1. Joined : Jul 2015
    Posts : 230
    Windows 10, 8.1, 7, and Vista
       06 Jul 2016 #1

    Please help. W7 activation issue after downgrade and SSD upgrade


    Hi all,

    I just bought a Lenovo X140e, which comes with Windows 7 Professional preinstalled through downgrade rights from Windows 8 Pro. I setup the computer fine under W7, then proceeded to install W10 so I could get the "hardware license" for Windows 10. At the moment, I don't want W10 on this laptop.

    After activating Windows 10 on it, and making sure the license is activated, I installed an SSD on the laptop, however now I cannot activate Windows 7. I downloaded a W7 Professional ISO and put it on a USB using Rufus. The install goes okay, but Windows 7 is now asking me for a license key. Where is it? The bottom of my laptop only has a Windows 8 Pro sticker, there's no product key sticker.


    Please help! How do I find my Windows 7 key?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2.    06 Jul 2016 #2

    I don't know if this will give you the key you need but it's probably your best option at finding it,

    Showkey - Windows 10 Forums
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  3. Joined : Oct 2013
    A Finnish ex-pat in Germany
    Posts : 9,504
    Windows 10 Pro
       06 Jul 2016 #3

    The problem is Windows 7 does not use and support digital entitlement, activation stored on MS servers based on hardware setup. Windows 7 only supports legacy activation with a product key.

    The fact that you had Windows 7 installed and activated on this laptop means nothing when reinstalling it; it will of course require a product key to get it activated every time you reinstall Windows 7.

    This does not benefit you anymore but for the sake of possible future readers of this thread, the correct way to do what you did would have been to use the 30 day grace period after upgrading to Windows 10 to restore the underlying Windows 7 (see tutorial), or to first upgrade the original pre-installed Windows 8.1 Pro to Windows 10 to get Windows 10 activated with digital entitlement, then use the 30 day grace period to restore laptop to original OS, in this way making the Windows 8.1 Pro license valid again, and only then use the downgrade rights and downgrade to Windows 7.

    This suggestion is a personal opinion based on logics more than knowledge but in your case I would try restoring the laptop to factory condition (Windows 8.1 Pro), then check if the downgrade rights to Windows 7 still work. If not I am afraid you need to buy Windows 7 license in case Lenovo support is not willing to help you.

    Kari
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  4. Joined : Jul 2015
    Posts : 230
    Windows 10, 8.1, 7, and Vista
       06 Jul 2016 #4

    Kari said: View Post
    This suggestion is a personal opinion based on logics more than knowledge but in your case I would try restoring the laptop to factory condition (Windows 8.1 Pro), then check if the downgrade rights to Windows 7 still work. If not I am afraid you need to buy Windows 7 license in case Lenovo support is not willing to help you.
    Kari I think you misunderstood. This computer SHIPPED with Windows 7 Professional, but according to Lenovo, that license for W7 is available because of W8 downgrade rights. This laptop has never seen Windows 8 installed on it.

    derekimo said: View Post
    I don't know if this will give you the key you need but it's probably your best option at finding it,

    Showkey - Windows 10 Forums
    I had completely forgotten about ShowKeyPlus. Thanks for the link.

    ShowKeyPlus says this, though:

    "
    Installed Key: A KEY
    OEM Key: A KEY
    OEM Edition: Invalid Key

    "


    Any ideas? I tried putting both the Installed Key and the OEM Key in the activation window. The Installed Key gave me an error that says: "The product key you have entered appears to be a default product key and cannot be used for activation. Type a different Windows 7 Professional product key."

    When I used the OEM Key, I got an error that said the license was invalid after typing in the second block of numbers/letters.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  5. Joined : Jul 2015
    Posts : 230
    Windows 10, 8.1, 7, and Vista
       06 Jul 2016 #5

    This is what I see after typing in the "Installed Key" from ShowKeyPlus into the activation window: Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Captur2222.PNG 
Views:	2 
Size:	204.8 KB 
ID:	88564
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  6. Joined : Oct 2013
    A Finnish ex-pat in Germany
    Posts : 9,504
    Windows 10 Pro
       06 Jul 2016 #6

    bobjoe said: View Post
    Kari I think you misunderstood. This computer SHIPPED with Windows 7 Professional, but according to Lenovo, that license for W7 is available because of W8 downgrade rights. This laptop has never seen Windows 8 installed on it.
    OK, I misunderstood this to mean that you did the downgrade by yourself:
    bobjoe said: View Post
    I just bought a Lenovo X140e, which comes with Windows 7 Professional preinstalled through downgrade rights from Windows 8 Pro.
    Anyway, that doesn't change the fact that correct procedure after upgrading to 10 to get digital entitlement had been to use the restore old OS 30 day grace period.

    Do you have the factory reset option, can you restore the laptop to factory conditions? If the downgrade was already done by manufacturer this might get your Windows 7 back.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7.    06 Jul 2016 #7

    bobjoe said: View Post
    This is what I see after typing in the "Installed Key" from ShowKeyPlus into the activation window: Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Captur2222.PNG 
Views:	2 
Size:	204.8 KB 
ID:	88564
    You have a Windows 8/8.1 key in the bios ( ShowKey can't yet read the post-Win 7 editions on Win 7 systems and reports Invalid)

    To determine the Win 8 key edition run ShowKey on Win 8 or 10 and use the check product key function with that OEM key.

    The Win 7 OEM licence is on the removed HDD - if you have that you can get Win 7 from there via an image backup or by retrieving certain licensing files.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  8. Joined : Jul 2015
    Posts : 230
    Windows 10, 8.1, 7, and Vista
       06 Jul 2016 #8

    Superfly said: View Post
    You have a Windows 8/8.1 key in the bios ( ShowKey can't yet read the post-Win 7 editions on Win 7 systems and reports Invalid)

    To determine the Win 8 key edition run ShowKey on Win 8 or 10 and use the check product key function with that OEM key.

    The Win 7 OEM licence is on the removed HDD - if you have that you can get Win 7 from there via an image backup or by retrieving certain licensing files.
    Thanks a lot for your reply. Right now I'm restoring the laptop to factory settings using the 4 DVDs that I created using Lenovo's recovery software, which I created before starting this mess.

    Kari said: View Post
    Do you have the factory reset option, can you restore the laptop to factory conditions? If the downgrade was already done by manufacturer this might get your Windows 7 back.
    This is what I'm doing right now.

    Once this recovery is finished, I should be on Windows 7 with all of the bloatware and whatnot on my SSD. Will ShowKeyPlus be able to give me my real Windows 7 key then? The original HDD of this computer has been formatted already and I have it currently installed in my desktop for extra storage.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9.    06 Jul 2016 #9

    bobjoe said: View Post

    Once this recovery is finished, I should be on Windows 7 with all of the bloatware and whatnot on my SSD. Will ShowKeyPlus be able to give me my real Windows 7 key then? The original HDD of this computer has been formatted already and I have it currently installed in my desktop for extra storage.
    Good on you for taking backups...

    ShowKey will show the Win 7 OEM key but it's a Lenovo generic key - Win 7 OEM licences entail a SLIC table in the bios and matching licensing certificate intalled together with the key for the edition concerned.

    PS: For a custom (non-bloatware) install, after current restore, search for *.xrm-ms and extract that file.
    You can then fresh install Win 7 Pro from vanilla iso - install the generic key SkowKey gives you and thn install that certificate ( slmgr -ilc [path].xrm-ms) - then run slmgr -ato to activate.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  10. Joined : Jul 2015
    Posts : 230
    Windows 10, 8.1, 7, and Vista
       06 Jul 2016 #10

    Superfly said: View Post
    Good on you for taking backups...

    ShowKey will show the Win 7 OEM key but it's a Lenovo generic key - Win 7 OEM licences entail a SLIC table in the bios and matching licensing certificate intalled together with the key for the edition concerned.

    PS: For a custom (non-bloatware) install, after current restore, search for *.xrm-ms and extract that file.
    You can then fresh install Win 7 Pro from vanilla iso - install the generic key SkowKey gives you and thn install that certificate ( slmgr -ilc [path].xrm-ms) - then run slmgr -ato to activate.
    Alright, the restore finished and I'm back to W7 with Lenovo bloatware but at least with a working and activated W7.

    I ran ShowKeyPlus and the "Installed Key" is different from the one that I screenshotted above. So if I reinstall W7 (for a clean install) and use the key in "Installed Key", it will not activate? What do you mean that it's a "generic Lenovo key"?


    EDIT: I just googled the key... Yup, definitely looks like I'm not the only person in the world with this key!


    Oh well........ I guess I'll just stay with the bloatware and uninstall as much as I can... I don't care that much for a clean install anyway. Thanks a bunch to everyone for your help.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


 


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