Installed Windows 8.1, hate it, want to go back, how can I know my product keys work?

I bought a used PC a few years ago with Windows 7 on it along with a sticker that had the product keys code for Windows 7 on it.

Well, I made the mistake of upgrading to Windows 8.1.
I hate it & want to go back, but I don't have the Windows 7 recovery discs on me.


I bought this Windows 7 Recovery Disc off eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/COMPLETE-Re-Install-WINDOWS-7-64-Bit-Home-Premium-Restore-Repair-Recovery-Disc-/261509829383?pt=US_Operating_Systems_Software&hash=item3ce3335307

This looks like it will re-install Windows 7, Is that correct (it's not a cheap imitation or anything like that)?

So I think I just need to enter the product key from the sticker on my PC when I get that reinstall disc in the mail.
Is there anyway to know the product keys still works? I heard there is a limit to how many times you use it.
20 answers Last reply
More about installed windows hate back product keys work
  1. What do you hate so much about Windows 8? I had my skepticism at first also. But once you learn how to use the start menu, its really quite nice. I've come to absolutely love it, with my big 23" touchscreen monitor. Its also a bit faster than windows 7.

    As for checking the product key. I think there is a key checker on windows website. Are you trying to install windows 7 on the same computer that the sticker is on?
  2. Completely unknown as to what that ebay 'recovery disk' is.

    If you have valid install media, your existing license key should work. At worst, you'll have to go through the phone robot to activate.
    Again....completely unknown as to what that ebay thing is. You may have just spent $10 for a set of tools that are freely available elsewhere.
  3. It may work. Depends on how the recovery disc has been created really.

    A limit on installations is not quite what it seems. If you have a 2 user licence then it means you can only install AND run on a maximum of 2 machines at anyone time, however if one of them fails and you need to replace the hardware you can install Windows on the new one because technically it will only be running on one of the originals since one of them broke
  4. How does windows know it's on two machines or on one?
  5. When it tries to activate online the servers it contacts keep a tally of how many times it has been activated
  6. RookieOfTheYear said:
    What do you hate so much about Windows 8? I had my skepticism at first also. But once you learn how to use the start menu, its really quite nice. I've come to absolutely love it, with my big 23" touchscreen monitor. Its also a bit faster than windows 7.

    As for checking the product key. I think there is a key checker on windows website. Are you trying to install windows 7 on the same computer that the sticker is on?


    Can you give me a link to thje key checker?
    Can't find anything googling it.
  7. CRT dude said:
    RookieOfTheYear said:
    What do you hate so much about Windows 8? I had my skepticism at first also. But once you learn how to use the start menu, its really quite nice. I've come to absolutely love it, with my big 23" touchscreen monitor. Its also a bit faster than windows 7.

    As for checking the product key. I think there is a key checker on windows website. Are you trying to install windows 7 on the same computer that the sticker is on?


    Can you give me a link to thje key checker?
    Can't find anything googling it.


    I believe the Microsoft Genuine Advantage Diagnostic Tool is what you're looking for. But that has to be run from inside the OS install in question. I don't think there is a place where you can enter a key and see if it is valid.

    Link to the tool can be found in a reply here:
    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_install/how-to-check-if-a-windows-7-license-valid/d7c96052-f4e8-413f-88ba-fd30cbc075c6?auth=1
  8. USAFRet said:
    Completely unknown as to what that ebay 'recovery disk' is.

    If you have valid install media, your existing license key should work. At worst, you'll have to go through the phone robot to activate.
    Again....completely unknown as to what that ebay thing is. You may have just spent $10 for a set of tools that are freely available elsewhere.



    WHELP

    So there is a chance this isn't a Windows 7 Home disc?

    The descriptions reads this

    "You are bidding on custom Re-Install, Repair and/or Restore Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium edition"


    I just assumed that it's just a DVD-R copy of Windows 7 Home Premium.
  9. CRT dude said:
    USAFRet said:
    Completely unknown as to what that ebay 'recovery disk' is.

    If you have valid install media, your existing license key should work. At worst, you'll have to go through the phone robot to activate.
    Again....completely unknown as to what that ebay thing is. You may have just spent $10 for a set of tools that are freely available elsewhere.



    WHELP

    So there is a chance this isn't a Windows 7 Home disc?

    The descriptions reads this

    "You are bidding on custom Re-Install, Repair and/or Restore Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium edition"


    I just assumed that it's just a DVD-R copy of Windows 7 Home Premium.


    Yes, that is a distinct possibility. As said...completely unknown as to what it is.
  10. USAFRet said:
    CRT dude said:
    USAFRet said:
    Completely unknown as to what that ebay 'recovery disk' is.

    If you have valid install media, your existing license key should work. At worst, you'll have to go through the phone robot to activate.
    Again....completely unknown as to what that ebay thing is. You may have just spent $10 for a set of tools that are freely available elsewhere.



    WHELP

    So there is a chance this isn't a Windows 7 Home disc?

    The descriptions reads this

    "You are bidding on custom Re-Install, Repair and/or Restore Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium edition"


    I just assumed that it's just a DVD-R copy of Windows 7 Home Premium.


    Yes, that is a distinct possibility. As said...completely unknown as to what it is.


    It's listed under Operating Systems & the guy has 100% feedback rating of over 3,000+.
    The wording is weird though.
    " It will reinstall your original computer settings as if you bought a new computer. This disc will allow you to re-install windows on a new hard drive. All you need is a product key code"

    Edit:
    It seems the listing has been updated.
    It now mentions this part
    This is a recovery disc does not include any license and/or certificate of authenticity.

    Does a recovery disc mean the same as a full new install disc? I do know if I bought an Windows 7 Upgrade disc, it would not install a new copy of windows 7 from scratch.
  11. CRT dude said:


    It's listed under Operating Systems & the guy has 100% feedback rating of over 3,000+.
    The wording is weird though.
    " It will reinstall your original computer settings as if you bought a new computer. This disc will allow you to re-install windows on a new hard drive. All you need is a product key code"

    Edit:
    It seems the listing has been updated.
    It now mentions this part
    This is a recovery disc does not include any license and/or certificate of authenticity.

    Does a recovery disc mean the same as a full new install disc? I do know if I bought an Windows 7 Upgrade disc, it would not install a new copy of windows 7 from scratch.


    You'll just have to wait until you get it and see what it actually is.
  12. It could be a disc that has had the efi.cg file deleted, effectively making it a multi version disc. Official discs do not have individual versions on, e.g. Home Premium only having Home Premium on it. They have every version on. They just have a file called efi.cg that is read when the disc is put in and that tells the installer what version options to allow the user to install.

    Now, if this disc is a retail version I doubt it will work with your licence because it is highly likely that the licence is an OEM one, and therefore will not be accepted by the install.

    There are ways that the OS can be forced to accept the licence, but that would amount to pirating unfortunately
  13. ste_wilko said:
    It could be a disc that has had the efi.cg file deleted, effectively making it a multi version disc. Official discs do not have individual versions on, e.g. Home Premium only having Home Premium on it. They have every version on. They just have a file called efi.cg that is read when the disc is put in and that tells the installer what version options to allow the user to install.

    Now, if this disc is a retail version I doubt it will work with your licence because it is highly likely that the licence is an OEM one, and therefore will not be accepted by the install.

    There are ways that the OS can be forced to accept the licence, but that would amount to pirating unfortunately



    I got the disc today & some instructions. The disc looks like a DVD-R rip of Windows 7, which is what i wanted (I didn't have a DVD burner).
    The paper states that it will do a total reinstall of Windows 8 Home Premium. I just need the product keys (I have the sticker on an older Acer PC for this).

    BUT it states I have to download all my drivers, because none will be available when I finish installing!
    I won't be able to connect online to download because I won't have drivers for my network/sound//display etc...
    Problem is I read this
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/2045285/the-myth-of-driver-backups.html

    If I just copy the drivers into as folder, it could not be recognized by Windows 7 when it asks to look for a driver from a USB drive.

    This PC was semi-custom made, so I don't have a manufacturers website to go to & download them all officially. How would I go about doing this?
    Should I create a new thread to ask?
  14. You could have gotten a Windows 7 ISO from here for free. Instead of giving that ebay guy $10.
    http://www.w7forums.com/threads/official-windows-7-sp1-iso-image-downloads.12325/

    For the drivers? Go to the motherboard manufacturers site and download the relevant drivers. Copy to USB and use that to install on your new PC.
  15. I'm going to try this after I buy a new HDD.

    Just throwing this out, can I install Windows 7 on two computers with the same product key?
    And if it the product key was a sticker from a manufacturer built PC, can I use it anyway on a custom built PC or will HP/Dell product keys only work on HP/Dell PCs?
  16. CRT dude said:
    I'm going to try this after I buy a new HDD.

    Just throwing this out, can I install Windows 7 on two computers with the same product key?
    And if it the product key was a sticker from a manufacturer built PC, can I use it anyway on a custom built PC or will HP/Dell product keys only work on HP/Dell PCs?


    1. No. One license, 1 PC
    2. No. That preinstalled OEM license if for that PC only.
  17. USAFRet said:
    CRT dude said:
    I'm going to try this after I buy a new HDD.

    Just throwing this out, can I install Windows 7 on two computers with the same product key?
    And if it the product key was a sticker from a manufacturer built PC, can I use it anyway on a custom built PC or will HP/Dell product keys only work on HP/Dell PCs?


    1. No. One license, 1 PC
    2. No. That preinstalled OEM license if for that PC only.



    What if that PC craps out, I wouldn't be able to use that product key on another PC?
  18. CRT dude said:
    USAFRet said:
    CRT dude said:
    I'm going to try this after I buy a new HDD.

    Just throwing this out, can I install Windows 7 on two computers with the same product key?
    And if it the product key was a sticker from a manufacturer built PC, can I use it anyway on a custom built PC or will HP/Dell product keys only work on HP/Dell PCs?


    1. No. One license, 1 PC
    2. No. That preinstalled OEM license if for that PC only.



    What if that PC craps out, I wouldn't be able to use that product key on another PC?


    An OEM license is not transferable between PC's. You can replace parts in that broken one, but you can't just use that OEM license as you choose.
  19. Also, you can't use an OEM licence with a retail version of the OS (which is what the W7forum ones are)
  20. Ok, if you bought your computer from a manufacturer, IE: ASUS, Acer, Dell, Give their tech support a call and say that your windows 7 will not start and your safe mode wont work. Usually they will say just put in your recovery disk. What you say in response is: "I never received any recovery disks". At this point they will ask for your invoice number or receipt, if you have it, give it to them. They should see that it should have came with a recovery disk and they should send you a new one.

    Just make sure you don't say you installed windows 8 and you want to go back. At that point, its your fault in their eyes.

    If you didn't buy it from a manufacturer, then you will have to find that OEM CD that came with that Key, as stated above, OEM Keys will not work with Retail CDs. If you can find a copy of an OEM disk, you can use that key and then call the MS Activation Line and activate it there since you are allowed to re-install on that particular computer. Otherwise a license for a computer is pointless if you run into technical issues.
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