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Motherboard swap and now cannot activate windows 8 or 8.1


New Member
My son who is in college sent me his laptop that died so I could try to get it going for him...we are all very poor so I tend to spend a ton of time tackling things I probably shouldn't...but I guess it's fun to learn.

This was the first time I ever tried to take a laptop apart...two motherboards later and too many hours to count I finally got it back together and running good...yay...I thought!

I had no idea the Windows 8 product key was tied into this Bios until after I flipped the laptop over to look for the Product Key sticker I am so used to seeing and had to Google why it was not there.

Well now I have been on HP support site..on phone with Microsoft and they each say the other one can help me..so basically neither can. I did somehow upgrade to Windows 8.1 via some link and now I am unable to do any more upgrades without a product Key.

I see some product keys listed for sell on Ebay but they are all for 8.1 Pro...nobody lists any for the regular 8.1 or 8.

I would really like to get this back to my son with it activated and ready for updates etc.

Anyone have any suggestions on what I can do?

p.s. This laptop is also suffering form the dreaded "no audio device installed" problem..I was hoping to upgrade to Windows 10 to see if that would fix it..and if not then go back down to 8..I have spent HOURS and HOURS on that problem alone..

Thank you for your time.

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1


slightly off center
VIP Member
Gold Member
Try this utility and see if there is an OEM embedded key in the BIOS, ShowKeyPlus - Windows 10 Forums If there is, open the system page, click change product key, and enter it. If there isn't, I would think the OEM is obligated to get you a new one. Show key should show the key in use (the old one) and any new key in the BIOS. Assuming Windows 8.1 didn't already read the new key and switch keys on its own. If it did, I think its the OEM's problem, they need to authorise the new key with Microsoft or whatever it is they do.

Buyer be ware, is my advise as far as e-bay keys go. I've seen far to many "I bought an e-bay key and now Windows says its not activated" threads. They work for a while, then get blacklisted.

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit
    Computer type
    System Manufacturer/Model
    AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Deneb 3.7GHz
    ASUS M4N68T-M V2 µATX Motherboard
    8GB 4GBx2 Kingston PC10600 DDR3 1333 Memory
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA Geforce GT640 2 Gig DDR3 PCIe
    Sound Card
    VIA VT1708s High Definition Audio 8-channel Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    22" LG E2242 1080p and 2 19" I-INC AG191D
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024 - 1920x1080 - 1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    Crucial MX100 256 GB SSD and 500 GB WD Blue SATA
    Thermaltake TR 620
    Power Up Black ATX Mid-Tower Case
    Stock heatsink fan
    Logitech Wireless K350 Wave
    Logitech M570 Trackball and T650 TouchPad
    Internet Speed
    80 Mbps Down 30 Mbps Up
    Internet Explorer 11
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    HP DVD1040e Lightscribe - External USB2

Mark Phelps

New Member
VIP Member
Pro User
Sorry for the bad news, but the general opinion of the OEM is that the license is attached to the DEVICE -- in this case, the motherboard.

IF you would have had HP replace the motherboard with their own product, they would have used one that came with a BIOS with a license, and it either would have been a new one, or they would have modified it to match your old one.

But since you replaced it yourself, their view is along the lines of you throwing the license away -- and they see no obligation in providing you a second license.

You can always purchase a System Builders version, which is cheaper than retail, and use that license.

Good Luck

My Computer