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OEM keys not eligible for Win10 upgrade?

paperfist

Diamond Member
Nov 30, 2000
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#1
Working on a laptop for a friend, has Win 8.1 on it with a boat load of viruses.

I was going to take the route of just upgrading it to Win10, but it's not accepting the OEM key.

Were those not eligible for the upgrade?

Thanks!
 

Wheelabrator

Junior Member
Dec 8, 2017
7
1
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#2
The offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10 ended over two years ago, if that is what you are hoping to get. There was some loopholes for a while after that, but I do not know of any way to get it for free any longer.
 

thecoolnessrune

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2005
9,256
292
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#3
If you mean you have a legitimate Windows 10 OEM Key, then you can do the upgrade, but not directly.

Run Windows the Windows 10 Upgrade process. When it asks for a key use an appropriate Retail Generic Key to allow the upgrade to continue. A list of them (to match to whichever edition you're trying to install) are available here: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/95922-generic-product-keys-install-windows-10-editions.html

After you complete the upgrade, re-activate Windows using your Windows 10 OEM key.
 

Gunbuster

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
6,821
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#4
Sounds like time to buy a shady grey market key for $14. Search windows key oem on slickdeals.
 

Iron Woode

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Oct 10, 1999
23,228
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#5
why not just re-install win 8.1? MS made that incredibly easy.

Just a thought...
 

paperfist

Diamond Member
Nov 30, 2000
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#6
why not just re-install win 8.1? MS made that incredibly easy.

Just a thought...
Cause Windows 8 is like a walk down a long corridor where the ceiling is made of fire and the floor needles. But it’s not my laptop and it’s not taking the OEM key and accepting it as one for Win10 so 8.1 it is!

MS made that easy? There’s an ISO on their site like they did for 10? I was just going to use the Toshiba restore partition, but a non spammy version would be better.
 

Iron Woode

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Oct 10, 1999
23,228
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#7
Cause Windows 8 is like a walk down a long corridor where the ceiling is made of fire and the floor needles. But it’s not my laptop and it’s not taking the OEM key and accepting it as one for Win10 so 8.1 it is!

MS made that easy? There’s an ISO on their site like they did for 10? I was just going to use the Toshiba restore partition, but a non spammy version would be better.
This is how you do it:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-ca/help/17085/windows-8-restore-refresh-reset-pc
 
Sep 7, 2001
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#8
Did you create bootable installation media (e.g. USB or DVD) to do "clean" install or running the upgrade from Windows? Last I knew, clean install was the only way you could still get free upgrade.
 

paperfist

Diamond Member
Nov 30, 2000
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#9
Did you create bootable installation media (e.g. USB or DVD) to do "clean" install or running the upgrade from Windows? Last I knew, clean install was the only way you could still get free upgrade.
Yeah, downloaded it from Microsoft with their deployment tool, set it up on a USB drive, set BIOS to boot from said USB and it wouldn't accept the key.
 

Gunbuster

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
6,821
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#10
If it's an OEM PC and you are shooting to restore it with the OS it shipped with you need the right restore disk that is setup to use the SLIC activation via key/code in the BIOS.
 
Sep 7, 2001
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#11
PC originally ship with W8 or W8.1 preloaded? With the release of 8.1, Microsoft and major OEMs had all but discontinued the practice of providing the Product Key on the little COA sticker affixed to the PC somewhere. e.g. for laptops, it was often inside the battery bay. Instead of the Product Key on a sticker, an encrypted key (or certificate) was embedded in the BIOS. Some OEMs continued to provide Product Key on sticker with business models that shipped with "Pro" edition but not (or rarely) consumer models. From whence have you obtained the product key?
 
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paperfist

Diamond Member
Nov 30, 2000
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#12
PC originally ship with W8 or W8.1 preloaded? With the release of 8.1, Microsoft and major OEMs had all but discontinued the practice of providing the Product Key on the little COA sticker affixed to the PC somewhere. e.g. for laptops, it was often inside the battery bay. Instead of the Product Key on a sticker, an encrypted key (or certificate) was embedded in the BIOS. Some OEMs continued to provide Product Key on sticker with business models that shipped with "Pro" edition but not (or rarely) consumer models. From whence have you obtained the product key?
Win8 on a laptop and I used PowerShell
 
Sep 7, 2001
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#13
What is the model or part # of the laptop? And what specifically did you query using PowerShell?

Also, can you PM me (in confidence) the product key you are trying to use?
 

paperfist

Diamond Member
Nov 30, 2000
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#14
What is the model or part # of the laptop? And what specifically did you query using PowerShell?

Also, can you PM me (in confidence) the product key you are trying to use?
I’d have to look it all up.

I dunno if I can trust you as you’re giving off that inquisitor vibe with your line of questions ;)

Plus you don’t have an avatar so it’s like your naked.
 
Sep 7, 2001
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#15
Well my intent was to see if it was a generic OEM installation key.
 

JWade

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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#16
I have upgraded many PC's to win10 recently. Every single time it has worked for me, most recent was last week. all of them windows 10 has activated. I am using a windows 10 upgrade on USB. In the beginning it asks if I want to download updates during the upgrade process. I click the no box. if I click the yes box the upgrade does not activate. Also I have done a fresh install of windows 10 on win8 machines (using the same win10 upgrade usb drive) and it never asked for a serial number on the clean install, it used the one in the bios for it and even installed the correct version. secure boot was enabled
 
May 19, 2011
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#17
I used my OEM Win7 key at the end of June to install/activate Win10 on my desktop.

When doing Win10 installs I use a 1607 install disk, which may have something to do with it.
 

paperfist

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#18
Well my intent was to see if it was a generic OEM installation key.
What’s generic OEM?
As I’ve said I’m working on this for a friend who just goes to Best Buy and gets a laptop. They don’t pay attention to upgrades or if their antivirus expires so whatever OS came on this Toshiba is original.

I used my OEM Win7 key at the end of June to install/activate Win10 on my desktop.

When doing Win10 installs I use a 1607 install disk, which may have something to do with it.
Starting to wonder if that’s my problem. I had that version already on the USB, but decided to pull down the latest instead.

I have upgraded many PC's to win10 recently. Every single time it has worked for me, most recent was last week. all of them windows 10 has activated. I am using a windows 10 upgrade on USB. In the beginning it asks if I want to download updates during the upgrade process. I click the no box. if I click the yes box the upgrade does not activate. Also I have done a fresh install of windows 10 on win8 machines (using the same win10 upgrade usb drive) and it never asked for a serial number on the clean install, it used the one in the bios for it and even installed the correct version. secure boot was enabled
Win10 upgrade?

I just pull down from MS the latest Win10 build using their USB creation tool. Slip it into the laptop I want to upgrade, boot from USB and it takes over.

Could be something wrong with the USB drive, I tried downloading Win10 again and it errors out halfway through the install.
 
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Sep 7, 2001
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#19
What’s generic OEM?
It's a key that is used to select the OS edition (e.g. home, pro, enterprise) and install the OS but cannot be activated with that key (key needs to be changed before trying to activate). Search the entire product key (with dashes) on Google and see if there are any hits for that exact key. If no hits then at least it's not a generic installation key.
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
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#20
I have done many windows 10 installs for 8.1 or win 7 users. My recommended procedure is simple:
Make a bootable win10 usb installer with latest version (1803). After booting, select "I don't have a key." Next, select the proper version, if need be. May depend on the win10 ISO you have. Assuming everything is backed up, delete everything on the drive. Tell it to install.

After install, update/install drivers. Next run windows updates. Finally, check to see if it is activated. If the machine had windows 8.1, and you installed windows 10 home in UEFI mode, it should grab the product key from the motherboard and activate. If windows 7, enter the key on the back to activate. (Home => home, pro and ultimate => pro.)

Also, if a windows 10 upgrade had previously been done, on any motherboard, whether from 8.1 or 7, that motherboard should then have a digital entitlement on MS servers. Connect to the update service after install and W10 will activate. Just be sure to install the right version (home vs pro).
 
Sep 7, 2001
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#21
Yeah I forgot, don't input any product key during install/setup. Just be sure to select/install the proper qualifying edition that corresponds to edition originally shipped (e.g. Win 8 = Win 10, 8 pro = 10 pro). After installation is all done, at some point Windows will automatically try to activate with the embedded BIOS key/certificate without even informing/prompting (as long as you're connected to the net). It might take a few hours, it might take a couple days to get the "Windows activated with digital license entitlement" or whatever reported under System/OS information. Don't try to activate 'manually' just let Windows do it's thing. If still not activated after two or three days, then come back.

Also check for a BIOS/firmware update. I have seen release notes in BIOS updates that impacted Windows (OEM) activation.
 
Aug 25, 2001
42,030
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#22
Yeah I forgot, don't input any product key during install/setup. Just be sure to select/install the proper qualifying edition that corresponds to edition originally shipped (e.g. Win 8 = Win 10, 8 pro = 10 pro). After installation is all done, at some point Windows will automatically try to activate with the embedded BIOS key/certificate without even informing/prompting (as long as you're connected to the net). It might take a few hours, it might take a couple days to get the "Windows activated with digital license entitlement" or whatever reported under System/OS information. Don't try to activate 'manually' just let Windows do it's thing. If still not activated after two or three days, then come back.

Also check for a BIOS/firmware update. I have seen release notes in BIOS updates that impacted Windows (OEM) activation.
I'm honestly not so sure that's true. I thought that it was true, but it doesn't seem to be.

I bought a HP Power Gaming PC from Walmart B&M a little after BF (BF deal, that was "lingering"). I got it home, found out it had an extra SATA port on mobo, and an additional drive bay mount, and I put in a 240GB SSD. I installed the newest Windows 10 64-bit as of that time, and ... it never activated! To this day, it says cannot activate, no license.

So I don't know WTF is going on there. I thought that ever since Windows 8.0, the activation key was flashed into the mobo BIOS or some special memory area on the mobo where it keeps that sort of thing (and LAN MAC addresses).

I'm left with the prospect of re-selling the system, without an activated Windows. Or maybe, if I disconnect the SSD, connect the original untouched HDD, go through setup and wait for that to activate, then unplug the HDD, and do yet another fresh install, this time, it may pick up the activation, since the mobo was then activated on MS's servers?

I'm not really sure how to go about this.
 
Sep 7, 2001
17,835
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#23
I bought a HP Power Gaming PC from Walmart B&M a little after BF (BF deal, that was "lingering"). I got it home, found out it had an extra SATA port on mobo, and an additional drive bay mount, and I put in a 240GB SSD. I installed the newest Windows 10 64-bit as of that time, and ... it never activated! To this day, it says cannot activate, no license.
Might you have installed the 'wrong' edition that does not correspond with the BIOS key or preinstalled? Pro instead of Home or vice versa?

Now that I have been thinking about it, contrary to what I said above, I may not have gotten the "upgrade" from a true clean install. What I think I always did, was to first launch the "upgrade" from the older version of Windows 7 or 8. i.e. in-place upgrade over the old OS. After Windows 10 was installed (hours later), waited until Windows reported successful activation (usually after some post-upgrade Windows Updates and a few reboots), THEN did a clean full install booting from the USB media and deleting all existing disk partitions (to get rid of all remnants of the former installation/logs/clutter, start with clean registry, get rid of the original recovery or service partitions that are not going to work after the upgrade, etc). So basically I installed Windows 10 twice on each PC; first 'upgraded' and then after successful activation, wiped everything out with full clean install.

I have done the free upgrade to 10 on five computers, but haven't done one in nearly a year so recollection was a bit sketchy on how I did it.
 
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mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
3,704
286
126
#24
I bought a HP Power Gaming PC from Walmart B&M a little after BF (BF deal, that was "lingering"). I got it home, found out it had an extra SATA port on mobo, and an additional drive bay mount, and I put in a 240GB SSD. I installed the newest Windows 10 64-bit as of that time, and ... it never activated! To this day, it says cannot activate, no license.
See if you can retrieve OEM key from BIOS using this Nirsoft firmware table view.
Look for MSDM signature.

https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/firmware_tables_view.html
 

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