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OEM Disk Won't Accept Product Key Clean Install (Home Basic/Business)

Last response: in Windows Vista
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January 9, 2012 4:25:19 PM

I decided to do a clean install of Vista on my laptop. The manufacter gave no disks (just a stupid recovery partition). So I purchased an OEM disk (Dell branded Windows Vista disk) from Ebay and obtained my product key using a tool from www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/. The laptop has a legit copy of Windows so I didn't think there would be a problem. Both the laptop and the OEM Disk say 32-bit. The laptop came with Vista Home Basic, and although the disk says Vista Business Edition, I was told that all versions come on the same disk.

Once I install Vista (first thing I noticed was there was no product key entry during installation), I typed Windows Key & Pause Break to get to Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\System. I then entered my product code but it said the key was not valid for that version of Windows.

I then went to http://forum.notebookreview.com/hp-compaq/120228-clean-... and followed the instructions the remove the dell branding of the OEM Disk. This allowed me to create a new version of the disk that asks for the product key during installation, however the same error message still comes up when I enter it.


What's going wrong?
a b D Laptop
January 9, 2012 4:33:10 PM

dennisjenson said:
I decided to do a clean install of Vista on my laptop. The manufacter gave no disks (just a stupid recovery partition). So I purchased an OEM disk (Dell branded Windows Vista disk) from Ebay and obtained my product key using a tool from www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/. The laptop has a legit copy of Windows so I didn't think there would be a problem. Both the laptop and the OEM Disk say 32-bit. The laptop came with Vista Home Basic, and although the disk says Vista Business Edition, I was told that all versions come on the same disk.

Once I install Vista (first thing I noticed was there was no product key entry during installation), I typed Windows Key & Pause Break to get to Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\System. I then entered my product code but it said the key was not valid for that version of Windows.

I then went to http://forum.notebookreview.com/hp-compaq/120228-clean-... and followed the instructions the remove the dell branding of the OEM Disk. This allowed me to create a new version of the disk that asks for the product key during installation, however the same error message still comes up when I enter it.


What's going wrong?

Double check the licence #, it is easy to make a mistake : )
a b D Laptop
January 9, 2012 4:34:19 PM

BTW, is the recovered licence # same like the sticker on the laptop?
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January 9, 2012 4:42:32 PM

nikorr said:
BTW, is the recovered licence # same like the sticker on the laptop?

Nah, the it's not the same as the sticker. The sticker isn't the true license key. It's also mostly worn/rubbed off.
a b D Laptop
January 9, 2012 5:29:43 PM

The Product Key must match the installation DVD.
January 9, 2012 5:47:14 PM

SR-71 Blackbird said:
The Product Key must match the installation DVD.

What does that even mean? Why wouldn't the installation media (DVD) be free for any product key? Are you saying it has to be a Vista Business product key? Are you saying every disk is unique to a product key?
a b D Laptop
January 9, 2012 6:06:19 PM

If you use Vista Business Install Media you need a Vista Business product key.
a b D Laptop
January 9, 2012 6:06:48 PM

Media must match key.
a c 204 D Laptop
January 9, 2012 7:57:57 PM

Is the key you are trying to use also a Dell OEM key for the same Windows version as the disk you got? The sticker on the computer should be the true license key unless you installed your own version using your own disk and key at some point. Where this whole issue is probably coming from.

Just contact the PC vendor, they should have your PC on file, you may be able to get the key and media from them.
January 9, 2012 9:19:14 PM

hang-the-9 said:
Is the key you are trying to use also a Dell OEM key for the same Windows version as the disk you got?

No, the Laptop came with Vista Home Basic whereas the disk says Vista Business. However following the guide I linked earlier I deleted the PID.txt and OEM folder (in sources) and "re-mastered" the disk by which I mean burned the altered ISO to a DVD-R.


hang-the-9 said:
Just contact the PC vendor, they should have your PC on file, you may be able to get the key and media from them.

This is absolute bullshit, vendors are notorious for not giving out disks. I've contacted both Microsoft & The laptop's manufacturer, neither give out the disks and both put the blame/responsibility on each other.
a c 204 D Laptop
January 9, 2012 9:27:41 PM

You said the key on the side is not the key that was used to set up Windows, was it re-installed with another disk? There is no solution here except to find out exactly what key you have for what version of Vista and to get that same disk to match. If you have Dell OEM Vista Home key, need a Dell OEM Vista Home disk. The only time disks are pretty much interchangable is with the retail CDs. OEM disks are pretty well tied to the hardware and key they are made to use.
January 10, 2012 12:58:39 AM

hang-the-9 said:
You said the key on the side is not the key that was used to set up Windows, was it re-installed with another disk? .

Well I was lead to believe that all the Vista OEM 32-bit disks were the same, I guess not. Like I said I tried both with and without the dell branding, still gave the same error. It knows my Vista Home Basic key is valid but won't let me use it.


The results from the licence key display tool and the actual sticker on the laptop are different. I don't know why, I read somewhere that they are not suposed to be the same.
a b D Laptop
January 10, 2012 4:38:14 AM

No. 32 bit and 64 bit are inter-exchangeable but version are not. Home Basic key must be used with Home Basic 32 or 64 bit disc, not any other version. That is why your disc will not work with the Home basic key you provided. Get a Vista Home Basic disc.
a b D Laptop
January 10, 2012 1:03:41 PM

dennisjenson said:

The results from the licence key display tool and the actual sticker on the laptop are different. I don't know why, I read somewhere that they are not suposed to be the same.


Many times the code that is installed on the system and the sticker placed on your system are different -- and the one in use on your system will only work with the restore disks\ partition that is provided (those that do not provide disks normally include instructions on creating a set of restore disks in the user manual and that should be one of the first things you do when you purchase a new system)

The code on the sticker on the case will normally work for reinstallations but you have to use the same installation version as was provided with the system (ie. Basic, Premium,Professional) and though all of the files for every version are included you need to make sure and select the proper version for the install (even though all of the files are present on the media certain ones will be used for the various installs and the product activation Key only works with the version it is designed for -- so to reinstall using a basic key you need to do a basic version install.) -- In order to select the version to install you have to delete the ei.cfg file (this file is located in the Sources folder on the disk image) from the iso image and create a new disk --- See this guide for the procedure and then when installing you must select the version that matches the product key you have to install !!
a b D Laptop
January 10, 2012 7:58:20 PM

Media must match key!
!