Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


My product key is a 'default' product key. Why?

  1. #1

    My product key is a 'default' product key. Why?


    I bought my Acer Aspire notebook with Win8 & a touchscreen new in Jan.2013. I have never been able to activate the product key, (it is being blocked). I have since found out that the number I located in the BIOS is a 'default' product key & is plastered all over the internet & certainly doesn't appear to be my unique personal number. Why would it be a default number, & why is it on my laptop? When I first rec'd it, it wouldn't complete installation of Windows 8. It was picked up & sent to Acer, Plymouth for checking. This is what they did:
    Passed Hitachi hard drive test, memtest & all other hardware tests. Re-imaged hard-drive & performed software recovery. Updated BIOS.
    When I got it back everything was working ok, except for the product key activation. I've been using it ever since Jan.
    with only other problem. Could something they did in Plymouth be the cause of this problem?
    Acer has sent me Windows Recovery disks to do a factory reset, but I've already done a factory reset for another problem & that didn't activate the machine, so why should another reset fix it?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


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


    I would return to Acer for repair or replacement.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


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


    It should have been activated from the factory, unless you mean it wouldn't activate after doing the factory restore. What utility or program did you use to retrieve your embedded product code? Some only read the key the PC is currently using, what is stored in the registry, that may or may not be the same key embedded in the BIOS. I'd be calling Acer about it not activating.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    If it never had been activated, I would take it straight back to the store and get every penny of my cash BACK.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


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


    on returning it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    I used ShowKey.vbs that David Bailey advised my to use to reveal my Product Key. It seemed genuine, because the last set of 5 figures were the same as on my PC Settings screen where it asked my to activate. (But maybe those 5 figures are wrong too!)
    What exactly do you by mean by this alphanumeric?: 'Some only read the key the PC is currently using, what is stored in the registry, that may or may not be the same key embedded in the BIOS'.
    I have already contacted Acer about it not activating, they have sent me recovery discs, but I don't want to use them unless I really have to. I'm not convinced anyway that they would solve this specific problem!
    As I asked before: What is a default product key, & what is it used for? And why do I show one?
    On another post in this forum it was stated: Default keys cannot be used for activation. Is this orrect?
    This was stated by 'Mystere' in a former post: 'If you have an OEM copy of Windows, the product key is stored in your BIOS, thus it is no longer necessary to enter a product key.'
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


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


    The vbs script shows me my Product Key for my Windows 8 Pro.
    It matches exactly the Key that came with 8 Pro when I bought it.

    I used to have Windows 8 OEM with its' Key.
    That Key is no longer used.

    If I did a Factory Reset the old Key would be needed.
    Which is in the OEM version.

    Did you enter the whole Key the vbs showed or did you just use the last 5 numbers with 20 different numbers in front of the last 5 ?

    A picture of the email from Microsoft giving me my new Key:

    Click image for larger version
    Last edited by David Bailey; 26 Sep 2013 at 06:13.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


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


    Quote Originally Posted by robinpe View Post
    I used ShowKey.vbs that David Bailey advised my to use to reveal my Product Key. It seemed genuine, because the last set of 5 figures were the same as on my PC Settings screen where it asked my to activate. (But maybe those 5 figures are wrong too!)
    What exactly do you by mean by this alphanumeric?: 'Some only read the key the PC is currently using, what is stored in the registry, that may or may not be the same key embedded in the BIOS'.
    I have already contacted Acer about it not activating, they have sent me recovery discs, but I don't want to use them unless I really have to. I'm not convinced anyway that they would solve this specific problem!
    As I asked before: What is a default product key, & what is it used for? And why do I show one?
    On another post in this forum it was stated: Default keys cannot be used for activation. Is this orrect?
    This was stated by 'Mystere' in a former post: 'If you have an OEM copy of Windows, the product key is stored in your BIOS, thus it is no longer necessary to enter a product key.'
    My laptop came with 8 core. I used a TechNet key to upgrade to 8 Pro though add features. I then upgraded again by adding Media Center. If I run that script it shows my Media Center key not the embedded key. It reads the key that was last entered and is stored in the registry not the one stored in the BIOS. On a factory install that hasn't been upgraded though add features it should read the factory key. What you're getting right now when you run it, I'm not sure if that is the embedded key?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


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


    Just a thought.

    If you get frustrated enough, you could just take it to a computer repair shop & let them fix it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


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


    In reply to your question about the default product key; At one time you could install Windows without entering a product key. You could just leave it blank and Windows would use a default key. The default key would not activate so you were time limited as to how long you could run Windows before entering a key and activating. Basically a trial install. Windows 8 won't let you do that unless you modify the install media. Because it is multi edition (8 + 8Pro) it has to know what edition to install. Normally the product key tells it that. If you modify the install media to show the selection menu and bypass the requirement for a key it uses a default key that will not activate. That's my understanding anyway. Embedded keys will be read by unmodified official install media. My Windows 8 TechNet ISO's read my laptops embedded key just fine. I have no idea how recovery media handles that though. With OA 2.1 and Windows 7 and lower, all PC's by the same manufacturer have the same SLP product code. With OA 3.0 and Windows 8, each PC has its own unique embedded code. I'm guessing Windows looks for and reads the embedded key every time it boots up. Otherwise you'd need custom recovery media matched to each PC.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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My product key is a 'default' product key. Why?
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