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  1. Joined : Aug 2015
    Posts : 22
    Windows 10 Pro
       22 Apr 2016 #1

    Cannot activate genuine copy after clean install


    A friend of mine, who is a computer illiterate older lady, asked me to fix her laptop that her son gave her. It was a disaster. I decided that instead of trying to clean the OS, I would upgrade it from Windows 7 (genuine) to Windows 10. The upgrade icon on the taskbar was present so I clicked on that to start the download. It spent days stuck on "starting download". Since that wasn't working, I looked up a tutorial on a Microsoft support page by a "Community Moderator". He laid out a step-by-step manual method that including using the Media Creation Tool and USB option. I did that. Now I can't get the copy to activate. The label underneath the laptop, where I'm assuming the Windows 7 key would be, is rubbed off. Every page that came up on my search talks about downgrading to 7. It was a clean install so I can't do that. I also tried activation over the phone.

    Nowhere in the tutorial did it mention that you have to upgrade first then do the clean install. I can't downgrade to 7 and can't activate 10.

    Can somebody please help out with this?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  2. Joined : Apr 2014
    Posts : 3,316
    W10 Pro x64/W7 Ultimate x64 dual boot main - W10 Pro Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64 - remote pc
       22 Apr 2016 #2

    Without the product key being found intact on the laptop the only resource would be contacting the manufacturer if necessary if the dealer or store is unable to help in providing original customer purchase information. It's a shame you didn't see a guide here which does allow you to bypass the need to upgrade first! Besides the link being in my sig you can look it over in the tutorial section as well. Clean Install Windows 10 Directly without having to Upgrade First - Windows 10 Forums

    Before removing the previous version's install you would preverse the activation status allowing you to secure the Digital Entitlement. Now you might have to secure a 10 license by way of the MS online store for about $40 according to a few others who have run into this on similar occasions. If you have any unused 7 media that was bought but never used you could try that key provided it was Home Premium for 10 Home or Pro, Ultimate 7 key for a 10 Pro install. Otherwise MS store time for $40 is the option you now seem to have remaining.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3.    22 Apr 2016 #3

    Hi there

    Can I suggest also to any other people reading this thread that BEFORE doing an upgrade from W7 to W10 is to BACKUP the W7 system before upgrading -- then if anything goes wrong you can restore.

    Also if you google around there are a few programs that can read the key if you've lost the sticker.

    I know it's OT and doesn't help the OP but it might help others from getting into the same predicament. Download FREE MACRIUM or similar - you can make a bootable USB from the downloaded ISO copy too by using RUFUS and backup your OS - it's very simple.

    Note also if there's a small reserved system partition include that too in the backup.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  4. Joined : Jun 2015
    Posts : 10,906
    Windows 10 Pro / Windows 10 TP / Windows 8.1 Pro / Windows 7 Pro
       22 Apr 2016 #4

    If the laptop came preinstalled with Windows 7, you could try a clean install of Windows 7 without a key, upgrade to Windows 10 and then do a clean install.
    If you have no installation media of Windows 7, depending on what version of Windows 7 was installed, I or someone else might be able to give you one.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  5. Joined : Apr 2014
    Posts : 3,316
    W10 Pro x64/W7 Ultimate x64 dual boot main - W10 Pro Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64 - remote pc
       22 Apr 2016 #5

    Well any imaging software to see a full system image backup as well as the already built into 7 option for seeing a full system image made would be the general recommendation. The problem of rushing into a clean without even having any product for 10 even when not able to retrieve the 7 OEM key is a disaster in the making.

    The Free upgrade offer works mostly by leaving the original OS intact and "activates" where a fresh install of 7 without activation could only see activation by calling that into MS since MS servers will have the record of 7 for the laptop there. Once a fresh 7 install is called in on and activated you could then preserve the GenuineTicket.xml file outlined in the guide to then see a fresh copy of 10 go on. Still seeing a working image of the freshly installed and activated 7 of course would remain a good idea as well in the event the owner decides to go backward from 10 to 7 later!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  6. Joined : Dec 2015
    Posts : 2,449
    Windows10
       22 Apr 2016 #6

    pivlit2 said: View Post
    A friend of mine, who is a computer illiterate older lady, asked me to fix her laptop that her son gave her. It was a disaster. I decided that instead of trying to clean the OS, I would upgrade it from Windows 7 (genuine) to Windows 10. The upgrade icon on the taskbar was present so I clicked on that to start the download. It spent days stuck on "starting download". Since that wasn't working, I looked up a tutorial on a Microsoft support page by a "Community Moderator". He laid out a step-by-step manual method that including using the Media Creation Tool and USB option. I did that. Now I can't get the copy to activate. The label underneath the laptop, where I'm assuming the Windows 7 key would be, is rubbed off. Every page that came up on my search talks about downgrading to 7. It was a clean install so I can't do that. I also tried activation over the phone.

    Nowhere in the tutorial did it mention that you have to upgrade first then do the clean install. I can't downgrade to 7 and can't activate 10.

    Can somebody please help out with this?
    The tutorial is out of date.

    You can now clean install windows 10 and use Windows 7 key to activate it.

    HOWEVER to do this, you have to use the COA key on the blue sticker, not the default oem generic slp key.

    Unfortunately, you have clean installed without that key so cannot activate it, and will have deleted the windows.old folder (check if you have one just in case) and cannot rollback. If windows.old folder is there, you might be able to roll back to windows 7.

    Also, check if pc has a an oem recovery partition and you may be able to reset pc back to its original state (you do not need the COA key for this).

    Another option is if you originally made a set of recovery disks (regrettable most people do not).

    If you are able to revert to Windows 7, then you should make an image backup and then try and reupgrade (we can advise best ways of doing this).

    Also, it is possible you installed wrong version of windows 10 e.g. if you had windows 7 SL or N versions, you need to install same version of 10.

    If you cannot get back without needed the COA key, and you have installed correct version of windows 10, then you are out of luck and will need a new licence I am afraid. You could call MS and explain and they might take pity on you but not very likely.

    Note: if you cannot actually find COA sticker it is sometimes hidden under battery.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  7. Joined : Dec 2015
    Posts : 2,449
    Windows10
       22 Apr 2016 #7

    axe0 said: View Post
    If the laptop came preinstalled with Windows 7, you could try a clean install of Windows 7 without a key, upgrade to Windows 10 and then do a clean install.
    If you have no installation media of Windows 7, depending on what version of Windows 7 was installed, I or someone else might be able to give you one.
    This will not work. A clean install requires the COA key which OP cannot read any more or has lost.

    OP has to restore Windows 7 using an oem recovery partition/disk which do not need a key (if that is possible).
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  8. Joined : Apr 2014
    Posts : 3,316
    W10 Pro x64/W7 Ultimate x64 dual boot main - W10 Pro Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64 - remote pc
       22 Apr 2016 #8

    Original information and if able to retrieve the original customer information for the purpose of contacting the manufacturer they might provide either the original or a substitute OEM key to use when explaining you are trying to upgrade to 10. First you have to secure something whether product tag being found intact or vendor purchase depending just where the laptop was originally bought from of course in order to be able to get any OEM help on this.

    The best via option however is simply getting a 10 license direct from the MS store for the reduced price there and calling it a day since the laptop has apparently seen some "wear and tear" type of use! Here where everything was still intact the older HP laptop that came with 7 HP x86 OEM and saw the 10 Home 32bit first and later 64bit clean install go on died suddenly in late December not even a full 3yrs. old!

    I found the drive was doa and when the replacement drive went in nothing still came onscreen. I suspect the integrated graphics chip let go! So a brand new model in Sept. was ordered in January to replace that for someone. That came with the 64bit 10 Home edition there.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9.    22 Apr 2016 #9

    @pivlit2

    If you still have the Windows.old folder, we can reinstate the OEM licensing - like we did here:

    Solved (Help requested) - Windows 10 Forums

    It will require re-installation of the original edition of Windows 7. We can determine which from the key in windows.old.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  10. Joined : Apr 2014
    Posts : 3,316
    W10 Pro x64/W7 Ultimate x64 dual boot main - W10 Pro Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64 - remote pc
       22 Apr 2016 #10

    There's a guide already seen at Windows 10 - Go Back to Previous Windows - Windows 10 Forums as well as having been added into my sig. If he is able to get back into a working 7 install that was found activated then he could then follow the instructions in the other guide for preserving the GenuineTicket.xml as well as any possible recovery of the OEM key. I trust you may be thinking of referring to the ShowKeyPlus?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


 
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