Windows 10: Where in the BIOS does MS store the Win10 key

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  1.    18 Jun 2016 #11

    Hi,

    Surprised me too but I have a Dell OptiPlex 745 which has a Vista key embedded in ROM which now runs W10.

    Superfly's Showkey Plus revealed it. Funny thing is that the machine was delivered with XP pre-installed and a XP COA sticker on the bottom of its casing. Go figure....

    Cheers,
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  2. Posts : 353
    Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
       18 Jun 2016 #12

    That's bizarre, i never heard of that before.
    I have home-builts, so i don't have any BIOS key.
    I never ran Showkey Plus, i know my keys, they are purchased licenses, manually entered.
    When i have time i'll have to play with it and see what it shows, i wonder if Showkey Plus is reliable and accurate ?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    18 Jun 2016 #13

    Hi,

    I see no reason to doubt Showkey Plus.
    My machine was bought as a refurbished pc from a certified MS company so I guess it was used in a company that preferred to run XP on it instead of Vista. Makes sense to me.

    Cheers,
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  4. Posts : 353
    Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
       18 Jun 2016 #14

    That still seems crazy to me.
    I thought manufacturers did not put a key in BIOS prior to Windows 8 (release)
    If they purchased the PC after 8 was released, and downgraded it from 8, to Vista, to XP that might be why.
    Or, if it is some kind of "BETA" board from well before Win 8 was released.
    I don't know, just weird imho.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  5. Posts : 5,003
    Windows 10 Pro X64 15063.138
       18 Jun 2016 #15

    If I remember right, ShowkeyPlus says it found a Vista marker, but it doesn't show a BIOS embedded key for Vista.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  6.    18 Jun 2016 #16

    SLP (system locked pre-installation) has been around since XP.

    System Locked Pre-installation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The version used by XP, Vista, and 7 reportedly didn't embed a unique key in each board's BIOS. I believe that a custom OS installer that matched the SLP code was required.

    I have no idea what a keyfinder would give for a system that began life under Vista. It couldn't be a license key from the BIOS because the SLP code from that era isn't one.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.   My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    19 Jun 2016 #18

    The author of this guide (Philip Yip) produces very many good and well informed guides and youtube videos. He really does know what he is talking about.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    19 Jun 2016 #19

    As mentioned, Windows 7 and earlier do not store a key in the BIOS. There is an OEM identifier, but no actual product key is stored there. Only OEM activation version 3.0 and higher use embedded keys. Windows 7 uses version 2.1 I believe, and Vista version 2.0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System...e-installation

    Showkey may show keys for those older OS if you did an upgrade from them. The key gets leftover in the registry. On a clean install all it will show is OEM marker detected.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    19 Jun 2016 #20

    bobkn said: View Post
    SLP (system locked pre-installation) has been around since XP.

    System Locked Pre-installation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The version used by XP, Vista, and 7 reportedly didn't embed a unique key in each board's BIOS. I believe that a custom OS installer that matched the SLP code was required.

    I have no idea what a keyfinder would give for a system that began life under Vista. It couldn't be a license key from the BIOS because the SLP code from that era isn't one.
    Missed this post first time through. Yes that's how it works. To activate with the original OEM-SLP activation you need custom branded OEM install media. There is a certificate file that has to match up to the info in the SLIC table. Only then will it activate via OEM-SLP. The COA sticker is so you can do an OEM-COA activation with stock install media.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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