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Solved no licence key on windows 8 laptops


gazz9496

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#1
so i've noticed that new laptops shipped with windows 8 don't have a licence key, just what appears to be a readable chip or nfc device.

now a customer was interested in a new laptop with windows 8 and wanted to replace the hdd with an ssd, which at first seemed like an easy task.

now i'm not entirely sure what on earth to do, hard drives fail a lot from falling or impact damage and with no licence key how does one go about replacing and installing the operating system on one of these computers?

any info/advice or insight into this would be great.

thanks all.

Gazz

edit: thread now resolved , however there is some great tips and advice and knowledge about the licence key info that is worth reading.

thanks to everyone.
 
Last edited:

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theog

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#2

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gazz9496

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#3
no no, sorry i didn't mean the confusion.

i work in a shop, and aside from the oem discs a customer has no options on how to reinstall the o/s from what i've been able to figure out.

now making and keeping oem discs are two very different things, so assuming the customer lost the discs and damaged the hard drive, how does one reinstal the operating system without a licence key that should be there?
 

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#4
If you haven't already, remove the laptops battery and have a look in there for the COA sticker. I think they started hiding them there because they get worn and unreadable when stuck to the bottom of the laptop.
 

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theog

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#5
If you haven't already, remove the laptops battery and have a look in there for the COA sticker. I think they started hiding them there because they get worn and unreadable when stuck to the bottom of the laptop.
No COA's, key is in the BIOS.
 

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gazz9496

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#6
will check for that in a sec and update.
 

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#7
Oh crap, yes yes, Preinstalled licenses for Windows 8 use the new OA3.0, so I guess no COA sticker. I was thinking Windows 7 for some reason. I forgot what forum I was in for a second there.
 

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gazz9496

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#8
well there is something in the bios that says key management, no actual visible licence key though.

so how does that work then?

does it detect that and apply it when installing windows 8? or do you have to extract the files and decrypt the key?
 

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cluberti

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#9
The BIOS contains a hash that tells the Windows 8 installer that it is licensed for a specific version of Windows 8 (Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro). If you install (or reinstall) that licensed version, it simply "activates" because the hardware is activated for that version of Windows. If you install a version of Windows 8 that the hardware isn't licensed for, it won't activate automatically and you'll have to put in a product key.
 

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#10
The BIOS will have a SLIC table that is used for OEM-SLP activation. The big OEM's like Dell etc, add the custom SLIC table to their BIOS. The OEM installed OS looks for the SLIC table and if its found and matches a corresponding certificate file Activation is automatic. If it can't find the correct SLIC table activation fails. OEM-SLP does not activate online. If you create recovery media the OEM-SLP activation will be preserved for the PC its created on. You can't READ the OEM-SLP Product Code from the BIOS. Not without a utility anyway. You can use a utility like the Magical Jelly Bean Key Finder to retrieve it from the installed OS. Its not of any use though because OEM-SLP keys will not activate online. Every DELL model XYZ will have the same OEM-SLP product code and that code is blocked from online activation. That's why those PC's also have a COA sticker on them. If you have to you can install with a regular OEM DVD and use the Product code on the COA sticker. windows 7 uses OA 2.1. Windows 8 uses a new OA 3.0. With OA 3.0 each PC has a unique SLP product code that is embedded in its BIOS. One of the tricks used to pirate Windows was to add a SLIC table to a PC's BIOS so you could fake OEM-SLP activation. OA 3.0 is designed to prevent this and make it harder to pirate Windows. I'm sure there is more to it than that but the rest of it is a bit over my head. I would think there should still be a COA sticker on a Windows 8 machine though. How are you supposed to install the OS without the recovery disks? With OA 3.0 I would think the recovery media would only work on the PC it was created on. It would be unique to that PC not just to that make and model like it is now.
 

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theog

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#11
What version DVD would use S/B OEM or Retail?
 

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cluberti

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#12
Note that OA3 doesn't use SLIC tables anymore, although only Windows 8 uses OA3 - Windows Server 2012 can still be activated using the older OA2.x methodology. And there's no more requirement to ship a CoA sticker on the PC itself, although I do believe they still have to provide recovery media or a DVD and some proof of purchase. I haven't acquired an OEM machine with Windows 8 yet, so I'm not sure what should ship, but there's still a requirement for those at the least I believe.
 

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alphanumeric

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#13
Note that OA3 doesn't use SLIC tables anymore, although only Windows 8 uses OA3 - Windows Server 2012 can still be activated using the older OA2.x methodology. And there's no more requirement to ship a CoA sticker on the PC itself, although I do believe they still have to provide recovery media or a DVD and some proof of purchase. I haven't acquired an OEM machine with Windows 8 yet, so I'm not sure what should ship, but there's still a requirement for those at the least I believe.
I've only just started reading up on OA 3.0, mostly just out of curiosity. Although I'm sure at some point I'm going to handed a Windows 8 PC to fix that won't have any recovery media. It sounds like you have a much better handle on it than I do.
 

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#14
What version DVD would use S/B OEM or Retail?

Not sure what you're asking but. Only branded OEM install media included with a new PC purchase would use OEM-SLP activation. Or recovery disk sets ordered from the manufacturer for a specific OEM PC. Nothing that you would buy off of the shelf or online would use it. Regular Retail and OEM media activate online.
 

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    AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Deneb 3.7GHz
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    ASUS M4N68T-M V2 µATX Motherboard
    Memory
    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
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    22" LG E2242 1080p and 2 19" I-INC AG191D
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    1280x1024 - 1920x1080 - 1280x1024
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    Crucial MX100 256 GB SSD and 500 GB WD Blue SATA
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    Power Up Black ATX Mid-Tower Case
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    Stock heatsink fan
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Hopachi

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#15
The BIOS will have a SLIC table that is used for OEM-SLP activation. The big OEM's like Dell etc, add the custom SLIC table to their BIOS. The OEM installed OS looks for the SLIC table and if its found and matches a corresponding certificate file Activation is automatic. If it can't find the correct SLIC table activation fails. OEM-SLP does not activate online. If you create recovery media the OEM-SLP activation will be preserved for the PC its created on. You can't READ the OEM-SLP Product Code from the BIOS. Not without a utility anyway. You can use a utility like the Magical Jelly Bean Key Finder to retrieve it from the installed OS. Its not of any use though because OEM-SLP keys will not activate online. Every DELL model XYZ will have the same OEM-SLP product code and that code is blocked from online activation. That's why those PC's also have a COA sticker on them. If you have to you can install with a regular OEM DVD and use the Product code on the COA sticker. windows 7 uses OA 2.1. Windows 8 uses a new OA 3.0. With OA 3.0 each PC has a unique SLP product code that is embedded in its BIOS. One of the tricks used to pirate Windows was to add a SLIC table to a PC's BIOS so you could fake OEM-SLP activation. OA 3.0 is designed to prevent this and make it harder to pirate Windows. I'm sure there is more to it than that but the rest of it is a bit over my head. I would think there should still be a COA sticker on a Windows 8 machine though. How are you supposed to install the OS without the recovery disks? With OA 3.0 I would think the recovery media would only work on the PC it was created on. It would be unique to that PC not just to that make and model like it is now.
OEM-SLP does not activate online...
The Win8 laptop I bought was not activated the first day I used it. So I had to go online.
It's not one that uses OEM-SLP then?...

EDIT:
Is it possible that a delay exists (a few days) for the OEM-SLP activation to take place offline?
Not really important if you (can) get online: then it will activate automatically.

Key is in the BIOS:
HP Insyde BIOS doesn't show any product keys only serial of pc model and number.
The BIOS knows the preinstalled OS is Win8 and from what I learned about laptop BIOSes is that a lot of stuff is hidden from the interface/user but the key is probably there (SLIC table).

Correct me if I'm wrong:
The way I see it, at least for HP laptops and Win8, is that you probably need to activate online (they just check that's you who activates) but the key is already preinstalled (BIOS slic maybe?). All works well but I still didn't made any recovery disks (I think that will work pretty well since I kept all factory partitions intact). If the recovery fails on DVD, will just try is on USB stick.
 

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  • OS
    Windows 10 x64
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    HP Envy DV6 7250
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    Intel i7-3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
    Sound Card
    IDT HD Audio
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    15.6' built-in + Samsung S22D300 + 17.3' LG Phillips
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    Samsung SSD 250GB + Hitachi HDD 750GB
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cluberti

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#16
Unfortunately ;). Thankfully Windows 8 media should universally detect the OEM hash, so if you've got legal reinstallation media from Microsoft, it shouldn't matter anymore.
 

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  • OS
    Windows 8.1 x64
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    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 4790K @ 4.5GHz
    Motherboard
    Asus Maximus Hero VII
    Memory
    32GB DDR3
    Graphics Card(s)
    Nvidia GeForce GTX970
    Sound Card
    Realtek HD Audio
    Hard Drives
    1x Samsung 250GB SSD
    4x WD RE 2TB (RAIDZ)
    PSU
    Corsair AX760i
    Case
    Fractal Design Define R4
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15

alphanumeric

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#17
The BIOS will have a SLIC table that is used for OEM-SLP activation. The big OEM's like Dell etc, add the custom SLIC table to their BIOS. The OEM installed OS looks for the SLIC table and if its found and matches a corresponding certificate file Activation is automatic. If it can't find the correct SLIC table activation fails. OEM-SLP does not activate online. If you create recovery media the OEM-SLP activation will be preserved for the PC its created on. You can't READ the OEM-SLP Product Code from the BIOS. Not without a utility anyway. You can use a utility like the Magical Jelly Bean Key Finder to retrieve it from the installed OS. Its not of any use though because OEM-SLP keys will not activate online. Every DELL model XYZ will have the same OEM-SLP product code and that code is blocked from online activation. That's why those PC's also have a COA sticker on them. If you have to you can install with a regular OEM DVD and use the Product code on the COA sticker. windows 7 uses OA 2.1. Windows 8 uses a new OA 3.0. With OA 3.0 each PC has a unique SLP product code that is embedded in its BIOS. One of the tricks used to pirate Windows was to add a SLIC table to a PC's BIOS so you could fake OEM-SLP activation. OA 3.0 is designed to prevent this and make it harder to pirate Windows. I'm sure there is more to it than that but the rest of it is a bit over my head. I would think there should still be a COA sticker on a Windows 8 machine though. How are you supposed to install the OS without the recovery disks? With OA 3.0 I would think the recovery media would only work on the PC it was created on. It would be unique to that PC not just to that make and model like it is now.
OEM-SLP does not activate online...
The Win8 laptop I bought was not activated the first day I used it. So I had to go online.
It's not one that uses OEM-SLP then?...

Key is in the BIOS:
HP Insyde BIOS doesn't show any product keys only serial of pc model and number.
The BIOS knows the preinstalled OS is Win8 and from what I learned about laptop BIOSes is that a lot of stuff is hidden from the interface/user but the key is probably there (SLIC table).

Correct me if I'm wrong:
The way I see it, at least for HP laptops and Win8, is that you probably need to activate online (they just check that's you who activates) but the key is already preinstalled (BIOS slic maybe?). All works well but I still didn't made any recovery disks (I think that will work pretty well since I kept all factory partitions intact). If the recovery fails on DVD, will just try is on USB stick.
From what I read with OA 2.1, that Windows 7 uses, it does not activate online. It looks like the new OA 3.0, that Windows 8 uses, does though. cluberti obviously knows a lot more about it than I do. Times they are a changing. ;)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus
    CPU
    AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Deneb 3.7GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS M4N68T-M V2 µATX Motherboard
    Memory
    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
    PSU
    Thermaltake TR 620
    Case
    Power Up Black ATX Mid-Tower Case
    Cooling
    Stock heatsink fan
    Keyboard
    Logitech Wireless K350 Wave
    Mouse
    Logitech M570 Trackball and T650 TouchPad
    Internet Speed
    80 Mbps Down 30 Mbps Up
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    HP DVD1040e Lightscribe - External USB2

Hopachi

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#18
Unfortunately ;). Thankfully Windows 8 media should universally detect the OEM hash, so if you've got legal reinstallation media from Microsoft, it shouldn't matter anymore.
Unfortunately:thumbsup: less steps to do if you keep it legal.
 

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System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 x64
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    HP Envy DV6 7250
    CPU
    Intel i7-3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
    Sound Card
    IDT HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6' built-in + Samsung S22D300 + 17.3' LG Phillips
    Screen Resolution
    multiple resolutions
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 250GB + Hitachi HDD 750GB
    PSU
    120W adapter
    Case
    small
    Cooling
    laptop cooling pad
    Keyboard
    Backlit built-in + big one in USB
    Mouse
    SteelSeries Sensei
    Internet Speed
    slow and steady
    Browser
    Chromium, Pale Moon, Firefox Developer Edition
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    That's basically it.

cluberti

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#19
True, very true. Haven't pirated Windows ever, for many reasons. One, I know what it's like to have code you spent time on stolen and used without compensation; two, I find theft of something in almost all scenarios to be bad karma; and three, I work for a large software company that sells the product I'd be pirating ;).
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 4790K @ 4.5GHz
    Motherboard
    Asus Maximus Hero VII
    Memory
    32GB DDR3
    Graphics Card(s)
    Nvidia GeForce GTX970
    Sound Card
    Realtek HD Audio
    Hard Drives
    1x Samsung 250GB SSD
    4x WD RE 2TB (RAIDZ)
    PSU
    Corsair AX760i
    Case
    Fractal Design Define R4
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15

Hopachi

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#20
From what I read with OA 2.1, that Windows 7 uses, it does not activate online. It looks like the new OA 3.0, that Windows 8 uses, does though. cluberti obviously knows a lot more about it than I do. Times they are a changing. ;)
Thanks for the detail (I now know it's called OA 3.0). :)
I just tried to describe how it all went the first day of usage.
The good news is that it went pretty well. The only time for long faces was when I compared the procedure with the one Win7 was using (OA 2.1).
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 x64
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    HP Envy DV6 7250
    CPU
    Intel i7-3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
    Sound Card
    IDT HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6' built-in + Samsung S22D300 + 17.3' LG Phillips
    Screen Resolution
    multiple resolutions
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 250GB + Hitachi HDD 750GB
    PSU
    120W adapter
    Case
    small
    Cooling
    laptop cooling pad
    Keyboard
    Backlit built-in + big one in USB
    Mouse
    SteelSeries Sensei
    Internet Speed
    slow and steady
    Browser
    Chromium, Pale Moon, Firefox Developer Edition
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    That's basically it.