Authentication Key Doesn't Work After Installing Win7 x64 OEM Disk.
An OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) disk usually can only be installed on a fresh hard drive. A HDD that has never been used. Reformatting a hard drive still leaves the MBR (Master Boot Record) intact and this may also prevent the successful installation of the disk. To install the software on a HDD that has been used, you can use a utility called Darik's Boot n' Nuke, which fills the HDD with zeros, and also erases the MBR. After nuking the HDD, the OEM installation disk should identify it as a new HDD and install without any problems. To find Darik's Boot n' Nuke, Google UBCD (Ultimate Boot CD).
After installation of the Win7 x64 OEM disk I had, I got a message saying that, "The "COA/Authentication key that you entered is incorrect" (or something such to that effect) when I went to the authentication application in Win7. I knew there was a problem right away, as I had not even been asked to enter the authentication key yet to begin with. So I went ahead and tried about 10 times to enter in the COA key from the hologram sticker that came with the OEM disk to no avail.
There are like 4 options to choose from in the authentication dialogue box. "Buy a License Key", "Enter a new key", "Show me other ways to activate" and "Help/Support (or something)". At this point, I went to show me other ways to activate and I was guided to a phone number to call for activation. This actually worked. I did successfully get Win7 activated through this method. However, I was also having another issue to deal with besides getting activated after installation. I was getting no video signal through the VGA connection to my HDTV. Sooo... I decided to nuke the HDD and reinstall Win7. I figured I could just go through the phone activation routine again for activation after I reinstalled. Well, after I reinstalled Win7, the option "Show me other ways to activate" was mysteriously missing from the activation options. I don't know how, as I had nuked the HDD. No data whatsoever should have been available for retrieval from the newly reinstalled Win7. I think I may have had the Ethernet cable hooked up when I reinstalled and as soon as I got Win7 reinstalled it dialed home to daddy on the internet and got the information that that copy of Windows had already been activated through the phone-in method. But it still needed to be activated. So then I was stuck.
The Help/Support option is a joke. It tells you to contact a friend and get them to hook up to your PC via remote assistance to help you out (haha). No phone numbers to contact Microsoft or any answers at all for the issue of getting you installation authenticated.
After hours of trying to Google up an answer, about 2am in the morning, I decided to take a look at the option to "Buy a license key". I was plenty pissed thinking about potentially having to buy a license key for around $75 or so after I had just paid around $90 for the OEM disk to begin with. I decided to just go ahead and check it out to find out how much they charged for a license key. I went to the link offered up and then at that point I was directed to install some kind of software that would check to see if my copy of Windows was genuine before I bought a license key. And it also said something about fixing problems with activation. GREAT! I knew I was on to the solution. So I installed the software. It determined that my copy of Win7 was genuine. I guess it's the latest version of "Genuine Advantage". Remember that? From the WinXP updates? Why in the H*** they don't include this new genuine advantage with Win7 updates is beyond me. Anyway, after it was determined that my copy of Windows was genuine, I went back to the activation panel and tried one more time to enter in the key from the hologram sticker attached to the sleeve of the OEM disk, and glory hallelujah.. it worked. Finally, activation with the COA key that came with the OEM disk.