reactivating windows 10 on new hardware, without "proper" product key

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  1. Porthos's Avatar
    Posts : 881
    Win 10
       #31

    Bree said:
    You have my sympathy, it's not nice to feel you have been scammed.

    If you are very lucky, you may not need to buy a license. If this machine was originally supplied by the OEM with W8, W8,1 or W10 pre-installed, then there will be an OEM key embedded in the bios. You can test if that is the case with ShowKeyPlus.

    ShowKeyPlus

    If there is an OEM key in the firmware, then a clean install of W10 will read this key and use it to choose the edition to install (Home or Pro) and to activate it with a digital license. If there's no OEM key then I'm afraid you'll have to buy a license.
    The OP has a Vista generation computer.
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  2. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,614
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #32

    That a shame, buying a license is the only option then...
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  3. PeterPan2000's Avatar
    Posts : 58
    Windows 10 pro, 64 bit
    Thread Starter
       #33

    Bree said:
    You have my sympathy, it's not nice to feel you have been scammed.

    If you are very lucky, you may not need to buy a license. If this machine was originally supplied by the OEM with W8, W8,1 or W10 pre-installed, then there will be an OEM key embedded in the bios. You can test if that is the case with ShowKeyPlus.

    ShowKeyPlus

    If there is an OEM key in the firmware, then a clean install of W10 will read this key and use it to choose the edition to install (Home or Pro) and to activate it with a digital license. If there's no OEM key then I'm afraid you'll have to buy a license.
    Thanks!!! Good news and bad news (maybe). So the "showkeyplus" tool does show an OEM key (see attached... I've blotted out the key code which DOES show up). It does say "Windows 7 OEM Marker present in firmware". This might make sense? i do have another machine of the same brand and model, with windows 7 installed, and a free upgrade to windows 10 which I never used. So maybe the vendor has a legitimate OEM license, and he has also been taking advantage of the free upgrade? What does the message tell you? Does it mean I could substitute another unused OEM product key? Those are a lot cheaper than full RETAIL version.

    Another piece of good / bad news. Remember I mentioned that when I entered SLMGR /xpr on the command line, I got a message saying " Volume activation will expire 8/3/2020 2:35:47 PM". This was what really got me worried I had the equivalent of a "time bomb" install. However, when I run the same command today, a day later, it says " Volume activation will expire 8/4/2020 7:56:35PM". I don't know whats really going on here. It looks like some kind of hack, of some kind of limited time install, that increments the expiration date (maybe on startup? Maybe as a background task?) . I remember in the early days of XP there was a hack people would use to make the machine always think it was in "safe mode", even when it wasn't, so the user would not have to activate. Am I dealing with something like that?

    As some have pointed out, it is complicated, but my history as a coder makes me very curious and eager to learn everything I can about my operating system.

    reactivating windows 10 on new hardware, without  "proper" product key-showkeyplus.jpg
    Last edited by PeterPan2000; 07 Feb 2020 at 11:21. Reason: forgot screenshot
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  4. Porthos's Avatar
    Posts : 881
    Win 10
       #34

    I don't know whats really going on here. It looks like some kind of hack, of some kind of limited time install, that increments the expiration date (maybe on startup? Maybe as a background task?) . I remember in the early days of XP there was a hack people would use to make the machine always think it was in "safe mode", even when it wasn't, so the user would not have to activate. Am I dealing with something like that?
    @PeterPan2000
    Easy to find out.
    Please download Farbar Recovery Scan Tool and save it to your desktop.
    Note: You need to run the version compatible with your system.
    You can check here if you're not sure if your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit

    • Double-click to run it. When the tool opens click Yes to disclaimer.
    • Press the Scan button.
    • It will make a log (FRST.txt) in the same directory the tool is run. Please attach it to your reply.
    • The first time the tool is run, it also makes another log (Addition.txt). Please attach it to your reply as well.
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  5. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,614
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #35

    PeterPan2000 said:
    Thanks!!! Good news and bad news (maybe). So the "showkeyplus" tool does show an OEM key (see attached... I've blotted out the key code which DOES show up). It does say "Windows 7 OEM Marker present in firmware". This might make sense?
    I'm afraid a Window 7 OEM machine (which is what yours seems to be) does not have a full key in its bios. The installed key you saw was the one in the registry.

    For Windows 7 OEM installs, the OEM-supplied install media uses a generic key specific to each particular OEM. There is an SLP marker in the bios that only specifies the edition entitled to be installed, it's not a full key. When the correct OEM media is used to clean install W7 its generic key is compared to the SLP marker and if both match (OEM name and edition of the generic key) then the installed W7 self-activates. This is how the OEM factory reset partition would activate itself (though I doubt if your still has its factory reset partition).

    You may be able to legitimately install and activate W7 on this PC (which could then be upgraded to W10 and be activated with a digital license). But to do that you'd need the original OEM install media, or at a minimum know which OEM generic key to use. @Superfly (the author of ShowKeyPlus) may be able to offer more advice on this.

    What is the make and model of this PC?
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  6. SIW2's Avatar
    Posts : 1,661
    trying to install win10
       #36

    It does say "Windows 7 OEM Marker present in firmware".
    That is good news.

    Install win7 Professional on another partition ( click skip when it asks you to enter a key). Then after it has installed run 7oeminstaller.
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  7. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,614
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #37

    SIW2 said:
    Install win7 Professional on another partition ( click skip when it asks you to enter a key). Then after it has installed run 7oeminstaller.
    We don't know that this machine was supplied with W7 Pro, it may have an SLP marker for W7 Home or W7 Home premium. Would that tool still work, or would the OP have to install the correct edition of W7 first?
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  8. SIW2's Avatar
    Posts : 1,661
    trying to install win10
       #38

    If it really is a dell 7 oem marker, then it will work. Not hard to get hold of installation media.

    The way to find out is to try. It only takes 15 mins to install win7 and find out. Nothing to lose by trying.
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  9. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,614
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #39

    I don't think the OP has confirmed yet that it's the Dell in their specs. If it is, then entering its service tag at https://www.dell.com/support/home will tell the OP in the 'view system configuration' section exactly what OS it was supplied with.
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  10. PeterPan2000's Avatar
    Posts : 58
    Windows 10 pro, 64 bit
    Thread Starter
       #40

    SIW2 said:
    If it really is a dell 7 oem marker, then it will work. Not hard to get hold of installation media.

    The way to find out is to try. It only takes 15 mins to install win7 and find out. Nothing to lose by trying.
    Well I can't say "nothing to lose". Remember, i bought a machine with windows 10, pro, 64 bit installed (and apparently activated), and have been working not stop for almost 3 weeks now installing all my software, old and new, and applying all kinds of compatibility options to get everything to work. I *DO* have an unlimited license for win-7 pro, 32 bit, which i just happened to mention because when I've used in on another machine, there was an offer and free download of windows 10 I never tried.

    This machine has now had a bit too much work put into it to try to go back to windows 7 32 bit and start from there. I'd rather buy an inexpensive NEW OEM license, or worst case will bite the bullet and buy a new retail licence from Microsoft. But for now I'm trying to ascertain whether what I have, which is up and running, will reliably continue to run, or is a ticking time bomb.
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