Solved

This Product Key cannot be used to install a retail version of Windows 8

I have an Asus N550J laptop with Windows 8 pre-installed, I would like to replace the HDD with an SSD, I also will be replacing the optical drive with a second hard drive so I need to install via USB.

I go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows-8/upgrade-product-key-only and dowwnload Windows8-setup exe and enter my Windows 8 Product key (obtained using Belarc Advisor)

The set up gives me the notification "This Product Key cannot be used to install a retail version of Windows 8"

What steps do I have to take to get Windows 8 downloaded and installed on this PC?

I do have a retail version of Windows 8 on another machine and I could use that code to download but fear I wont be able to install and activate once I have the file downloaded.

Thank you for any advice or tips
19 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about product key install retail version windows
  1. You'll need to find an OEM version of Win 8 to download (or get the mfg recovery disks). forum.mydigitallife.info usually has all the windows downloads.
  2. You need to use the pre-installed tools on the laptop to burn a DVD/USB from the built-in recovery partition.
  3. Best answer
    The OS was activated @ factory using an OEM code. The Belarc Advisory gives you that code, which doesn't work for reinstalling. There should be a code under the battery or a sticker underneath with a different one that works for reinstalls.
  4. Have you tried the key on the bottom of your Laptop?
  5. Supermuncher85 said:
    The OS was activated @ factory using an OEM code. The Belarc Advisory gives you that code, which doesn't work for reinstalling. There should be a code under the battery or a sticker underneath with a different one that works for reinstalls.


    Windows 8 PCs no longer have the code printed on them (since it's embedded in the BIOS). They just have a sticker with a Windows 8 logo and nothing else
  6. PCs with Windows 8.x pre-installed have the product key embedded in the BIOS. If you boot from a Windows 8 disk that will pick up the key in the BIOS automatically. What you might have here is an OEM vs retail issue, the Upgrade Assistant installs a retail version while the key in the laptop is OEM.

    However, if your laptop came with a recovery media creator just use that to either burn a set of recovery disks or a recovery USB stick. Many laptops and desktops have a utility to create a recovery backup from the built-in restore partition.
  7. Thanks for the info Schiz, I've done my best to avoid windows8 and just assumed it was the same as it was for windows7.
  8. Thank you everyone for your replies

    I have used a few different tools to obtain key all of them have resulted in the same 25 char key, as well as an OEM code, I am using the key, not the code.

    This Laptop does not have a removable battery as such I have yet to find the sticker people speak about or that my Lenovo laptop has under its battery.

    Will the recovery media creator allow me to do a fresh factory install of my OS that I can then apply updates to following? I have never in my years used a recovery media creator as I've just always done fresh installs, but Windows 8 seems to be more problematic or at least so on the surface vs other Windows products
  9. The recovery media creator will install a copy of the original factory image (just as when you first started the machine). You can update it uninstall bloatware, all the same way you did to the original hard drive.
  10. @Schiztech used the recovery media creator and created a USB key as directed, when I use the key it says that the device can't find the recovery partition which is expected since I put the new SSD into the machine. would the recovery media tool not recognize a SSD as a drive capable?
  11. Well the SSD will show up the same as a HDD (except now it's blank). Are you sure you're booting into the recovery thumb drive properly? Press Esc on bootup to get the boot menu and select the flash drive
  12. SchizTech said:
    Well the SSD will show up the same as a HDD (except now it's blank). Are you sure you're booting into the recovery thumb drive properly? Press Esc on bootup to get the boot menu and select the flash drive


    Yes.
    I just put the old HDD back in and did the same process as before and it is now formatting and doing a fresh recovery on the old HDD.

    I think I will need to go looking up Haswell Asus motherboards and see if there is a bios update or something for SSD's. As the SSD never showed up in the boot menu options
  13. Go into the BIOS by pressing F2 on boot and see if the SSD shows up. You might have a faulty SSD if i t doesn't. It shouldn't need a bios update.
  14. What model is your SSD?
  15. SchizTech said:
    Go into the BIOS by pressing F2 on boot and see if the SSD shows up. You might have a faulty SSD if i t doesn't. It shouldn't need a bios update.



    I know the SSD isn't faulty because I just put it into my Lenovo laptop and it booted back up with it.

    On ASUS you press delete to access the BIOS, I have to wait for the format/reinstall the ASUS primary drive before I can go playing again and figure out what the issue it with the BIOS and seeing this Samsung SSD
  16. On my ASUS desktop board either F2 or Delete works. Anyway, I was thinking Secure Boot might need to be disabled and the flash drive booted in legacy BIOS mode but you said you booted that with the HDD. Are you sure you haven't booted from the built-in recovery on the HDD?
  17. I just searched "N550J SSD" and found this hint on google:

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/asus/738016-asus-n550jv-ssd-upgrade.html

    "Asus has stated that the best approach to this is to use the Windows Recovery tool to create an image of the entire drive; essentially clone the whole thing, since their former AI Recovery software does not work under Windows 8. <- A little late to throw out there now, but I'm glad you've got the system working for you at least. "
  18. I have the same problem too, my hard drive is about to fail so I created a recovery USB and when I installed my new HDD, it sayed the device can't find the recovery partition which is expected since I put the new SSD into the machine. So tried to put the install file on a USB from the Microsoft site and it says I can't because of retail version or something like that. I have OEM installed. I am not really good with those things so hopefully someone can help me.
Ask a new question

Read More

Windows 8 Hard Drives