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computerheart
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Dell lost my Windows COA

I wonder if somebody can help me. My Inspiron 17-3721 laptop with Windows 7 Professional was sent to the Dell Repair Depot because its touchpad broke. The repair went fine, but my laptop was returned to me without the labels which were on the top and reverse sides of the palm rest (i.e. in the battery compartment). The Windows Certificate of Authenticity, "Windows 7" sticker, Intel sticker, etc., are all missing. My best guess is that they were thrown out at the Depot along with the palm rest which they were attached to.

I have now spent over two months in discussions with Dell Technical Support, trying to get at least my Windows Certificate of Authenticity back - or have it replaced with a new one. I believe it is important to have this certificate, for many reasons. Dell insists that I can get the COA numbers through a program like NirSoft ProduKey. I don't believe that to be true, since my operating system was installed by Dell. The key finder software would only detect the generic Dell product key, wouldn't it? Dell is offering to send me a blank "replacement COA" with the key found by the software written on it. Am I correct in thinking that this would be the wrong product key? Their only other option, they say, is to replace my laptop, but, according to Dell, the replacement Windows 7 system would probably have no COA on it. Replacing a laptop without a COA with another Windows 7 laptop without a COA sounds silly to me. Then there is the matter of having to do an awful lot of work transferring all my stuff to a different computer, possibly losing the warranty which I have paid for, and potentially getting a second-hand laptop. I simply have no idea what kind of computer I would be sent. They can't tell me what model it would be, for example. Under those circumstances, I can't agree to return my current laptop to Dell. I haven't been able to convince Dell that the key finder software is coming up with the wrong key, despite sending them links to articles, examples, and so on. I have sent Technical Support links to Microsoft's OEM Partner Center, where there is advice on replacing COA's. Still, Technical Support tells me that there is nothing more they can do.

This is an open case, so I have been hesitant to involve others, until now. I felt that the Dell technical support team deserved the chance to do their very best. Now it seems we have reached the end of the road. Am I understanding the issue correctly? What can I advise Dell's Technical Support to do if they want to replace my COA with a new one? Perhaps they would do it if they knew exactly what steps to take. Your ideas and advice are much appreciated.

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39 Replies
Philip_Yip
5 Iridium

RE: Dell lost my Windows COA

COAs are no longer used instead a unique 25 digit Windows 8.1 Professional System Locked Preinstallation Key is used that is embedded within the UEFI BIOS. See here for details, use RWEverything to obtain it:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-microsoft-windows-and-office/download-microsoft-w...

If you have Windows 7 Professional installed on the machine you actually are using Windows 8.1 Professional with downgrade rights.

Windows 7 Professional used a generic OEM SLP key and this system will automatically be activated with a Dell Windows 7 Professional Reinstallation DVD.

Tomorrow you should be able to get your free upgrade to Windows 10 and can forget about Windows 7 and 8.1.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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computerheart
1 Nickel

RE: Dell lost my Windows COA

Thank you for writing, Philip. RWEverything is unavailable right now, but I will try it again later. I don't want to upgrade to Windows 10 at this time, for several different reasons. The information in your link sounds great! However it does say,

"Don’t have a Windows 8 Sticker? If you don’t have one of these stickers affixed to your system you likely got a system shipped with Linux or an earlier Edition of Windows and hence won’t have a UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP key."

and

"Note no MSDM tab = No Windows 8.0/8.1 BIOS Embedded SLP key. Systems which shipped with Windows XP, Vista or 7 have no MSDM tab as these versions of Windows used a generic key for OEM SLP."

It sounds as if I do not have an Embedded System Locked Preinstallation Key. My computer was purchased new from Dell with Windows 7 installed and a Windows 7 sticker. There has never been Windows 8 on my laptop. The only key I had that was individual to my computer was printed on the COA, wasn't it?

I know that I could reinstall Windows 7 using CDs (if I knew how to do it). That isn't my chief concern. I need to be able to show that my OS is legal, at work for example, or in case I ever decide to sell my computer. Here's what Microsoft says:

1. "A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) is a label to help you and your customers identify genuine Microsoft Windows software. Without it, your customers will not have a legal license to run their Windows software."

2. "After an OEM software license has been installed on a PC, the license may not be installed on or transferred to another PC. However, the entire PC may be transferred to another end user along with the software license rights. When transferring the PC to the new end user, the software media, manuals (if applicable), and Certificate of Authenticity label must be included." (Both quotes are from Microsoft OEM Partner Center.)

Ebay is just one large seller who strictly warns its customers against purchasing any pre-Windows 8 computer that does not come with a COA. I feel that I need the Certificate of Authenticity for other reasons as well. Out of curiosity, I just phoned a local computer repair establishment. They say they would NOT replace a hard drive or reinstall Windows 7 on a computer that does not have a Windows COA label attached. I won't always be using Dell's repair service. I feel that I need the COA. Dell's Technical Support is not arguing with me about that anymore. It's just that they don't seem to understand what the COA is or how to replace it. I am asking for help for myself, here - but also for any information that would make it possible for Technical Support to replace my COA. 

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Philip_Yip
5 Iridium

RE: Dell lost my Windows COA

RWEverything has moved to a new site see here (I will update my guide later):

http://rweverything.phpnet.us/download.html

Let us know if you have a MSDM tab.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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computerheart
1 Nickel

RE: Dell lost my Windows COA

...

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computerheart
1 Nickel

RE: Dell lost my Windows COA

Your new link works well, Philip. Thanks!  I do not have an MSDM tab.

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Philip_Yip
5 Iridium

RE: Dell lost my Windows COA

No MSDM tab = No UEFI BIOS Embedded System Locked Preinstallation Key. You will need to ask for a replacement system I will move this thread to the customer care board.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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zbestwun2001
5 Rhenium

RE: Dell lost my Windows COA

Try Belarc Advisor, It may have it?

http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html

Download and install, it  will show you what  is installed in your system and should show   your COA.

Z

 

Dell Forum Member Since 2004 but not an employee of Dell

If this answers your question, click
  Yes  

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computerheart
1 Nickel

RE: Dell lost my Windows COA

I'll have a look at Belarc Advisor and let you know what I find out. Thank you, zbestwun2001. I was under the impression that OEM Windows 7 COAs are not entered into the system at all, but are just labels stuck onto the computer. I'll give Belarc a try, though.

Philip, would I be able to install Windows 10, if I wanted to, without having a Windows 7 COA?

Does anybody know where Dell might be able to get a new COA slip without having to replace my entire laptop? I've been thinking that they must have some COA labels at the Repair Depots, or the Dell repair people who go around to homes might have them. Otherwise, every time a palm rest is replaced, the customer would lose his COA! This would cause constant complaints, not to mention huge inconvenience to both the customers and Dell. It all makes me think that there may be some new replacement labels around, somewhere in the Dell network. In my case, the COA label could probably have been transferred from my old battery compartment to my new one, but often the COA labels are too firmly attached and would need to be replaced when the part they are glued on is discarded.

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computerheart
1 Nickel

RE: Dell lost my Windows COA

After doing a bit of reading, it sounds to me as if Belarc Advisor, like other key finders, will not find the COA numbers for an OEM operating system. It will only work with a retail version of Windows. forum.notebookreview.com/.../windows-product-key-belarc-advisor-and-sticker-says-another.625304  This is what I've been trying to say to Dell for the past two and a half months. There is always a possibility that I'm wrong. Thank you very much, zbestwun2001, for the tip, which would indeed work in some situations.

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