Can an OEM licence key be used to activate a retail disc installation of Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit?

I want to reinstall Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit on my laptop.

My laptop came pre-installed with Windows 7 and therefore I have no Windows installation disc and the key printed on the COA sticker on the bottom of my laptop is an OEM key.

My recovery partition is corrupted, I was unable to create any recovery discs and I don't want to buy any recovery discs from Toshiba.

Therefore, I had the idea of borrowing a Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit retail installation disc from a friend who has one and installing windows using that in conjunction with the OEM key that is on my sticker.


The thing which is scaring me about doing this is whether this mixture of a retail disc and an OEM product key will work?
Will I be stuck with an unactivated laptop if I reinstalled using a retail disc?
 

Question Info


Last updated October 16, 2019 Views 105,195 Applies to:
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Yes, it will work with 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

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

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:

Proceed to enter the product key and click Next

Wait while Windows attempts to activate.

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:

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

Best,
Andre
Windows Insider MVP
MVP-Windows and Devices for IT
twitter/adacosta
groovypost.com

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Is "Change Product Key" meant to always be there?
because on my laptop (before any re-installations) there is no such link.



Change Product Key is sometimes not there. You can use the alternate phone activation method below after you reinstall Windows.
Note - this option is also sometimes not available with preinstalled Windows, but it is there when you install with a retail disk.

Call Microsoft Using Manual Phone Activation

Note: if you are still installing Windows and at the Enter Your Product Key page, do not enter your key and uncheck "Automatically Activate When Online" then click OK/Next to finish the installation.

1. Begin by clicking the Start menu, then type: slui.exe 4

2. Press Enter on your Keyboard

3. Select your Country.

4. Select the Phone Activation option, call the number, do not select any options and wait for a person to pick up, then explain what happened. 



The US phone number for activation is 1-888-725-1047

 

Activation center numbers worldwide:

http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/existing-customers/activation-centers.aspx






Also, how much do phone activations cost?

Phone activation is free - Microsoft does not charge for it.

You do have to pay for the call, if you are charged per call. Rates are determined by your phone company.





Have Questions About Installing Windows 7?
FAQ - Common Windows 7 Installation Questions & Answers
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TrekDozer

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