label is to be located somewhere that it can be damaged. It should be placed inside of the computer under one of the existing access panels.


     
     
     
    To be able to use the SLIC for activation purposes, you MUST use the correct manufacturer’s Recovery disk set for the machine – it’s only that disk which has the proper certificates in place which match those in the SLIC table and allow self-activation.
     
    For ANY other disk set you must use the COA Key from the sticker – which you say is unreadable. Neither MS nor the OEM keep records of which Key is attached to which machine, and it’s not possible usually for anyone in MS to check a partial Key unless it’s accompanied by other data – which in turn would require it to be installed on a machine in the first place.
     
    Have you attempted to purchase a set of recovery disks from Gateway? You could try alternative sources such as restoredisks.com but Check whether their disks include the appropriate files before purchase.
     
    If you cannot acquire a set of recovery disks, and the sticker Key is truly unreadable, then your only option is to purchase a new Full Retail license for Windows – in which case I would suggest purchasing Win7, as it’s almost certain to be compatible with the system, but check the Gateway site for drivers first.
     

    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    • Marked as answer by Darin Smith MS Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:40 PM
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 11:23 AM
    Moderator
  • Contacting Gateway is not a straightforward process. Telephone contact is not available via a toll free number, and they won't even direct you to a representative without an in-warranty serial number available. Online chat doesn't go well either: after four attempts, two representatives said it was not possible to purchase recovery media for an out of warranty computer, one said Gateway does not stock recovery media for any computers and that nobody does, and the remaining one referred me to MS on account of the sticker belonging to MS...

    I will never buy a Gateway (or related on a corporate level) product myself: this is actually my friend's system that I'm working on for him, and the experiences he had while IN warranty were depressing enough. That's a story for somewhere else, but the point is, Gateway is not a customer service-oriented company, and they don't provide facilities for answering questions. I should not have to pay for the privilige of asking someone how much I should pay for recovery media (something I'd be willing to do: I'll pay for the media, but paying for a license isn't right as there already is a license)

    So, in order to use SLIC activation, a Gateway-specific (or perhaps Acer or eMachines) recovery disc would be needed. Reasonable enough, and accepted.

    Let's say I am able to figure out what the key sticker says. Will this now be accepted by a wider variety of OEM disks, or is that key still going to need a brand-specific disc?

    Win7 is the direction I'd go if it was zero cost: this computer is truly junk, the aforementioned friend just wants it in working condition. After I fixed some of the things Gateway support did to it while it was in for service once in the past, we got to the blank hard drive and this is where we are now.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 3:44 PM
  • "activation_questions" wrote in message news:aee1ba5f-4264-4ab0-a84f-88c70f934577...

    Contacting Gateway is not a straightforward process. Telephone contact is not available via a toll free number, and they won't even direct you to a representative without an in-warranty serial number available. Online chat doesn't go well either: after four attempts, two representatives said it was not possible to purchase recovery media for an out of warranty computer, one said Gateway does not stock recovery media for any computers and that nobody does, and the remaining one referred me to MS on account of the sticker belonging to MS...

    I will never buy a Gateway (or related on a corporate level) product myself: this is actually my friend's system that I'm working on for him, and the experiences he had while IN warranty were depressing enough. That's a story for somewhere else, but the point is, Gateway is not a customer service-oriented company, and they don't provide facilities for answering questions. I should not have to pay for the privilige of asking someone how much I should pay for recovery media (something I'd be willing to do: I'll pay for the media, but paying for a license isn't right as there already is a license)

    So, in order to use SLIC activation, a Gateway-specific (or perhaps Acer or eMachines) recovery disc would be needed. Reasonable enough, and accepted.

    Let's say I am able to figure out what the key sticker says. Will this now be accepted by a wider variety of OEM disks, or is that key still going to need a brand-specific disc?

    Win7 is the direction I'd go if it was zero cost: this computer is truly junk, the aforementioned friend just wants it in working condition. After I fixed some of the things Gateway support did to it while it was in for service once in the past, we got to the blank hard drive and this is where we are now.

     
    Many years ago (1990’s), I bought Gateways, and the Customer Service was excellent – but that was before they went bust a couple of times and eventually ended up in the hands of Acer. It sounds as if they have truly gone into the cr*pper with customer service since then:(
     
    Try restoredisks.com or similar companies – but be aware that there are many that are none too picky about what they are selling!
     
    If you can figure out what the COA sticker says, you can use any Retail disk for Vista for the install (You can even download the ISO from Digital River – search  for the links). You could then download any required drivers from the Gateway site for the machine.
     
    Unfortunately there is no zero-cost option for upgrading to Win7 – you theoretically could get away with an Upgrade rather than a Full Retail, but I would suggest that the better value would be the Full version, as that would be transferable to a new m/c without an OS when this one dies.
     
     
     
     
     

    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 4:01 PM
    Moderator
  • Yes, my understanding is also that Gateway was once a fine company...

    I have bypassed this issue through another method because I tried numerous discs that should have matched up with the Gateway SLIC 2.0 table that was present in the ACPI tables without success...but thank you for your input. I agree with the user/moderator who marked your reply as the answer.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012 7:39 AM
  • Did you try utilizing the Gateway Recovery Media Purchase Program web site?
    Carey Frisch
    Sunday, January 15, 2012 4:43 PM
    Moderator
  • Not meaning to 'bump' something that is now old news, but thanks for the link. However, I have found it before.

    Gateway and parent Acer both changed the format of their SNIDs at some point in the past (similar complaints of this can be found online; for whatever reason some models or series of numbers just don't upconvert). There is no number on any label on the computer that is accepted as a valid SNID by that form, and unlike the COA sticker, all other labels are very much intact. Logical conclusion is to call them...but they've done a pretty decent job discouraging that with it being a non-toll-free number. Might be reasonable if they were going to pick up instantly and be able to help within 5-10 minutes, but neither of those is true.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:26 AM