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BIOS-embedded Windows 8 product keys - reinstall troubles?

  1. #1


    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10

    BIOS-embedded Windows 8 product keys - reinstall troubles?


    Those purchasing Windows 8 PCs are noticing that the small "Certificate of Authenticity" that is normally home to the product key is missing, and instead a "Genuine Microsoft" label has replaced it.

    This seems to be a cause of concern, and is prompting a number of questions.

    Rather than using a sticker, PC manufacturers are instead embedding the product key -- associated with a fingerprint of the hardware -- into the BIOS/UEFI firmware on the motherboard. This is part of Microsoft new OEM Activation 3.0 (OA 3.0) mechanism and has been designed to combat piracy and, according to my OEM contacts, makes it easier for OEMs to order new keys from Microsoft, and even return unused keys back to Microsoft.

    But what does it mean to the end user?


    Read more at source:
    Will BIOS-embedded Windows 8 product keys cause reinstall troubles? | ZDNet

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  2. #2


    Ontario, Canada
    Posts : 20
    Windows 8 Professional 64b


    I would imagine that there shouldn't be any issues with re-installations as long as the user is using recovery media that came with the unit. Embedding the product key into the BIOS shouldn't have any issues as long as any firmware upgrades from the manufacturer take into account that the key needs to be migrated some how.
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  3. #3


    Posts : 740
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by fragment137 View Post
    I would imagine that there shouldn't be any issues with re-installations as long as the user is using recovery media that came with the unit. Embedding the product key into the BIOS shouldn't have any issues as long as any firmware upgrades from the manufacturer take into account that the key needs to be migrated some how.
    1. What if you want to do a clean install?

    2. Is it really possible for a bad firmware upgrade to wipe the key?
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  4. #4


    Posts : 835
    Win 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by FuturDreamz View Post
    1. What if you want to do a clean install?
    Should not be an issue since Win8 can do a clean install on itself.

    2. Is it really possible for a bad firmware upgrade to wipe the key?
    Yes, which is why I would check that the mobo has Dual Bios for a backup.
    imo, that should be standard by now.
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  5. #5


    Ontario, Canada
    Posts : 20
    Windows 8 Professional 64b


    Quote Originally Posted by Tepid View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by FuturDreamz View Post
    1. What if you want to do a clean install?
    Should not be an issue since Win8 can do a clean install on itself.

    2. Is it really possible for a bad firmware upgrade to wipe the key?
    Yes, which is why I would check that the mobo has Dual Bios for a backup.
    imo, that should be standard by now.
    Is there a way to visually read the key if it's embedded in the BIOS? Usually if I want to do a fresh install on a machine and I can't see the key on the machine, I'll just use ProduKey or something along those lines to pull the key out of the OS
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  6. #6


    Posts : 740
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by fragment137 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tepid View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by FuturDreamz View Post
    1. What if you want to do a clean install?
    Should not be an issue since Win8 can do a clean install on itself.

    2. Is it really possible for a bad firmware upgrade to wipe the key?
    Yes, which is why I would check that the mobo has Dual Bios for a backup.
    imo, that should be standard by now.
    Is there a way to visually read the key if it's embedded in the BIOS? Usually if I want to do a fresh install on a machine and I can't see the key on the machine, I'll just use ProduKey or something along those lines to pull the key out of the OS
    Can ProduKey reflash the BIOS with the key?

    If a manufacturer ****s up your key, they will be obligated to fix it for you and will not provide a reflashing tool for the few people that copied their key.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Ontario, Canada
    Posts : 20
    Windows 8 Professional 64b


    Quote Originally Posted by FuturDreamz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fragment137 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tepid View Post
    Should not be an issue since Win8 can do a clean install on itself.



    Yes, which is why I would check that the mobo has Dual Bios for a backup.
    imo, that should be standard by now.
    Is there a way to visually read the key if it's embedded in the BIOS? Usually if I want to do a fresh install on a machine and I can't see the key on the machine, I'll just use ProduKey or something along those lines to pull the key out of the OS
    Can ProduKey reflash the BIOS with the key?

    If a manufacturer ****s up your key, they will be obligated to fix it for you and will not provide a reflashing tool for the few people that copied their key.
    I don't pretend to completely understand the Windows authentication process, but if the key is embedded in the BIOS and not stored anywhere in the OS it definitely does pose a problem in terms of retrieval in those types of situations. It might ebb the controversy of there being no warranty on software.
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  8. #8


    Posts : 5,592
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by fragmeent137
    I'll just use ProduKey or something along those lines to pull the key out of the OS
    Only works for non- manufacturer OEM keys.

    You can not use the factory OEM-SLP activation method Product Key that Belarc, may/may not find to reinstall Windows.
    System Locked Pre-installation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  9. #9


    Posts : 142
    Windows 8 Enterprise 64-bit (7 Ult, Vista & XP in V-Box)


    I don't like the idea at all, and can foresee major issues being had with it.

    And I see no benefit whatsoever for the end-user.
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  10. #10


    Posts : 740
    Windows 8.1


    Wouldn't that mean that replacement motherboards would have to ship with their own keys?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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BIOS-embedded Windows 8 product keys - reinstall troubles?
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