How to activate Windows 7 OEM license using a retail disc

I have been encountering a number of these lately, a person with a laptop wants to reinstall Windows 7, something goes wrong, either their recovery partition is damaged or they don’t have any recovery disc. Thankfully, all machines that ship with Windows 7 come with a genuine proof of license, the COA sticker, located sometimes at the bottom of a laptop or in the battery compartment (if you are using a desktop computer you can look at the side or top. What this means is, you can reinstall Windows 7, using the corresponding edition Windows 7 retail disc and use the product key located on the COA sticker to reactivate it.

For example, if you bought a laptop that came with Windows 7 Home Premium OEM and you would like to reinstall Windows 7 but have not way of doing so, you can use a retail disc, whether it be a full or upgrade version Windows 7 Home Premium disc.

Once you have installed it, all you need to do is change the product key located on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA). Lets take a look at how to do that.

Click Start, right click Computer

Click Properties

SET1

Scroll down to Windows activation.

You will notice it displays a time until Activation but be completed. Also the Product ID indicates it is using a default key, this is only for the 30 day grace period allowed until you must activate Windows 7.

Click the link, Change product key

SET2

Enter the product key located on the COA sticker located at the bottom or (sometimes in the battery compartment of your laptop), you can also find it at the top or side if its a Desktop computer.  It looks something like the following:

image

Proceed to enter the product key and click Next

SET3

Wait while Windows attempts to activate.

SET4

If all goes well, within a minute, you should see this screen.

You can further confirm Windows 7 is activated by checking the Windows Activation status:

SET5

Notice Windows 7 now displays OEM within the Product ID to indicate the product channel it is licensed from. Please note, this also works with Windows Vista if you are still running that version.

If you are unable to activate Windows 7 using the Change product key method, you can try phone activation and speak with a call agent who will assist with reactivating Windows 7:

How to activate Windows 7 manually (activate by phone)
 
1) Click Start, and in the Search box type:   slui.exe  4
 
2) Next press the ‘ENTER’ key
 
3) Select your ‘Country’ from the list.
 
4) Choose the ‘Phone Activation’ option.
 
5) Stay on the phone (do not select/press any options) and wait for a person to help you with activation.
 
6) Explain your problem clearly to the support person.
 
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950929/en-us

Resources:

COA Certificate of Authenticity:
http://www.microsoft.com/howtotell/content.aspx?pg=coa

What is the Windows Certificate of Authenticity?
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/What-is-the-Windows-Certificate-of-Authenticity

 

3 Comments

Filed under 7 Journal

3 responses to “How to activate Windows 7 OEM license using a retail disc

  1. I would always do just the last part (phone) and wouldn’t even try the OEM key with WIN XP. That rarely worked, but it’s nice that MS is very understanding when you have to re-install your OS. “Yes maam, it’s only on one machine. Of course it’s a legal copy. No I would not like to give you my information, just give me my key!” MS Lady, “Sir, if you are looking for a free OS, I’d recommend Ubuntu. When you’ve had enough buy a copy of Windows 8, have a nice day!” OK that last part never happened, but it could work for most people… hmmm….

  2. Roo

    “…buy a copy of Windows 8..” except you can’t buy a retail copy of Win8 – only upgrades. I spent 1 1/2 hours on the phone yesterday trying. I am in exactly this situation – dead HDD, no recovery discs. MS will not sell retail Win8 – you have to have a base OS to upgrade from. Also, they no longer sell Win7. You _might_ be able to buy a store copy – I can’t find one in New Zealand.
    Thankfully, I found this thread and the COA is still legible on the laptop.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s