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Changed hard drive on inspiron, activation restore did not work?


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#1 acerts04

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 01:58 PM

Hey everyone, calling all repair techs! I have a question. I worked on a dell inspiron that needed a new hard drive. I backed up activation with advanced tokens manager and eveything went well with backup. I installed the new hard drive, used my windows 7 disc to reinstall windows and then used advanced tokens manager to restore activation. It said success and windows said it was activated. After i restarted, windows was no longer activated. I contacted microsoft and they told me my product key was blocked because it was used more than once. In the end i had to get the restore discs from dell to get everything activated again. What i dont understand is that isnt advanced tokens manager or any activation backup supposed to avoid needing OEM discs? I did see that on ATM's website it says dont use after hardware change. I changed the harddrive so is that the reason it did not work? Because some OEM activation files were still on the old hard drive? I am quite confused. Input is appreciated!

Thanks
-alex

"In real life, the hardest aspect of the battle between good and evil is determining which is which."


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#2 zingo156

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:24 PM

I have never used any activation backup software, however I have reloaded countless computers, I have never had a problem re-activating windows by using the key on the outside of the computer itself. (On dell laptops this is usually on the bottom of the computer or under the battery). I can tell you that dell uses either generic keys or random keys for their images when loading new computers. The key that you backed up would not match your oem key on the sticker that should be on the bottom of the laptop. I know this because I have had several computers with partially worn off windows keys and I tried to compare the key in the registry to the key on the bottom of the computer to recover it, the keys did not match.

 

Likewise the key that was used from the restore disc would not match your OEM sticker either.

 

EDIT: if you have an oem sticker (that is readable) on the bottom you can use any windows disc that matches your version (home, pro, etc.) to load windows and then activate it by typing in that key.


Edited by zingo156, 25 February 2014 - 02:28 PM.

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#3 acerts04

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:46 PM

Thanks for the info zingo. I guess i should have just used the COA sticker to activate, but i was always told that would not work. I figured activation backup software was a godsend for reasons such as this, but apparently not. I still dont understand the reasoning behind it though? I have seen activation backup software work when there was no hardware changes, but with hardware changes on an OEM machine, it doesnt work. Also why when using dells windows 7 restore disc, the install doesnt ask for a product key at all?

-alex

"In real life, the hardest aspect of the battle between good and evil is determining which is which."


#4 dc3

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:47 PM

Being told that you have already installed this operating system should not matter.  You can change any piece of hardware on the computer except the motherboard.  The computer should activate without the need of contacting Microsoft, as long as you use the proper product key.


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#5 zingo156

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 03:26 PM

Thanks for the info zingo. I guess i should have just used the COA sticker to activate, but i was always told that would not work. I figured activation backup software was a godsend for reasons such as this, but apparently not. I still dont understand the reasoning behind it though? I have seen activation backup software work when there was no hardware changes, but with hardware changes on an OEM machine, it doesnt work. Also why when using dells windows 7 restore disc, the install doesnt ask for a product key at all?

-alex

The problem with using activation backup on brand name computers is that you are backing up an activation code that (they) dell in this case has likely used on countless machines. What they do is after loading windows 1 time on 1 machine and activating it, getting current updates, installing correct drivers, etc... they create an image (clone) and then essentially clone this image to other identical machines hard drives to save time, (this way they just put the cloned drives in the computers as they come of the manufacturing lines no need for loading windows etc) I am not certain how this works exactly step by step, or how the licensing agreement between windows and dell (or others) works.

 

Your restore disc is a clone setup that is already activated or pre-activated...

 

The COA on the bottom is the key that belongs to that computer and should always work to activate windows for that computer. This is the key you own when you buy the computer. As dc3 mentioned above, the only component that may cause issues with activation and OEM licenses is the motherboard. However you are allowed to replace the main board should it fail with an identical or equivalent (if no identical board is available) and it should still activate, if it did not then you would contact Microsoft and give them the code on the bottom (COA).


Edited by zingo156, 25 February 2014 - 03:29 PM.

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#6 acerts04

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 12:30 PM

That makes sense zingo. That is what the microsoft rep told me about dell and that is probably why my product key was "blocked" for being used more than once. What i just dont get is i have been told by so many techs to never activate with the COA sticker because it only works a limited amount of times, or not at all. I guess ill stick with the COA sticker from now on though!

"In real life, the hardest aspect of the battle between good and evil is determining which is which."


#7 zingo156

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 12:41 PM

Sometimes you may need to call Microsoft to activate the key. I have never had a COA fail to activate. Phone activation is annoying and takes 5-10 minutes but it has never failed. Most of the time internet activation worked fine.


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#8 acerts04

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 01:41 PM

Seems quite failsafe. What was strange when i restored activation with ATM, like i said before, windows did activate, but then was unactivated. I didnt even have the choice to activate by phone anymore at all.

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#9 Anshad Edavana

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 10:50 PM

 

 

The COA on the bottom is the key that belongs to that computer and should always work to activate windows for that computer

 

My experience with OEM Windows is different. All my attempts to use key from COA resulted in failure ( "this key is not valid for online activation" or similar message ). But an internet search shows several reports of success in using COA key. One thing i noticed is almost all of the users who had success in using the COA key are from either US or Canada. So to my understanding, Microsoft activation servers in some countries will accept the OEM key from COA sticker but others not.


Edited by Anshad Edavana, 26 February 2014 - 10:53 PM.


#10 zingo156

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 08:44 AM

It is possible it varries by country. All of the years I worked at a repair shop with 1000s of reloads/new hard drives, all activated from the COA. None worked from the factory image pre-loaded key if you tried to use it.

 

I have succesfully cloned some partially failing hard drives and had no issues with activation there.


Edited by zingo156, 27 February 2014 - 08:49 AM.

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