Windows 10: Windows 8 sticker but no product key in UEFI on refurbished laptop

  1.    07 Jul 2016 #1

    Windows 8 sticker but no product key in UEFI on refurbished laptop


    I'm posting this on TenForums so others will learn from my experience upgrading to Windows 10. But I would really like to know if anyone else has seen a computer with the square Windows 8 sticker, but no product key either on a label or in firmware/bios? <- that's just bolded because that is the main question I have :-)

    I purchased a manufacturer refurbished ASUS X750JA laptop on ebay. It has the official Windows 8 little square sticker on the back, which to me indicates it should have a Windows 8 product key stored in UEFI firmware. It came with 2x 1TB hard drives. I didn't want to mess with Windows 8 or 8.1 at all, so I booted the laptop and it came up with the OOBE Windows 8.1 screen as expected. I entered audit mode and exported the drivers to a USB flash drive, then shut it down.

    I pulled out the primary HDD and installed a completely blank SSD and clean installed Windows 10 Home. Created a local user account, and Windows 10 was not activated! *raise one eyebrow here* Ran showkey plus and no product key in UEFI/bios. So I connected the HDD to a USB adapter (which is why I did not bother making a back up image first - because I have lots of other means of making a backup image from the removed HDD). Looked at the software registry hive with showkey plus and it showed an OEM Windows 8 Home product key. Changed the Windows 10 product key and entered the Windows 8 product key and it activated just like it should.

    If something had happened to that Windows 8 installation on that hard drive, though, without retrieving the product key, I would have been up the creek. I thought that if the Windows 8 was installed by the manufacturer that the product key either had to be stored in UEFI/bios or printed on a COA sticker?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. Kyhi's Avatar
    Posts : 1,692
    Windows 3.1 to Windows 10
       07 Jul 2016 #2

    I purchased a manufacturer refurbished ASUS X750JA laptop on ebay.
    It was a remanu - most likely board changed...

    and service techs do not flash the bios
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3.    07 Jul 2016 #3

    Kyhi said: View Post
    It was a remanu - most likely board changed...

    and service techs do not flash the bios
    Hmmm..... so if I sent a computer back to the manufacturer for a motherboard replacement, they would not have to provide the user with the product key in any manner at all?

    Anyway, the laptop is flawless and I am extremely happy with it. Lesson learned, though... Don't assume anything about the product key if your going to clean install Windows 10 on a Windows 8 computer that has not had Windows 10 before! Since I knew I was going to leave the original HDD untouched until Windows 10 was 100% successfully installed, I wasn't worried about doing any backup of it or product key retrieval - but my assumption that the product key would be in UEFI was obviously wrong.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4.    07 Jul 2016 #4

    Would of sucked after July 29. Good thing you bought it early.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5.    07 Jul 2016 #5

    Porthos said: View Post
    Would of sucked after July 29. Good thing you bought it early.
    I made sure of that!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6.    07 Jul 2016 #6

    My laptop has the little square 8 sticker and an embedded key. ASUS K75DE. The factory hard drive is long gone and replaced with an SSD. My best guess is what Kyhi posted. Motherboard replacement, with one that didn't have an embedded key. I "think" it's a little more involved than just a BIOS flash. Your traditional BIOs flash anyway. I've flashed the BIOS on my laptop several times. The key is stored in a section that is not changed by the BIOS flash. It may not be all that easy to change it or add one after the fact. After the chip is soldered to the board that is. Just an educated guess on my part.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7.    07 Jul 2016 #7

    I just thought it was odd - but the product key in the software load it came with was good enough to get a digital entitlement for Windows 10, so it's good enough for me!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. Kyhi's Avatar
    Posts : 1,692
    Windows 3.1 to Windows 10
       07 Jul 2016 #8

    Well it is a Flash, Just to a different Block in the Bios Chip, then the standard user updated Bios Flash..

    Have not heard of any OEM Replacement Board coming with embedded Product Key..
    Actually all the reports I've seen say it does not...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9.    08 Jul 2016 #9

    With a MB RMA, the new board comes with a new OEM key supplied in a little envelope...that is what was used to activate that PC ( and thus tied to the new MB) - the original OEM key would not have worked, as that died with the previous MB.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


 

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