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Upgraded my Dell - now Windows 7 won't activate upon reinstall!

Last response: in Windows 7
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December 4, 2013 4:04:33 PM

Hey guys, hope this is in the right forum (instead of the hardware section).

I bought a Dell 545 about 3 years ago, warranty expired in 2011. I just upgraded pretty much everything, save for the case - new Gigabyte Z87 motherboard with a Haswell i5, new ram, SSD and a Powercolor 7950. The only 'original' part is the 500gb harddrive that came with the system, now relegated to being a storage drive.

Prior to doing the upgrades, I ran a tool to get the CD key from the OEM version of Windows 7 Home Premium that shipped with the CPU (and realized after that it's printed on the top of the case with the COA). I didn't get a disc with the system originally, so I downloaded a Win 7 HP .iso from Microsoft and put it on a DVD to reinstall on the new SSD. Got everything put together today without a hitch, Windows is installed and working great - went to activate online, and, as expected, got an error. I've read about how, after changing the motherboard of a mainstream PC that comes with Windows preinstalled, you often need to call up Microsoft for activation, as the copy of Windows that comes with the big-name systems is an OEM copy and tied to that motherboard/BIOS.

I rang up Microsoft, gave them the CD key....and they said it was 'blocked'. No real explanation or anything; I gave them my info and explained that I'm just trying to reinstall Windows on the same system, for personal use, after telling them I couldn't get a replacement motherboard from Dell and had upgraded most of the hardware. They told me again that the version is 'blocked' and to call Dell about it. I gave up earlier than I usually would, and called up Dell. They redirected me to the 'out of warranty' department, where they wanted to sell me a 'pre-activated' version on a disc, OEM branded, for around $70 shipped. I was pretty choked.

What do you guys figure I can do at this point? I realize now that the .iso I downloaded and installed is likely a retail version of Windows 7 HP and, as such, my key wouldn't work anyway, but Microsoft said my key is 'blocked' before I even gave them any of that info. Short of calling them up again and yelling until I get a solution, I'm not sure where to go. I don't think Dell will offer a solution, other than paying for a 'pre-activated' OEM copy that may or may not work with my hardware (I even asked the Dell tech if it would work with my non-Dell motherboard/SSD and he said 'yes'). When I bought my computer, I also purchased the licence to use Windows 7, so I kinda feel like I'm getting the short end of the stick here. Any advice? And no, I'm not 'upgrading' to Windows 8.
December 4, 2013 4:09:37 PM

Hi. Call Microsoft and Buy a key, if it is cheaper than what Dell is trying to get. It seems that you will get no joy until somebody gets their pound of flesh.
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a b $ Windows 7
December 4, 2013 4:11:09 PM

What you can do is buy a legit windows license
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December 4, 2013 4:21:43 PM

Outlander_04 said:
What you can do is buy a legit windows license


That is what I meant by buying a key. Should have said license I guess. I don't know what Microsoft sells those things for.
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December 4, 2013 11:39:06 PM

1. Why would I buy it when I already bought the licence to use it when I originally bought that Dell?
2. Microsoft doesn't sell Windows 7 anymore.
3. If they did, the retail version of Windows 7 Home Premium is/was more than 3 times the cost of the OEM disc from Dell. If I wasn't willing to pay $70 for that, why would I pay triple for a retail copy?

Seriously, when someone has a question about malfunctioning software, do you just answer every post with "buy another one"? You guys would be awesome on other forums..."my hot water tank is broken, does anyone have good advice on a DIY repair for a heater core?" "Yeah, buy a new house." Or, "can someone reccomend any way to get a seized brake caliper free on a 2009 Mustang?" "Yeah, buy a new car." If you don't know a 'reasonable' solution in line with what a poster is asking for, and you clearly don't, then don't post crap.
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a b $ Windows 7
December 4, 2013 11:49:37 PM

You bought a licence to use Windows 7 on a particular computer (and because of that it was considerably cheaper than a retail licence). You are now trying to use that key on a new computer. It's just not going to happen. The licensing conditions of OEM versions of Windows are quite clear.

You need to buy a new key for your new computer (or switch to Linux).
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a b $ Windows 7
December 5, 2013 12:50:30 AM

An OEM license is tied to the hardware it was activated on. When you switched out the hardware, it broke that activation. You need to purchase a new copy of windows.
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a b $ Windows 7
December 5, 2013 1:32:34 AM

If you buy an OEM copy of Win 8 [ actually there is no such thing its a "home user license"] you can move it to new hardware twice .

So if you do buy then buy 8 , not 7
Then of course you uninstall all the stupid full screen apps and use a program like Classic Shell to add a start button and you have Win 7 on steroids
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December 5, 2013 6:57:16 AM

I still have three machines ( 2 Laptops and a Desktop ) running Vista. I will upgrade them to Windows 7. I have been following the trials and tribulations of Windows 8 on a board I moderate and have not been impressed. In my opinion, including Metro was a deal breaker for me. Trying to cover too many platforms with a single OS. That can never be good.
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a b $ Windows 7
December 5, 2013 7:32:16 AM

I hope that on the board you moderate you don't allow threads to wander too far off topic. ;) 
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a b $ Windows 7
December 5, 2013 7:44:38 AM

ComputerSaysNo said:

1. Why would I buy it when I already bought the licence to use it when I originally bought that Dell?

The license was for the PC as it existed when you bought it and is tied to the original motherboard. You replaced the motherboard and therefore now have a new computer. The original license is now null and void.


ComputerSaysNo said:

2. Microsoft doesn't sell Windows 7 anymore.

No, but others still have stock and will gladly sell to you.


ComputerSaysNo said:

3. If they did, the retail version of Windows 7 Home Premium is/was more than 3 times the cost of the OEM disc from Dell. If I wasn't willing to pay $70 for that, why would I pay triple for a retail copy?

Looks like your SOL then. Either pay up or switch back to the original motherboard and license.
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December 5, 2013 9:25:16 AM

Ijack said:
I hope that on the board you moderate you don't allow threads to wander too far off topic. ;) 


[chuckle] Try to keep things on topic, but they can and will drift at times. :) 
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a b $ Windows 7
December 7, 2013 1:09:57 AM

coastie65 said:
I still have three machines ( 2 Laptops and a Desktop ) running Vista. I will upgrade them to Windows 7. I have been following the trials and tribulations of Windows 8 on a board I moderate and have not been impressed. In my opinion, including Metro was a deal breaker for me. Trying to cover too many platforms with a single OS. That can never be good.


I have been using 8 for a year now .

A free start button program called classic shell was added on the first day .

There have been some very minor issues . No more than any OS might have experienced before updates and patches .
The only reason to use 7 is so you get media center bundled . IMO everyone else is better with 8 even if microsofts set up is not that helpful to a desktop user
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December 7, 2013 6:13:46 AM

Outlander_04 said:
coastie65 said:
I still have three machines ( 2 Laptops and a Desktop ) running Vista. I will upgrade them to Windows 7. I have been following the trials and tribulations of Windows 8 on a board I moderate and have not been impressed. In my opinion, including Metro was a deal breaker for me. Trying to cover too many platforms with a single OS. That can never be good.


I have been using 8 for a year now .

A free start button program called classic shell was added on the first day .

There have been some very minor issues . No more than any OS might have experienced before updates and patches .
The only reason to use 7 is so you get media center bundled . IMO everyone else is better with 8 even if microsofts set up is not that helpful to a desktop user


I've heard that 8.1 has taken care of a lot of things, but with Metro is better suited to the needs of those using some Touch screen things. Windows 7 was in good shape out of the box. There was a lot of good feed back during the developement and in the Beta. Vista wasn't all that bad after SP2, but still was slow and used a lot more resources than most of the previous OS's. I don't like a lot of what I've read about Windows 8, but at the same time. if someone comes in and just outright trashes it, I don't pay much attention to it. I heard that they dropped Media Center and that is a deal breaker for me as I use it ( I had a desktop with XP MCE 2005 until I gave it to my sister recently ). I moderate on another board that will be closing it's doors by the end of the month, and we had a discussion on Windows 8. Several members were running it, and the opinions were about 50 / 50.
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a b $ Windows 7
December 7, 2013 11:13:06 AM

Alright guys, lets try to stay on topic.
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