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INVALID PRODUCT KEY Windows 7 refuses to accept product key on new hardrive!

Last response: in Windows 7
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June 8, 2010 6:27:41 PM

I recently had a few problems with my PC, first the Hard Drive packed up and then the power supply. Anyway as an interim measure i re installed my licensed copy of windows 7 on an old sata i had dug out from the cupboard, this was fine but as it was only a 150 gig i decided to replace it with a much quieter and bigger 500 Gig SATA drive. The reinstallation went well until i was asked yet again for the product key, it now says my product key is invalid, how can that be, it's only been used on the same PC, i may have re -installed a few times on different drives but same PC so why suddenly does it refuse to accept?? Help anyone!!
a b $ Windows 7
a b ) Power supply
June 8, 2010 7:06:24 PM

Hi newcomer and welcome to the Tom's hardware forum.

Contact with Microsoft and explain they the problem, maybe can help u in a better way.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 8, 2010 7:17:42 PM

When you originally registered your copy of Win 7, it recorded information about your mother board and HDD, if you change them you have to go through the activation process again, since you key was used once it is no longer valid, call MSFT and have a talk with them and just explain the situation, they get this all the time
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a b $ Windows 7
a b ) Power supply
June 8, 2010 8:07:45 PM

I had to do a format on a Win7 OEM install it wouldn't activate, so using the activate by phone option, just hit a few random numbers when activating and you'll end up talking to a human, just explain you had hardware failures and they will probably give you the activation code.
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a c 215 $ Windows 7
June 8, 2010 10:56:43 PM

das_stig said:
I had to do a format on a Win7 OEM install it wouldn't activate, so using the activate by phone option, just hit a few random numbers when activating and you'll end up talking to a human, just explain you had hardware failures and they will probably give you the activation code.


Enter the Installation ID properly and you won't have to talk to anyone.
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a b $ Windows 7
a b ) Power supply
June 8, 2010 11:46:58 PM

metamorph67 said:
...The reinstallation went well until i was asked yet again for the product key, it now says my product key is invalid...
I think Prophecy is on the right track. Yeah, product key entry is different from activation. You don't even need internet access to enter the product key and it doesn't get messed up by hardware changes. It must be entry error. Check your B's and 8's etc.
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a b ) Power supply
June 8, 2010 11:59:26 PM

Here's a trick so you don't need the disc again.

After Win-7 Installation (w/o a driver). Activate it on line or by phone.

Make a drive image of your pc w/o the driver.

Save this image file for future installation.

1) 1st image file w/o driver will enable you to reload an activated copy regardess of the HW

After you load all your driver and application software make another image file.

2) Your 2nd image file is complete OS, Driver, and Application.

Whatever you change on your hw you can use any of your image file to remount OS on any drive.


Any authentication with microsoft will go through w/o an issue. You don't need your Win-7 disc again.

You can use Acronis or Norton ghost to make an image file.
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a b ) Power supply
June 9, 2010 12:01:39 AM

Restoring from image file takes 20 to 30 minutes compare to hours when using windows & application disc. It will save you a lot of time
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June 9, 2010 12:09:45 AM

you are doing a clean install with an update cd?
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a c 215 $ Windows 7
June 9, 2010 12:52:26 AM

leon2006 said:
Here's a trick so you don't need the disc again.

After Win-7 Installation (w/o a driver). Activate it on line or by phone.

Make a drive image of your pc w/o the driver.

Save this image file for future installation.

1) 1st image file w/o driver will enable you to reload an activated copy regardess of the HW

After you load all your driver and application software make another image file.

2) Your 2nd image file is complete OS, Driver, and Application.

Whatever you change on your hw you can use any of your image file to remount OS on any drive.


Any authentication with microsoft will go through w/o an issue. You don't need your Win-7 disc again.

You can use Acronis or Norton ghost to make an image file.


Try deploying said image on a system with an array of incompatible hardware, and you'll wind up doing a new vanilla Windows 7 install.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 9, 2010 7:29:19 AM

We were talk about a individual persons computer, not an enterprise solution
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a c 215 $ Windows 7
June 9, 2010 12:48:46 PM

I'm aware of that number13, but the same logic applies.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 9, 2010 1:11:08 PM

I prefer to do each install seperate, ghosting and drive images make me a little uncomfortable, besides a full install only takes me about 20 min, actually less
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a c 215 $ Windows 7
June 9, 2010 4:16:02 PM

Agreed. Unless you are in a large enterprise environment, ghosting computers doesn't make a lot of sense any more, given the install time of a vanilla copy of Windows 7.
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June 16, 2010 10:54:09 PM

:pt1cable:  Thank you all, i have now sorted the problem, i am using a Upgrade version of Windows 7, and it requires a copy of Windows XP or Vista to be existing on the new hardrive, i actually got over the problem by first installing a 'Cracked' copy of XP. I then installed my legal copy of windows 7 and used there disc to format the harddrive. Thanks to you all for your input to my thread, i've learned alot from it. It seems the upgrade discs don't mind where the copy of Windows comes from or even if it's registered, just as long as there is a operating system, i don't believe the upgrade Windows 7 uses any old files as it reformats and allows Partitions to be made. Anyway all sorted now cheers!!
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a b $ Windows 7
June 17, 2010 12:09:20 PM

@metamporph,

Using a cracked copy is not a good thing. There is a way to do a clean install with the upgrade edition without having to install XP or Vista.

http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/clean_install_upgrade_...

A lot of times it can be as simple as install the software, do not enter the key during the installation, reboot and then enter the key and activate.

If that doesn't work, you still don't enter the key and instead after you install, launch the Windows 7 setup program and tell it you want to upgrade and reinstall all over again and then enter the key and you should be good to go.
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June 17, 2010 4:09:00 PM

isamuelson said:
@metamporph,

Using a cracked copy is not a good thing. There is a way to do a clean install with the upgrade edition without having to install XP or Vista.

http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/clean_install_upgrade_...

A lot of times it can be as simple as install the software, do not enter the key during the installation, reboot and then enter the key and activate.

If that doesn't work, you still don't enter the key and instead after you install, launch the Windows 7 setup program and tell it you want to upgrade and reinstall all over again and then enter the key and you should be good to go.


Yes sorry about that, i was desperate! If i have any problems next time i need to install clean i'l follow your advice and link - Cheers Jon
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