Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


8.1 OEM key install on another machine?

  1. #1


    Posts : 3
    Windows 8.1

    8.1 OEM key install on another machine?


    So I got my hands on an HP laptop that used to belong to a family member of mine. Unfortunately they dropped the laptop, shattered the screen and broke the chassis and chose to just get a new one and gave it to me. Fortunately the thing still turns on so I figured I'd pull the Windows key off it and salvage the thing.

    I was able to do this and got the key off it. I downloaded a Windows 8.1 ISO using the media creation tool and installed on my main PC. Created an ei.cfg file and set that parameters to core/OEM/0. Problem is the activation isn't accepting the key. I get an error saying "this key cannot be used to activate this edition of windows".

    I'm a little stumped. I know the OS wasn't Windows 8 pro or 8.1 Pro. It's got 8.1 core on it. Unless the laptop came with 8 installed, which I doubt because they don't have an internet connection (they used it to watch DVDs and play basic games on... o_0) so i know they didn't update to 8.1, it came preloaded. My guess is that the 8.1 OEM key issued to the machine is tied to the laptop via preactivation and UEFI bios. But if that's the case wouldn't I get a message saying the key is already in use?

    Things I've tried:

    creating ei.cfg file with both OEM and retail set as parameters.

    Going to the Upgrade Windows with only a product key - Windows Help site. Got error saying "This key cannot be used to install a retail version of Windows 8.1"

    What I'm trying now:

    Finding a Windows 8.1 OEM ISO.

    Anyone got any input?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


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


    Not legal, OEM keys are non transferable, especially the OEM embedded keys. That key is locked to the original motherboard. Your wasting your time trying to activate that key on new hardware.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 3
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    Not legal, OEM keys are non transferable, especially the OEM embedded keys. That key is locked to the original motherboard. Your wasting your time trying to activate that key on new hardware.

    How positive are you on that? Any sources? I find it hard to believe that you cannot own the copy of Windows your hardware comes with.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Canada
    Posts : 1,950
    windows 8.1 Update 1 Pro 64bit


    alphanumeric is very correct.
    Suggest you look at OEM license restrictions here:
    10 Ridiculous EULA Clauses That You May Have Already Agreed To
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


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


    If it had been a Retail version you purchased yourself, yes it would have been transferable. That's likely what you are thinking about. OEM (system builder) copies are tied to the first motherboard they are activated on. OEM editions installed at the factory are locked to the motherboard they shipped with. Even more so with windows 8 as the product key is embedded in the BIOS. The Microsoft activation server has a record of that key and a hardware fingerprint of the hardware it was installed on. If one doesn't match the other the activation request is rejected.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    You don't purchase a copy of Windows. You purchase the right to use it. As part of the agreement the OEM has with Microsoft there are restrictions on how that copy can be used, the principle one being that it is tied to the computer on which it was originally installed. It cannot be transferred to another even if the original is no longer in service. An OEM could include a full retail version of Windows with the computer but that would have substantially increased the price. In the current market that would be a very hard sell.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

8.1 OEM key install on another machine?
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