1. #1
    Moderator chazus's Avatar
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    Windows Key Missing/Rubbed Off

    I just came into possession of a used laptop, with the intent of refurbishing and reselling. I may just get Windows 8, but wanted to see if I could avoid that avenue. It currently has Win Vista Ultimate, however the license key on the bottom has rubbed off almost entirely, and I can only read half the code. Furthermore, the OS currently installed is a bootleg version from the previous owner (likely because they couldn't read it either), using a known bad license key.

    I tried looking through Microsoft support, but they don't seem to have a live chat option for windows vista support. I was just wondering if there was a way to get issued a new key, or somehow recover this one via the serial number or something.

  2. #2
    I am Murloc! Cyanotical's Avatar
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    microsoft doesn't support vista anymore, depending on your resources, you may be able to use a technician level OEM activation tool, since you have a valid key

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  3. #3
    what manufacterer is the laptop from and what is the license on the label (win xp, vista, 7, 8)?
    when the device is for example from dell you just need a dell disc and there is no need for a key. the os is getting the hardware id from the mainboard and you are not required to enter a key or activate the product.

  4. #4
    Moderator chazus's Avatar
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    Unfortunately I don't have the recovery discs either. It's just the laptop. Even if I could get that done (possibly order a recovery disc from HP), I still want to recover or replace the license it comes with. Oftentimes in order to activate or get updates, you have to put your actual key, and not the VLK one from the recovery discs.

  5. #5
    Pit Lord Zogarth's Avatar
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    I think the sale for the cheap windows 8 is still going on, You may consider that as Windows 8 is an a lot better system than vista.

  6. #6
    Moderator chazus's Avatar
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    I'm honestly seriously considering it at this point. $15 is not a huge setbacks and I suppose could be as good as value added. I'm still curious though, because I'm sure I'll run into this issue again sometime soon (I refurbish computers a fair bit lately) and Win8 won't be on sale.

  7. #7
    usually there's a barcode under where the serial number is. never tried scanning it before, but i'd bet that it's also the license key. If you have a smart phone there are a few free barcode reader apps out there.

    *shrug*

    worse that happens is it doesn't work

  8. #8
    There are tools to recover the activation key from the registry in Windows XP, don't know if that is an avenue worth looking in to for later versions of Windows.
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  9. #9
    Moderator chazus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butler Log View Post
    There are tools to recover the activation key from the registry in Windows XP, don't know if that is an avenue worth looking in to for later versions of Windows.
    They do work however, as per the OP, I can't recover that.

  10. #10
    I don't suppose there is a system restore point set from before the bootleg windows installation is there? Or a Windows.old backup?
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  11. #11
    Moderator chazus's Avatar
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    Unfortunately not. I already poked through the guy's old files. They cleaned it out pretty good, but the previous owner had some... strange practices. There were about 25 deprecated user accounts that had been removed (but not deleted)

  12. #12
    Guess that would have been too easy, wouldn't it :/ I take it you have tried undeleting the old files? (sorry for the google link, but I don't know if any of those tools are any good so I thought I'd just link them all like that)

    Of course, it is probably cheaper for you to spend 15 bucks on Windows 8 that you can pass on to the next customer than to spend IT technician work hours on trying to find a possibly no longer obtainable key for a remaindered OS that nobody ever liked anyway.
    Last edited by Butler Log; 2013-01-29 at 09:44 AM.
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  13. #13
    Moderator chazus's Avatar
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    Yeah, honestly going that far isn't worth my time. At this point I may just call it and get Win8. It runs better anyway, and doesn't need drivers except for the GPU ones.

  14. #14
    Yeah, I mean you have probably already spent way more than $15 worth of your time on the laptop, I'd just cut my losses and stick Windows 8 on it tbh.
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by chazus View Post
    I'm honestly seriously considering it at this point. $15 is not a huge setbacks and I suppose could be as good as value added. I'm still curious though, because I'm sure I'll run into this issue again sometime soon (I refurbish computers a fair bit lately) and Win8 won't be on sale.
    Get stockpiling Win8 disks while they're cheap then only adds money to your pocket when the win8 price goes up, as it would bump up the price you can sell said refurbs for


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