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July 19th, 2023 15:00

Installing Windows 8.1


In 2016 I bought a Dell Vostro Desktop that came with Windows 7 installed but funnily enough it came with a CD with Windows 8.1 that says OEM activation key required which is at the back of the CD pack. After all these years I decided to have a go at installing the Windows 8.1 CD, however when I'm prompted to enter the key, I encounter an instruction to insert a retail 25 character key, as opposed to the 20 character OEM key. Doesn't even type in numbers so I don't even get the chance to try the OEM activation key. 

Is there anyone who can help? Any suggestions? 

6 Professor


7.1K Posts

July 24th, 2023 19:00

Model number helps as that's an indicator to the BIOS type it has.  Some BIOS has the product key imbedded.

If Windows 8.1 has it, in the product key window, click on link that says "I do not have a product key" and see if it will finish activating.

Remember you'll need your own security that supports it.  Win8.1 was EOS/EOL as of Jan. 10, 2023.

Much recommend upgrading to Win10 if your Vostro meets the system requirements.  Also, 8GB RAM makes it work faster than 4GB.


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