Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Factory install borked, no product key. What now?

  1. #1


    South Coast NSW, Australia
    Posts : 615
    Windows 8.1 'Ultimate' RTM 64 bit (Pro/WMC).

    Factory install borked, no product key. What now?


    Brother's new laptop has a 750GB drive, he wanted to partition it into two equal halves.

    All went well, and everything appeared to be a success. Until he re-booted. And of course
    it wouldn't. Repair attempts all failed. It wouldn't perform any of the reset or refresh options
    nor would system restore initialise.

    No, he didn't create any recovery media, and no, he didn't record the product key (assuming
    it would be on a sticker somewhere on the machine or in the packaging/documentation.
    It wasn't).

    I've managed to get it running on an un-activated copy of my Win 8 so he could retrieve his
    files, and the machine is usable at the moment, but not activated. His original setup is saved
    in the windows.old folder.

    What I need to know is, how to get a clean installation of Windows on there, how to find/get/
    retrieve the legal product key, and how to activate it again? I have no experience with UEFI
    BIOSes.

    His machine is a Toshiba Satellite originally running Windows 8, and has a UEFI BIOS. Secure
    boot is currently enabled (all settings are defaults), but can be turned off.

    He won't be too upset if he has to sacrifice his factory recovery partition(s) in order to get a
    clean install.


    Any ideas?


    Wenda.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    Download & run this vbs script to get your OEM & installed keys---

    ShowKey v1.3.vbs


    edit---

    Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Option One here, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 ISO - Download or Create , will let you download and create Windows 8.1 install media that will use your OEM 8.0 embedded key. You don't even have to know what the key is, all you need to know is what version of Windows 8 was installed at the factory. No product key is needed to do the download.
    Option One will take you here, Create installation media for Windows 8.1 - Windows Help
    My laptop came with 8.0 Core preinstalled by ASUS. I installed 8.1 Core from that link and didn't have to enter a product key. It activated online automatically with no issues.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    South Coast NSW, Australia
    Posts : 615
    Windows 8.1 'Ultimate' RTM 64 bit (Pro/WMC).


    Thamks, Alpha. I did see that tutorial while looking for a solution myself, quite a while after I posted
    this, and intend to try that for him today.

    Main worry was the lack of a PK, but now that I know it's hidden in UEFI BIOS, should be a straight-
    forward fix. I've never had (and don't want) so have no experience with a UEFI BIOS and how they
    work.

    Will report back with result later today.

    Again, many thanks, David and Alpha.


    Wenda.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    The UEFI BIOS on my laptop looks like any other BIOS I've seen. Other than a couple of extra settings that is, secure boot etc. It's a laptop though which usually have a lot less fluff than your typical motherboard BIOS's. If your installing 8.0 or 8.1 you shouldn't have to worry about or change any settings. Other than the boot order to boot from your install media that is. It's only when you try to install Windows 7 or earlier, or say Linux that secure boot gets in the way.

    The new option one is easy peasy compared to the old one. You don't need a product key to do the download and you don't even need to know what your embedded code is. No need for generic install keys etc. The only tricky part is knowing what version was originally installed on the PC so you can download the correct install image. That can be hard to figure out if you can't actually boot into Windows. If the sticker doesn't say Pro I would assume its Core or (Core) Single language. You'll know you got the wrong image if you get prompted for a key.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    South Coast NSW, Australia
    Posts : 615
    Windows 8.1 'Ultimate' RTM 64 bit (Pro/WMC).


    Well, it worked. Followed the tut to get a bootable USB installer, and it virtually fell onto
    his drive. No hassles re product keys, and it activated as soon as we connected it to the
    net.

    And he has the two partitions he originally wanted, and which caused the whole problem
    in the first place when it went pear-shaped.

    Brother thanks you muchly (as do I).


    Wenda.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    I'm glad you got it sorted out.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Good stuff.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 511
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit


    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    The UEFI BIOS on my laptop looks like any other BIOS I've seen. Other than a couple of extra settings that is, secure boot etc. It's a laptop though which usually have a lot less fluff than your typical motherboard BIOS's. If your installing 8.0 or 8.1 you shouldn't have to worry about or change any settings. Other than the boot order to boot from your install media that is. It's only when you try to install Windows 7 or earlier, or say Linux that secure boot gets in the way.

    The new option one is easy peasy compared to the old one. You don't need a product key to do the download and you don't even need to know what your embedded code is. No need for generic install keys etc. The only tricky part is knowing what version was originally installed on the PC so you can download the correct install image. That can be hard to figure out if you can't actually boot into Windows. If the sticker doesn't say Pro I would assume its Core or (Core) Single language. You'll know you got the wrong image if you get prompted for a key.
    How can you tell which version that you have? I know which ver. that I have, my daughter just bought a new PC from Dell. All it says is Windows 8.1 64 bit.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by Clint View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    The UEFI BIOS on my laptop looks like any other BIOS I've seen. Other than a couple of extra settings that is, secure boot etc. It's a laptop though which usually have a lot less fluff than your typical motherboard BIOS's. If your installing 8.0 or 8.1 you shouldn't have to worry about or change any settings. Other than the boot order to boot from your install media that is. It's only when you try to install Windows 7 or earlier, or say Linux that secure boot gets in the way.

    The new option one is easy peasy compared to the old one. You don't need a product key to do the download and you don't even need to know what your embedded code is. No need for generic install keys etc. The only tricky part is knowing what version was originally installed on the PC so you can download the correct install image. That can be hard to figure out if you can't actually boot into Windows. If the sticker doesn't say Pro I would assume its Core or (Core) Single language. You'll know you got the wrong image if you get prompted for a key.
    How can you tell which version that you have? I know which ver. that I have, my daughter just bought a new PC from Dell. All it says is Windows 8.1 64 bit.
    If it doesn't say Pro it's likely just Core. You won't see the word Core anywhere, there is 8.1 and 8.1 Pro. If you open the System page and click Help, about Windows, you'll get a little more info. If it's 8.1 Single Language that's where you'll see it listed.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Factory install borked, no product key. What now?
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