Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Dell Windows 8 recovery disk does not read product key

  1. #1

    Dell Windows 8 recovery disk does not read product key


    Windows 10 did me in (Show me the way to go home (back to W8.1) - Windows 10 Forums), so I want to throw in the towel and build my Windows 8 system from scratch - I have all my files and list of installed apps with their configs. I ordered and received the Windows 8 recovery disk for my computer from Dell.

    Except, when I boot the disk, it prompts me to enter the product key. Isn't it supposed to read it from the BIOS on the motherboard?

    I should add: Over the summer, I had to have the motherboard replaced. It, too, came from Dell. I presume the technician had the product key reinstalled, because it was working fine at the time.

    When I called Dell, they told me to enable legacy boot and make sure secure boot was off. I did both those things, but got the same result. I see there are a myriad of programs out there that will read the product key, but... You guessed it: You need administrative access. And I lost it, when I upgraded to Windows 10.

    I could call Dell, but since my system is now out of warranty, they want to charge me for support.

    Can anyone help me with this unmitigated disaster?

    Dan

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Dell discs normally are pre-activated and do not require entering a product key. However, you should have a sticker with the product key to use. If its a laptop its usually in the battery compartment. On a desktop its usually on the back or bottom.

    Dell has a free forum with users, like this forum, that will help.
    Dell Community
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    Dell PC's have not come with a COA since Windows 8
    The product key is embedded into the BIOS Firmware...
    If Dell replaced the MOBO - chances are the embedded product key is NOT present...

    In my sig below is a link to Bootable recovery tools - create bootable media from the ISO
    boot from media and run the ShowKey program.. or just try the showkey program within current host

    Also, what is the current OS and do you still have the windows.old folder ??
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by KYHI View Post
    Dell PC's have not come with a COA since Windows 8
    The product key is embedded into the BIOS Firmware...
    If Dell replaced the MOBO - chances are the embedded product key is NOT present...

    In my sig below is a link to Bootable recovery tools - create bootable media from the ISO
    boot from media and run the ShowKey program.. or just try the showkey program within current host

    Also, what is the current OS and do you still have the windows.old folder ??
    I tried ShowKey within the current host, as well as several others. I don't have the privilege to run it - and I can't elevate to administrator. I can try to create bootable media, but I suspect I will have the same problem as when I try to access the C: drive from WinPE - "access denied".

    I'm currently at Windows 10, and yes, the Windows.old folder is still there.

    Dan
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    Copy the contents of my ISO to a usb and boot from it..
    Also download a copy of the newest Showkey program v5815 and copy it to the USB then run it..
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    If they replaced your motherboard, they may have given you a plastic holder with paperwork which contains the new License Key. I have some experience since they have replaced the motherboard on my system twice, in home.

    I do not know if the replacement motherboard actually contains an embedded key. If your system went back to the factory for the MB change, perhaps the install at that time contained the actual key in the software. If there is a key in the bios, you might check YouTube to see if anything there would allow you to recover that key.

    If you have already removed Windows 10, since it should reinstall without a key, you may be able to get a key from that. I do not know what happens to a prior OS key if you do upgrade to Windows 10 and want to go back.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by KYHI View Post
    Copy the contents of my ISO to a usb and boot from it..
    Also download a copy of the newest Showkey program v5815 and copy it to the USB then run it..
    OK, I was offline for a bit - I'm going to try now. I presume you mean the W10 ISO (since that's where my OS is now), and not the W8.1 ISO...

    Dan
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    I burned the ISO to a usb jump drive using rufus, copied ShowKey to it, and booted the usb. I ran "showke~1.exe" but got the complaint, "This program cannot be run in DOS mode."
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Oops! I see now that you mean the "Ultimate ESD to ISO" link. I do have the C:/$Windows.~BT/Sources/install.esd file - will try that now.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Burned the iso, copied ShowkeyPlus v5815, and ran it - here's what I got:Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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