BSOD - How do I retrieve Windows Key from an old SSD drive?

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  1. Posts : 5
    Windows 11
       #1

    BSOD - How do I retrieve Windows Key from an old SSD drive?


    My 11 year old computer will not boot due to "Bad System Config Info". I've tried System Restore, tried Resetting This PC, tried restarting in safe mode but no joy. I have just completed a new pc build with an Intel i7 13700 and a Z790 motherboard and would like to install Windows 11 on to it. How do I retrieve the Windows 10 product key? It is on a 2.5" sata SSD and I have a SSD external enclosure that I have used to gain access to my non-Windows files using a laptop.

    And if I can retrieve the W10 key, can I use it to upgrade to W11? Do I install W11 on the new machine and use the W10 product key? or must I install W10 first, activate it and then upgrade to W11?
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 17,015
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.4170
       #2

    The Key is not on the drive. Your Windows 10 activation was saved along with a hardware identification signature on MS's activation servers.
    If you still have a 'Retail' Windows 7 product Key from the Certificate of authenticity label of a Windows 7 computer, you could use that to activate Windows 10 on your new computer and then upgrade it to Windows 11 afterwards.

    [If your were re-installing onto the same computer then, assuming that, like almost all of us, your Windows is activated 'with a digital licence' then you just skip entering anything during a clean install onto the same computer and the OS will re-activate as soon as you next go online without any action on your part at all.]

    All the best,
    Denis
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 17,015
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.4170
       #3

    You might also like to see this thread since Windows 10 & 11 licensing seem to be quite similar.
    Can I install W11 to a new build machine and use my old W10 key? - ElevenForum
    especially
    post #9 by NavyLCDR
    post #6 by Marcus


    All the best,
    Denis
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 5
    Windows 11
    Thread Starter
       #4

    I was able to get what I think is the key using a program called ShowKeyPlus which found a OEM key and an 'installed' key. They are different.

    The asterisk says it requires a digital licence for activation. Does this mean I can install W11 - indicate I do NOT have a activation key - and then activate it by signing in to Windows?

    OR, must I install W10 and use the key to activate it and then obtain a digital license?

    BSOD - How do I retrieve Windows Key from an old SSD drive?-windows-10-key-old-pc-2.jpg
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 4,637
    several
       #5

    win11 should pick it up when you go online. no need to install win10 first. It will have to be the equivalent edition of win11.
      My Computer


  6. Posts : 6,410
    Windows 11 Pro - Windows 7 HP - Lubuntu
       #6

    Is the 11 year old computer the i7 3770K on a ASUS P8Z77? Who installed the original Windows on it?
    Was Win 10 upgraded from a original Win 7 or Win 8? If positive, was the original Win 7 or Win 8 a Retail license?
    The generic key retrieved with ShowKey does not activate Win 10 or Win 11. You have to use the original Win 7 or Win 8 RETAIL key.
      My Computers


  7. Posts : 5
    Windows 11
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Megahertz said:
    Is the 11 year old computer the i7 3770K on a ASUS P8Z77? Who installed the original Windows on it?
    Was Win 10 upgraded from a original Win 7 or Win 8? If positive, was the original Win 7 or Win 8 a Retail license?
    The generic key retrieved with ShowKey does not activate Win 10 or Win 11. You have to use the original Win 7 or Win 8 RETAIL key.
    Yes - the OS was on the 3rd gen i7 build on the P8Z77.......can't remember if it was W7 or Vista or XP or W8....it was 11 years ago. A computer store built the rig for me after I selected the components and they installed the OS on the HDD. I have already searched the house for the old CD drive but to no avail. I upgraded the system drive to a SSD drive and they re-installed the OS - can't remember if they cloned or did fresh re-install.
    Crap - I have moved twice since I bought that OS...doubt I have that old retail key lying around.
    I do have an old laptop I don't use with what is probably an old W8 OEM sticker on IT.
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 31,905
    10 Home x64 (22H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #8

    philmar said:
    ...I do have an old laptop I don't use with what is probably an old W8 OEM sticker on IT.
    A Windows 8 machine won't have an OEM sticker with a key on it, for Windows 8 onwards the key was embedded in the bios firmware with a simple sticker that just says 'Windows 8' or 'Windows 8 Pro'.

    If it is an OEM CoA sticker with a key on it then it will be for Windows 7 or earlier. You can activate Windows 10 with a Windows 7 key.
      My Computers


  9. Posts : 5
    Windows 11
    Thread Starter
       #9

    scratch that - there is no sticker on the old laptop......may get the product key off that and see if it works....

    - - - Updated - - -

    oh - it is in the BIOS? Good times
    I see why some people hate Microsoft. LOL
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 31,905
    10 Home x64 (22H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #10

    philmar said:
    scratch that - there is no sticker on the old laptop......may get the product key off that and see if it works....
    If you can boot the old machine, then ShowKeyPlus can read the OEM key from its firmware. An OEM Window 8/8.1 key should activate Windows 10.
      My Computers


 

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