Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


BIOS-embedded Windows 8 product keys - reinstall troubles?

  1. #81


    Posts : 91
    windows 7 & 8


    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    Embedded, OEM keys do have advantages. For one, you'll never lose it. Or have to worry about the number being rubbed off of a worn COA sticker to where you can't read it. If you have legit official install media you normally don't need to even know what it is. Microsoft install media will read and use it automatically. The one big drawback, at this time, is the OEM's not supplying real install media with a new PC. This isn't anything new though. They did it with Windows 7 too. And even when you got disks a lot of the time they were recovery disks not Windows install Media. The embedded keys actually make life easier. With Windows 7 and earlier, to use the OEM BIOS SLIC table you had to nave custom install media from that OEM, Normal Windows Retail disks won't use the SLIC table. If you had one of those disks you had to use the code on the COA sticker, if you could read it that is. If it was missing or worn so you couldn't read it you were SOL and had to buy a new Windows License. With the embedded key, it always going to be there and always usable.
    I will grant you, that embedded OEMs may have its advantages, but it does not mean they can't tell you what the embedded key is. It is almost deceitful, why make my machine such a big mystery? Why not give us the key? It is a simple matter of control, company control.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #82


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


    Quote Originally Posted by RBS View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    Embedded, OEM keys do have advantages. For one, you'll never lose it. Or have to worry about the number being rubbed off of a worn COA sticker to where you can't read it. If you have legit official install media you normally don't need to even know what it is. Microsoft install media will read and use it automatically. The one big drawback, at this time, is the OEM's not supplying real install media with a new PC. This isn't anything new though. They did it with Windows 7 too. And even when you got disks a lot of the time they were recovery disks not Windows install Media. The embedded keys actually make life easier. With Windows 7 and earlier, to use the OEM BIOS SLIC table you had to nave custom install media from that OEM, Normal Windows Retail disks won't use the SLIC table. If you had one of those disks you had to use the code on the COA sticker, if you could read it that is. If it was missing or worn so you couldn't read it you were SOL and had to buy a new Windows License. With the embedded key, it always going to be there and always usable.
    I will grant you, that embedded OEMs may have its advantages, but it does not mean they can't tell you what the embedded key is. It is almost deceitful, why make my machine such a big mystery? Why not give us the key? It is a simple matter of control, company control.
    I'm just surmising but in the first place, before Windows 8.1 was released, you didn't need to know what it was. The only time you need to know it is to activate 8.1 with your 8.0 key. In the past, the product code on the COA sticker on an OEM PC, was not the product code that that PC activated with. They did not match. It didn't matter what PC the sticker went on as long as the version matched the installed version. Each OEM had a common key they used as part of the SLIC table and OEM activation. With windows 8 they changed that. Each PC now has a unique key. If they were going to print the code on the COA sticker they would have to match the sticker to the PC with that code. Guess what happens it you mess that up and a sticker gets out of sequence. You have a bunch or PC's where the sticker doesn't match the actual code in the BIOS. That would cause a lot of issues. The code on the sticker would not work on that PC as its already in use on another. Think of the complaints over that. It's much easier to just put a common COA sticker on each PC. If you were to call the OEM and ask what is my code, how are they going to know? They shipped millions or more of that model PC. Its not as easy as you might think for them to just look it up. I don't think they are deliberately trying to hide it from you. It is easily retrievable with utilities posted on this site.
    Product Key - Find for Windows 8

    If they didn't want you to know what it was it would be encrypted in the BIOS, it's not, it's in plain text.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #83


    Posts : 91
    windows 7 & 8


    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RBS View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    Embedded, OEM keys do have advantages. For one, you'll never lose it. Or have to worry about the number being rubbed off of a worn COA sticker to where you can't read it. If you have legit official install media you normally don't need to even know what it is. Microsoft install media will read and use it automatically. The one big drawback, at this time, is the OEM's not supplying real install media with a new PC. This isn't anything new though. They did it with Windows 7 too. And even when you got disks a lot of the time they were recovery disks not Windows install Media. The embedded keys actually make life easier. With Windows 7 and earlier, to use the OEM BIOS SLIC table you had to nave custom install media from that OEM, Normal Windows Retail disks won't use the SLIC table. If you had one of those disks you had to use the code on the COA sticker, if you could read it that is. If it was missing or worn so you couldn't read it you were SOL and had to buy a new Windows License. With the embedded key, it always going to be there and always usable.
    I will grant you, that embedded OEMs may have its advantages, but it does not mean they can't tell you what the embedded key is. It is almost deceitful, why make my machine such a big mystery? Why not give us the key? It is a simple matter of control, company control.
    I'm just surmising but in the first place, before Windows 8.1 was released, you didn't need to know what it was. The only time you need to know it is to activate 8.1 with your 8.0 key. In the past, the product code on the COA sticker on an OEM PC, was not the product code that that PC activated with. They did not match. It didn't matter what PC the sticker went on as long as the version matched the installed version. Each OEM had a common key they used as part of the SLIC table and OEM activation. With windows 8 they changed that. Each PC now has a unique key. If they were going to print the code on the COA sticker they would have to match the sticker to the PC with that code. Guess what happens it you mess that up and a sticker gets out of sequence. You have a bunch or PC's where the sticker doesn't match the actual code in the BIOS. That would cause a lot of issues. The code on the sticker would not work on that PC as its already in use on another. Think of the complaints over that. It's much easier to just put a common COA sticker on each PC. If you were to call the OEM and ask what is my code, how are they going to know? They shipped millions or more of that model PC. Its not as easy as you might think for them to just look it up. I don't think they are deliberately trying to hide it from you. It is easily retrievable with utilities posted on this site.
    Product Key - Find for Windows 8

    If they didn't want you to know what it was it would be encrypted in the BIOS, it's not, it's in plain text.
    Maybe Windows 9 will be free and the subject will be mute

    I guess my real gripe is, that Media Center was free on Windows 7 and now you have to purchase and upgrade to Pro then you have purchase Media Center, and re-installs are all tied to the same machine. Sorry I even had an opinion on the topic.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #84


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    Quote Originally Posted by RBS View Post
    Maybe Windows 9 will be free and the subject will be mute

    I guess my real gripe is, that Media Center was free on Windows 7 and now you have to purchase and upgrade to Pro then you have purchase Media Center, and re-installs are all tied to the same machine. Sorry I even had an opinion on the topic.
    I hear you in a way. Although, I've hardly ever used Media Center even on 7, personally don't like it and have always found other software that I liked more. Probably catch flak but I wouldn't pay $5 for Media Center.
    Another case of hard to please everyone.

    EDIT: Just added info. I watch OTA television and found setting up MCE was clunky and a nightmare. Way too many steps and questions, then if you want to change anything, back through the whole mess again. No thanks!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #85


    Posts : 91
    windows 7 & 8


    Quote Originally Posted by popeye View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RBS View Post
    Maybe Windows 9 will be free and the subject will be mute

    I guess my real gripe is, that Media Center was free on Windows 7 and now you have to purchase and upgrade to Pro then you have purchase Media Center, and re-installs are all tied to the same machine. Sorry I even had an opinion on the topic.
    I hear you in a way. Although, I've hardly ever used Media Center even on 7, personally don't like it and have always found other software that I liked more. Probably catch flak but I wouldn't pay $5 for Media Center.
    Another case of hard to please everyone.

    EDIT: Just added info. I watch OTA television and found setting up MCE was clunky and a nightmare. Way too many steps and questions, then if you want to change anything, back through the whole mess again. No thanks!
    We have Comcast HD and it saves us $40 a month in set top box fees. We use Silicondust's HD Homerun Prime's to attach units to network and it was easy, they had precise instructions and great support. We can record up to several weeks in advance and have an extensive dvd collection that it works well with. We love it. The entire household prefer it, over the set top boxes, it seemed every unit had reception problems, with WMC we have perfect pictures.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #86


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    I use Easy HDTV DVR with the SiliconDust HDHR3-US. Love it for its simplicity but not sure it would work in your situation. Oh well, I guess we digress from the thread, just trading experiences now.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #87


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


    I snagged 4 Media Center Keys when Microsoft was offering them up for free. For what I use Media Center for I likely wouldn't buy it. I'll happily use the free upgrades I do have though. I agree that keeping track of what key was used on what PC can be a pain, but I'm sure you can see why they do it that way. Your only supposed to use any one key on any one PC at any one time. New use on different hardware looks like a second install. If you do a reinstall on one of your PC's, and then upgrade to Pro with a key already used on one of your other PC\s. Its technically using that key on two PC's at once, which isn't allowed. If you use the same key used on that PC the first time it was upgraded to Pro you won't have any issues activating. If Microsoft didn't track what key was used on what PC people would just use the same key all their PC's and get one or more free upgrades. Checks and balances.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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BIOS-embedded Windows 8 product keys - reinstall troubles?
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