Reinstall Windows 10 on old laptop - won't activate

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  1.    5 Days Ago #1

    Reinstall Windows 10 on old laptop - won't activate


    I have an older laptop that we used to use for basic things. Replaced it and it's been sitting. Grandkids wanted to use it so cleaned everything off and reinstalled the O/S. It keeps saying Windows is not activated...

    Originally Windows 7 Home. When Windows 10 came out (sometime in 2015 or 2016) I did all the stuff to create an ISO for installations and used the generic keys provided to install Windows 10 Home on this laptop. I actually upgraded all 3 PCs using the same ISO and key. This was when there was no charge for the upgrade.
    Everything worked fine.

    Today, I put a fresh copy of Windows 7 Home on the laptop, then did the upgrade to Windows 10, and put in
    TX9XD-98N7V-6WMQ6-BX7FG-H8Q99 for the activation. It accepted it and installed the upgrade.

    When I checked later it said it WASN'T activated and when I retry the activation code it says it's not valid with an error 0x803f7001.

    I've not had a problem previously when I had to reinstall the O/S. Did MS deactivate the "generic codes" or are
    they actually NOT generic?
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  2. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 11,544
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Build 1803
       5 Days Ago #2

    If this device had Windows 10 on it then just clean install Windows 10 and do not enter any product key.

    It should just activate.

    Clean Install Windows 10


    Ken
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    5 Days Ago #3

    It didn't. It had Windows 7 Home originally, that was previously (several years ago) upgraded to Windows 10 Home EXACTLY the same way I'm doing it today - put the Windows 10 CD I created back then in, click on setup, and let it upgrade. Same as I've done on two other Windows 7 computers that were upgraded.

    for this one, I had to change the hard drive and reinstall. Put Windows 7 Home on again. Then did the upgrade to Windows 10 Home. It demanded an Activation key so I put in the one I used when I originally installed the Windows 10 upgrade on this laptop: YTMG3-N6DKC-DKB77-7M9GH-8HVX7

    but it said it wasn't valid. So I tried the other activation key I had - I got them when Windows 10 first came out and you could do a free update from Windows 7 or 8...
    TX9XD-98N7V-6WMQ6-BX7FG-H8Q99

    This one let me do the install, but it's apparently not a fer-real key.

    I'd like to get this validly activated so the grandkids can use it for stuff like email and surfing, but if MS has done something so the keys I got back then won't work, I'll just format it and reinstall 7 home.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  4.    5 Days Ago #4

    What you should have done is download the latest iso from Download Windows 10

    Done a clean install of 10 skip the serial number and it will activate from MS serer with a digital licence If you have only just installed it may be worth wiping it and using the latest iso as yours may be years out of date and you will end up with loads of updates
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    5 Days Ago #5

    OK, I"m confused... Clearly I don't understand how Windows licensing works.

    If I can find the Windows ISO, and download it, and put it on a CD (this laptop doesn't seem to want to load the O/S from a flash drive), and do a clean install,

    WHAT do I do for an activation code that'll actually work? MS doesn't appear to have any current idea this laptop exists - it didn't activate Windows 10 automatically, so what DO I use to get this thing activated?

    I'll go see if I can find a Windows 10 Home ISO to download.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  6.    5 Days Ago #6

    Its a digital licence tied to the pc so you dont enter a serial if you do enter a key then it try to activate agaisnt the key not use the digiatl one it has it thinks its a new pc
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 9,527
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       5 Days Ago #7

    GracieAllen said: View Post
    It didn't. It had Windows 7 Home originally, that was previously (several years ago) upgraded to Windows 10 Home....

    Did it activate back then? If so there is a digital license for W10 Home tied to the hardware ID of this PC stored on the MS activation servers.

    for this one, I had to change the hard drive and reinstall....
    ... I tried the other activation key I had ... TX9XD-98N7V-6WMQ6-BX7FG-H8Q99
    This one let me do the install, but it's apparently not a fer-real key.

    It is the generic W10 Home key, allows install but won't activate. If you did a clean install and skip entering a key, or upgraded an activated W7 you would have got that key anyway, so there was no need to enter it yourself.


    I'd like to get this validly activated so the grandkids can use it for stuff like email and surfing, but if MS has done something so the keys I got back then won't work, I'll just format it and reinstall 7 home.

    Clean install of Windows 10 Home, skip entering a key when asked and it should activate from the existing digital license as soon as it can contact the activation servers. Don't worry about having changed the hard drive, that is not part of the hardware ID. If you have changed the motherboard though, that is part of the ID.


    If there are significant hardware changes, but you can still install and activate Windows 7, then you can upgrade that from 7 to 10 and get a new digital license.


    for this one, I had to change the hard drive and reinstall. Put Windows 7 Home on again. Then did the upgrade to Windows 10 Home. It demanded an Activation key...
    It will not demand a key if the Windows 7 is activated. Sounds like you didn't active the Windows 7 when you installed it.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  8.    5 Days Ago #8

    OK, I can do this, but earlier, after installing Windows 7, when I TRIED to upgrade to Windows 10, it demanded an activation code. The FIRST ONE I ENTERED was the activation code from this laptop. It was NOT accepted.

    Neither would the laptop activate when I installed Windows 7 until I entered it when I went through the incredibly laborious process manually activating it online...

    I've downloaded the Windows 10 ISO, and I'll stick it on there.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  9. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 9,527
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       5 Days Ago #9

    GracieAllen said: View Post
    ...earlier, after installing Windows 7, when I TRIED to upgrade to Windows 10, it demanded an activation code.
    As I said, it should not ask for a key if the Win7 is validly activated.
    Neither would the laptop activate when I installed Windows 7 until I entered it when I went through the incredibly laborious process manually activating it online... I've downloaded the Windows 10 ISO, and I'll stick it on there.
    That is the first step. Now you have an activated W7 it would be a good idea to make a system image of it so that, if required, you can restore that next time and save yourself a lot of work.

    There is a system imaging function in Backup & Restore but it's a bit temperamental, Macrium Reflect Free is far more reliable.

    Backup and Restore with Macrium Reflect | Tutorials

    Although the free upgrade offer ended a while ago, it has always been the case up until now that if you upgrade an activated Windows 7/8/8.1 to 10 you wouldn't be asked for a key and would get an activated Windows 10 and a digital license. I have heard no reports that this has stopped working. There is however an outside chance that Microsoft have finally turned this off.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  10.    4 Days Ago #10

    Thanks Bree...

    Yes, it may have been, and still may be that "upgrading from 7, 8 or 8.1 would work and not demand an activation code." That didn't happen with this laptop. I put 7 on the box. I activated it successfully. I tried the upgrade to Windows 10 (I actually wound up installing 7 twice and trying the upgrade twice), and it not only would NOT automatically activate Windows 10 using the Windows 7 code, I couldn't even get the UPGRADE to run using the Windows 7 code it demanded.

    I finally loaded the Windows 10 ISO last night, and when it demanded an activation code I gave it the one from the Windows 7 on this box. It then went off and churned for at least 8-9 MINUTES, and finally said it activated successfully...

    So, in theory, it's now running Windows 10 Home and activated...

    As far as making ISOs, doing backups and restores and so on.... This is a play box for grandkids. They're going to make a mess of the thing in short order, and a year from now it'll be so old and slow they won't even want to use it for surfing the web.

    I use Macrium on the fer-real, desktop image editing system, but I'd never bother with something like that on this laptop.

    In any case, AT THE MOMENT, it's running, it thinks it's activated, and I THINK it may FINALLY be done downloading updates...

    Thanks for the help, y'all!
      My ComputersSystem Spec


 
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