Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Understanding Licensing, Product ID and Product Key

Tags:
Last response: in Windows 7
Share
March 24, 2012 2:14:24 PM

First, let me start by saying my copy is legit. I have a paid "upgrade" to Windows 7, with the Key. My question comes from the fact I had to call MicroSoft to get it activated, and they gave me a new Key.

So, let me ask some questions to help me understand what I need to retain.

Background:
I installed Windows 7, as an upgrade, from Vista 32 to Win 7 64 bit. This required a custom instal. I activated Win 7 and it all went well. THEN, I decided I wanted to add an SDD. This meant that I no longer had an OS to run the "upgrade DVD".

As a result, it would not accept my KEY. I called Microsoft and the couldn't get it to accept the key either. Finally, they just gave me a new key, for a full install from a blank drive. What he told me sounded like a key that was supposed to be a key tied to a full install.

Why the question?

Because, I don't want to wait and find out 2 years from now, that I saved the wrong product key, for my product ID. I really have no way to test this, in advance, to know what works with what.

When we tried to enter even that key, it wouldn't activate. MicroSoft used the remote desktop to activate my Win7 but even they couldn't get it to accept the key. Finally, they had to do the phone activation, which meant they entered a 48 digit key, not the typical product Key.

So, I'm left not knowing what I need to save, to ever be able to reinstall, if I should need to reinstall.

Questions:

1) When I got my last product key, it was tied to the product ID, displayed on my computer screen. Is that Product ID, the ID of what I installed (Win7, Professional, which was purchased as an upgrade)?

2) Or is it a Product ID that applies to any of the various versions?

3) The reason I ask, is that if I ever have to install this on this same drive, or another drive, as an upgrade, will the product key, for the full install even work? Since this full product key didn't activate and they had to enter some 48 digit phone activation, I'm wondering if I even have a product key now.

4) I know that the DVD I received actually has all versions on it. And I know the key is tied to a specific ID. I can see the product ID, for my system. And since I know my Win 7 is activated, is there a way to extract the product KEY, so I have a matching key, to what is actually activated? Remember, none of the MicroSoft keys would activate my system, and they had to enter a 48 digit phone activation, which is not actually the product key.

Thanks,
a b $ Windows 7
March 24, 2012 3:04:01 PM

Keep your original key. I assume the "new key" that you say Microsoft gave you is actually the phone activation numbers. The phone activation is a normal procedure to validate ones original product key and not a method of obtain a brand new key. Just validation.

But if I misunderstood you and microsoft actually gave you a new key for your OS then I suggest you do the following, open a text file, type your old key and label next to it original key, then type the new one and label accordingly. Print, and tape to your win7 box or somewhere you won't loose it. Then in two years it won't matter because you'll have both keys.
m
0
l
March 24, 2012 3:52:10 PM

Ok, I'll keep the original. They actually gave me 2. I got the first one, when I bought the upgrade. That one registered ok. It was after I reinstalled on the SSD, which was a blank drive, that I had the problem. They asked me for my Product ID and then gave me another KEY. When that failed, they did the phone activation.

So, if I understand, the phone activation numbers only re-activated my original professional "upgrade" and that original key should work, if I have to reinstall, on this system? Vista is and will be long gone, in terms of having an OS already on the drive.

I have the original drive, but will be getting another SATA cable and will be using it as a 3rd drive in my system. I'm going to wipe it and start clean, on that drive. I'm going to use it for installing programs, that I don't want to take up space on the SSD. My 1T drive will be for data and backup only.

I guess I really should just keep all the KEYS, just in case. :)  But let me ask. Is that product ID, that is displayed on my computer, just a "Windows 7 ID". OR is it a "Windows 7, Professional Upgrade ID"
m
0
l
Related resources
a b $ Windows 7
March 24, 2012 5:47:39 PM

Hi :) 

I own computer shops and we come across this ALL the time lol...

With your new SSD what you SHOULD have done to make the key work was this...

Install VISTA and activate it....then install Vista SP1 AND SP2...

Then put in your 64 bit UPGRADE disc and follow the instruction (reboot etc)

When 7/64 bit is installing it will ask for your UPGRADE key....which WILL activate once into windows....

So for the future...keep your Vista disc AND NUMBER...

All the best Brett :) 
m
0
l
March 24, 2012 7:42:08 PM

Duh! The only problem is that I no longer had the original Vista discs. I got the computer and Vista was already installed. When I switched to the SSD, I had no original OS any longer.

Sure, if I had the original install DVD, I could have done that. But without the original DVE, how would you suggest I have installed it? This was the source of my problem and why I had to call Microsoft.

I think even with this situation, it was possible to install without the key. I have heard of ways of doing it. But I figured a call to MicroSoft would be just as easy. Except now I'm not sure if I'll be able to use the key I originally purchased or the new one they gave me. The Tech said the new key, which is for my product ID, is for installing fresh on a new pc. I hope he's right.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
March 24, 2012 10:01:44 PM

I just merely skimmed this topic, IIRC product key/id are the same thing and if you have an upgrade copy you are going to need to grab a retail box version of it if no previous OS is installed. atleast thats what happened to me when XP came out, bought an upgrade disk and the guy on the phone said I needed to buy a retail disk (even though I was just trying to do a simple reformat)

BUT, if you somehow er get... a copy of vista... somewhere... it will probably work...

I doubt they would give you a whole retail copy to install wherever since you bought an upgrade copy and got what you paid for.

But, I'm not certain so give it a try.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
March 24, 2012 10:10:01 PM

MikeSD said:
Duh! The only problem is that I no longer had the original Vista discs. I got the computer and Vista was already installed. When I switched to the SSD, I had no original OS any longer.

Sure, if I had the original install DVD, I could have done that. But without the original DVE, how would you suggest I have installed it? This was the source of my problem and why I had to call Microsoft.

I think even with this situation, it was possible to install without the key. I have heard of ways of doing it. But I figured a call to MicroSoft would be just as easy. Except now I'm not sure if I'll be able to use the key I originally purchased or the new one they gave me. The Tech said the new key, which is for my product ID, is for installing fresh on a new pc. I hope he's right.



Hi :) 

No discs is your problem...not mine....

I told you how to make your legal key work....and why it didnt....

Two choices now.....for the future...my way or buy a Retail disc...

All the best Brett :) 
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
March 24, 2012 10:25:54 PM

FYI:
You can use the program "Acronis True Image" to make a backup image of your C-Drive. If anything happens to your current drive you can simply RESTORE this backup.

There's a FREE version of Acronis TI that works well. Western Digital and Seagate both have this free version (you must have one of their drives. For example, the WD version won't run if it doesn't detect a WD drive, although it did work with only a WD USB drive attached.)

CLONING:
If you were adding an SSD and already had a hard drive you could have easily CLONED one to the other using either the Acronis True Image program or a different program.

*Use Acronis TI, if possible, and make an IMAGE now. Always keep this. Then make a second image which you replace periodically. You keep the first image in case a virus creeps into later images.

I use the paid version ($50 but got 3 for $80 at the time) and have setup an AUTOMATED backup (small learning curve). I have it setup to backup to a secondary 2TB WD hard drive. It creates a full backup, then weekly incremental backups for four weeks; It then creates a new full backup and more incrementals. It creates THREE full+inc versions and on the fourth one it deletes the OLDEST version for space. (there are several options. Some people like the option to keep a single backup which is overwritten. It's simple, but I prefer several backups.)
m
0
l
March 24, 2012 10:27:26 PM

instead of jumping hurdles (vista+upgrade) take the elevator and just get the retail single disk. it's a HUGE PITA but unless you're able to get your hands on a vista .iso and can burn your on disk (i did this via MSNDAA,)

i know the last thing you want to hear is just fork out more money for something you already have, but an upgrade disk isn't going to help if you don't have a vista disk to start with.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
March 24, 2012 10:31:19 PM

Ohmybad said:
instead of jumping hurdles (vista+upgrade) take the elevator and just get the retail single disk. it's a HUGE PITA but unless you're able to get your hands on a vista .iso and can burn your on disk (i did this via MSNDAA,)

i know the last thing you want to hear is just fork out more money for something you already have, but an upgrade disk isn't going to help if you don't have a vista disk to start with.


Wouldn't a XP disk or windows 98 disk work aswell?

Can probably find those on ebay pretty cheap (like 5 bucks)
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
March 24, 2012 10:33:37 PM

mouse24 said:
Wouldn't a XP disk or windows 98 disk work aswell?

Can probably find those on ebay pretty cheap (like 5 bucks)



Hi :) 

No they wont work...

The upgrade he has is a VISTA UPGRADE disc....only....

All the best Brett :) 
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
March 24, 2012 11:05:18 PM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

No they wont work...

The upgrade he has is a VISTA UPGRADE disc....only....

All the best Brett :) 



Ah, never mind then. Thought i'd shoot the question anyways.
m
0
l
March 24, 2012 11:50:02 PM

Windows 7 allows upgrades from windows XP. It says so on the box. It just does not do an in place upgrade from XP.
When windows 7 installs it will check your system for installed and activated versions of windows XP vista and 7 this includes all HDD’s in the system. When installing a fresh copy of windows into/onto your computer because of a new SSD or HDD install keep the old disk with windows installed and activated in the system the installer will find it and count your fresh install as an upgrade. I have no idea if this is documented anywhere I found this out by luck.
If Microsoft did truly give you a new key keep both. The first one is an upgrade key and the one they gave you is probably a retail key.
Additionally, there are other ways to activate fresh upgrade installs Google it.
m
0
l
a c 416 $ Windows 7
March 25, 2012 2:01:41 PM

Upgrade From Windows Vista

For Windows Vista, it is important that you have all latest services packs installed before attempting to upgrade to Windows 7. If Vista has worked well with the hardware on your computer, most likely, your PC will upgrade and use Windows 7 without problem.
Upgrade From Windows XP

For Windows XP users, it will be a bit more challenging. Microsoft recommends “you experience Windows 7 on a new PC” – this is only because there are hardware requirements that XP systems may not have. Also, the installation of Windows 7 is more complex.

Computer Hardware Requirements - Computer hardware has changed a lot since Windows XP first released. Even computers purchased recently with Windows XP may not be compatible.

Not An Upgrade Process - Installation of Windows 7 must be clean - meaning that it is not an upgrade, it is a new installation of an operating system. To install Windows 7, you’ll need to back up all your current work files, photos, music, bookmarks and other settings onto a CD, DVD or other type of media. Next, you will perform a custom (clean) install of Windows 7; then you will reinstall all files, settings and programs.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
March 25, 2012 2:21:29 PM

Hi :) 

AREA 51 is absolutely correct in the above...but I want to emphasise one point thats not made totally clear in those paragraphs...

When you use a Vista upgrade disc on XP .....it TOTALLY FORMATS the drive....

So all your stuff INCLUDING THE DRIVERS and everything else is gone....

So if you use it on XP ....your hardware MAY or MAY NOT work afterwards...until you find the drivers ...IF THEY EXIST !

All the best Brett :) 
m
0
l
March 25, 2012 10:14:39 PM

When upgrading from windows XP to windows 7 it is not a complete format of the disk (I cannot speak for Vista) but since you do not have your vista disks it does not matter anyway. When upgrading from XP to 7 it will take your old windows installation and place it into a folder called “windows.old “. You can then transfer your files to your new installation and delete the windows. old folder. You can then delete the windows.old folder windows 7 will activate normally.
m
0
l
!