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Dell Optiplex 64-bit 755 product key "invalid" for 7.1 Dell recovery/reinstall disk

A while back, I bought a used Dell 64-bit Optiplex without a hard drive. It was a former business machine, and the seller told me the hard disk had been removed and destroyed. I installed a hard drive of my own and then installed 32-bit XP from a full-install disk, used the product key from the disk's package to activate it, and all was well.

Then Microsoft ended support for XP. Recently I decided to upgrade to Windows 7.1. I bought a Dell recovery/reinstall disk for 64-bit 7.1, and installation went without a hitch. However, when I repeatedly tried to enter the product key to activate the new OS, the activation site kept telling me that I have an invalid key. It's now past the deadline for activation, and I'm pretty annoyed that I no longer have full functionality for this machine.

Is this because I'm not using the original hard disk?

Is there any way to work around this, or will I simply have to get a full install 64-bit disk for 7.1?
3 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Nope, you don't need the original hard drive that the computer came with. There is no legal work-around for this. Windows 7[.1] does not upgrade directly from Windows XP. A recovery/re-install disc isn't going to work. Also, there is no Windows 7.1, there is a Windows 8.1 though. I recommend you contact either Microsoft or whoever you bought that disc from and hash it out with them. A lot of Windows 7 and 8/8.1 activation codes are not printed on the machine but are hard coded into the computer's hardware itself so you may need to buy a legitimate copy of Windows 7. Don't blame the lack of functionality on the computer here. It's just telling you that you can't do what you're trying to do.
  2. Zooshooter said:
    Nope, you don't need the original hard drive that the computer came with. There is no legal work-around for this. Windows 7[.1] does not upgrade directly from Windows XP. A recovery/re-install disc isn't going to work. Also, there is no Windows 7.1, there is a Windows 8.1 though. I recommend you contact either Microsoft or whoever you bought that disc from and hash it out with them. A lot of Windows 7 and 8/8.1 activation codes are not printed on the machine but are hard coded into the computer's hardware itself so you may need to buy a legitimate copy of Windows 7. Don't blame the lack of functionality on the computer here. It's just telling you that you can't do what you're trying to do.


    I was doing a clean install, not upgrading directly from XP.

    A search on Google for Windows 7.1 (Windows 7, service pack 1) returned more than 64,000,000 hits.

    The 7.1 disk is a legitimate reinstallation disk issued by Dell for use with Dell machines. Perhaps the problem is that the 755 originally shipped with Vista 32 or 64 bit software, and the product key won't work with anything later.

    I wasn't blaming the lack of functionality on the machine. I am simply somewhat frustrated that my machine now lacks full functionality, whatever the reason. If in the end I'll have to buy the full install version of 64-bit 7.1, so be it, but I want to make sure that's the only workable solution before I spend the money.

    At least the issue about the hard drive is resolved. Thank you for that.
  3. Best answer
    Luger_Axhandle said:
    Zooshooter said:
    Nope, you don't need the original hard drive that the computer came with. There is no legal work-around for this. Windows 7[.1] does not upgrade directly from Windows XP. A recovery/re-install disc isn't going to work. Also, there is no Windows 7.1, there is a Windows 8.1 though. I recommend you contact either Microsoft or whoever you bought that disc from and hash it out with them. A lot of Windows 7 and 8/8.1 activation codes are not printed on the machine but are hard coded into the computer's hardware itself so you may need to buy a legitimate copy of Windows 7. Don't blame the lack of functionality on the computer here. It's just telling you that you can't do what you're trying to do.


    I was doing a clean install, not upgrading directly from XP.

    A search on Google for Windows 7.1 (Windows 7, service pack 1) returned more than 64,000,000 hits.

    The 7.1 disk is a legitimate reinstallation disk issued by Dell for use with Dell machines. Perhaps the problem is that the 755 originally shipped with Vista 32 or 64 bit software, and the product key won't work with anything later.

    I wasn't blaming the lack of functionality on the machine. I am simply somewhat frustrated that my machine now lacks full functionality, whatever the reason. If in the end I'll have to buy the full install version of 64-bit 7.1, so be it, but I want to make sure that's the only workable solution before I spend the money.

    At least the issue about the hard drive is resolved. Thank you for that.


    Either way, I'd still talk to whoever you bought the Dell disc from. If it's a legitimate disc and activation code then it might work. However, so far as I know, Dell doesn't sell its recovery discs. You can request one on their website, but there is no cost associated with it. If you actually paid cash for it then you got fleeced. Those discs are free from Dell but the system service tag has to match a system that came with the operating system being requested, which would end up making this pirated software.
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