Windows General

2 Iron

Windows OS licenses - lost or so it seems...

Last Friday, I was contacted by a local 'non-profit' to "assess" and recommend what options they might have with four donated Latitude E7440 laptops that "..won't boot"..

Having these now in my possession, I find that some 'helpful person' (arguably at the previous owner's insistence) has DELETED all the partitions on the 256 GB SSD disks in ALL FOUR laptops... (Just wonderful).   Which means, I suppose, that there is no means to restore these (as I might normally expect to do from the 'restore partition') and proceed with Windows 10 upgrades insofar as this 'restore partition' no longer exists (which would be where a new install might retrieve this 'license', right? ).

But I seem to remember having once accomplished something similar with a 'clean install' of Windows since that particular laptop HAD, in fact, been previously activated with Windows 8.1, as were all four of these units.  But that was then and I simply don't recall how we (Dell Support and myself) accomplished this (and frankly, since I'm not gettin' paid for this effort, I'm not terribly 'motivated' to spend a boatload of time on extended efforts with Dell Support, as I seem to remember was the case previously..).

Since this non-profit really doesn't have a lot of resources to spend on new licenses, is there no means to 'resurrect' what I'd always thought was an 'embedded' Windows 8 license within the BIOS, or as I've read, a license that is "injected' into the mobo (... uh, believe me, that's not MY term there, I just stumbled across a reference to this on the Dell forums somewhere in the past two hours that I've spent looking into this, and this was how it was 'termed'..).

I suppose I could talk this place into forking over the cost of 'system restore disks', as I've been told are available  from Dell, but  will this change this scenario..?  Do these come with licenses that can be activated? And truthfully, if I don't REALLY have to do this, I'd certainly like to save them even that small expense.

Replies (8)
7 Thorium

Windows 10 Version 1709 Installation Media is Downloadable from Microsoft. During installation it will automatically input the product key embedded within the ACPI table of the UEFI BIOS and install the correct Edition of Windows 10 (likely in the case of a Latitude - Windows 10 Pro):

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows10 

More details are available here:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-windows-1709/ 

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

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
2 Iron

AHA.. Yes, I think the light is beginning to reveal "ancient memories"... I think this was the 'avenue' last time I was faced with this...

And as I examine this laptop, it would appear this 'helpful person' also changed the BIOS to 'legacy boot', so no doubt that 'assisted' the situation, most probably.  So all I need to do is to change to UEFI boot and then (using the "F12" 'one time boot' process) I select the USB media as installation source, correct..?  (sigh..)

*** .. It's been a while and here I thought I was 'retired'...  But 'old nerds ' don't die or 'retire', do they..? They just LOOK like that...

7 Thorium

You want a UEFI Boot with Secure Boot. See if this helps (at 7:23):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLtF9XqTwi0&index=6&list=PL1RkaknDn7v-Ucth4gt0U3BHVSY7oNkWr 

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

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
2 Iron

Hmm... well this worked on three of the four, but one of them still won't 'pick up' a Windows license for activation... On all of them I set up the BIOS for UEFI -Secure boot and then on this last one, I've tried a full clean install three times so far, but "no joy"...  Says 'no valid digital license or product key' and that I should go to the Microsoft Store and buy a license...  Any suggestions on what to try next..?  Certainly worked on the other three...

2 Iron

BTW: there IS a Windows 8 sticker inside the battery compartment, and since this is identical to the others and the service tags all reflect that all three were purchased at the same time, so... one has to believe this is possible...

7 Thorium

Install Windows 10 Pro without a Product Key and check if the system activates when online. If not install RWEverything and then select Access → ACPI Tables and let us know if there is a MSDM tab and/or a SLIC tab. See here for more details:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/the-oem-product-key-and-oem-system-locked-preinstallation/ 

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

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
2 Iron

Well, to be honest, installing Win10 without a license is how I've been testing this, so far, and most definitely the one that wouldn't 'read' the license from the 'first batch' (they've brought me three more since I began this post..)most definitely would not activate.  And the same is happening with these next three, as well ... 'Clean' install of Win10 on UEFI secure boot... yields: no activation.

Now, since I've given them the first three units, this "made them happy", temporarily, so I've spent some additional time trying everything I could imagine (even multiple attempts with a 'clean' install time after time, verifying that the BIOS IS configured correctly) ... but it ain't happenin' on any of them. So, as you suggested, I downloaded and 'ran' RWEverything on each of these, and I see only an 'SLIC' tab, but no MSDM tab...  I'll let you fill me in on what either of these tabs mean...

But I should also point out that late in the day on Sunday, I met with the guy that bought my little IT firm this past year, and when I mentioned what was happening with the non-profit and these Latitude E7440 and E6440 laptops, he volunteered five licenses of Win8.1that "..weren't needed.."..   And because I was just so 'over this', and totally out of pure frustration, I activated THESE licenses on these four units that would not activate automatically.  Now, I have no doubt, I've 'hosed' any further troubleshooting on this, but the non-profit is happy to have their laptops and I'm happy to sit here and sip this  beer...and go back to pretending I AM retired...

7 Thorium

The systems should have both a SLIC tab and a MSDM tab.

  • The SLIC tab (version 2.1) is for Windows 7 Pro OEM (Downgrade Rights from Windows 8.1 Pro/Windows 10 Pro).
  • The MSDM tab is a unique product key for Windows 8.1/10 Pro.
  • Older systems sold with Windows 7 Pro OEM only had a SLIC tab and a unique product key affixed to a COA (usually under the battery to prevent shielding).

In all your systems Windows 10 installation media should input the key from the MSDM and activate when online.

The SLIC 2.1 can however be used to install Windows 7 Pro OEM and when Windows 7 Pro OEM is online a genuineticket can be generated from gatherosstate (from Windows 10 installation media) to initially activate Windows 10 Pro (and make the systems a Windows 10 Pro Device).

You have it sorted with the additional keys but if curious there is a way to have used the OEM licenses. More details about the OEM Licenses here:

Downloading Windows 7 Pro OEM Skylake Reinstallation .iso:

Clean Installing Windows 7 and Activating Windows 7 with the SLIC (4:25):

The genuine ticket method:

 

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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