Jump to content


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.

Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.


Used computer purchase/W7/no product key/no refund = pirated software?

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 jkc054


  • Members
  • 3 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Greenfield, IN
  • Local time:09:52 PM

Posted 04 July 2014 - 01:21 AM

I have never purchased a used computer before until a few weeks ago.


Our XP PC was dying and I was out of town so I told my wife to find a used computer that had Windows 7 already installed.  I gave her a few other specifications that it needed to have. I gave her the name of a store in Indianapolis. She went to the store and called me right before she made the purchase and I talked to one of the employees who confirmed it had Windows 7 Home Premium and that it had the other specifications I wanted such as a large HDD, etc. She bought it and I am using it right now.


I came home a few days later and hooked everything up to the new "used" computer which was a Dell OptiPlex 760. While I was hooking everything up I noticed the COA on the back of the computer was for Windows Vista and not Windows 7. The COA was somewhat damaged so I could not read the product key. At this point I got a little worried.


I turned the computer on and right clicked Computer and picked Properties to make sure the computer had Windows 7 installed. It did but IT HAD NOT BEEN ACTIVATED and was set to turn off in about 6 days since a product key had not been entered. At this point I was upset.  


I took the computer back to the store and explained my concerns, one of the employees took the computer from me and went to a back room where I could not see him and when he returned I was told they entered the product key to activate it. I took it home and determined that it had been activated. Before I left the store I asked if the computer had a recovery disk or a recovery partition to reinstall the OS if it crashed and I was told no, that I would need to bring it back to them and for $50 they could reinstall W7.


I do not know much about software licensing, especially for W7. I called Microsoft and they said the store should have given me a recovery CD and a COA with the product key for my copy of W7 placed on the computer. Microsoft said since they didn't that I had a pirated copy of W7. Is this true?


I want to be able to reinstall W7 if needed but since the store did not give me a recovery CD and the computer does not have a recovery partition and I have no product key I can't reinstall it. I called the store today and told them Microsoft said my copy of W7 was a pirated copy and I wanted my money back. The store said they WOULD NOT refund my money but indicated they would give me a COA with a product key.  


What is your take on this situation?


What do I need to get from them in order to reinstall Windows 7 on my own?


Can a store legally sell me a used computer with Windows 7 without giving me a COA and a product key? They never told me or my wife any of this before selling her the computer.


At this point I am not sure if they did this on purpose or it was a mistake but I am leaning towards the former.


I suppose I could buy a copy of W7 from Tiger Direct for $119 but then if I had known then what I know now I would never have purchased the computer.

Edited by jkc054, 04 July 2014 - 01:24 AM.

BC AdBot (Login to Remove)


#2 TheGreatGarbled


  • Banned
  • 34 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:05:22 PM

Posted 04 July 2014 - 01:33 AM

I had this happen to me. I lost the Windows boot/recovery and everything except Linux when learning how to partition with Gparted with a dual boot. OK. I have the PC/key on the bottom sticker but no Windows 7 Disc. I saw on the Kim Komando show she had a link to Digital River *Microsoft's downloads. 



I downloaded the entire 3gig .iso for Windows 7, Burned it to a DVD using K3b *since I still had Linux on my other partition. In windows I use Infra-Recorder to burn .iso's to dvd. I tried it out and it worked and even accepted the product Key and showed "Genuine Windows" I don't know if those links still work. It's worth a look  THIS is one reason I prefer Linux. You always have access to a disc download .iso for Free and can make your own.

Edited by TheGreatGarbled, 04 July 2014 - 01:35 AM.

#3 scotty_ncc1701


  • Members
  • 520 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:09:52 PM

Posted 04 July 2014 - 06:44 AM

1.  Believe me, I do feel for you.  From my research years and years aso, a lot of computer shops will reuse the same serial number over and over again, leaving customers like you in the same situation.

2.  If I were you, I'd report the shop for fraud to the local District Attorney.  Fraud is a criminal offense.  There is a good possibility, that once you speak up, others will also.

3.  If I were you, I'd also file a civil suit againt the shop.  When you purchase an item, their "no refund" policy is void when fraud is involved... that's the law, as I understand it.

4.  OK, that being said (items 2 and 3), which I recommend you do, no matter what, you may want to contact Dell.  They might be able to get you recovery disks for a minimal cost.  For my computer (not a Dell), it cost about $15.00.  I know that you said the COA was for Vista.  However, it might be possible that you can get the original Vista recovery disks, plus the Windows 7 update disk.  This is how my sister-in-law's computer was upgraded.  Presuming that the costs are about the same, and Dell can help you, it would cost $15-$30.  In the case of my sister-in-law, the upgrade to Windows 7 was free.

5.  Another possibility, is to see if you have a friend that went to Windows 8, who had Windows 7 before, and buy it from them.  Just make sure that you have the ORIGINAL CD/DVDs.  By having the original CD/DVD's establishes your right to the serial number, not your friend.

Items 4 and 5 would insure that you have a 100% legal copy of Windows 7.

Now, another alternative would be is to upgrade to Windows 8, which I suggest, if your computer would handle it.  Go to the microsoft website, and download the upgrade assistant.  It is freee, and it will tell you if your system could handle Windows 8.

Finally, the last alternative would be just to go to LINUX, it's free.  If you consider thing, I recommend LUBUNTU.  It only requires 128MB of RAM, and you can access common WINDOWS files (e.g. music, audio, text, office documents, etc), you just can't run Windows programs.

On my last comment, in the last paragraph, there is a program called WINE, which will let you run SOME windows programs in a virtualized environment.  However, in all my experimenting, it can be flaky, and a lot of programs won't run.

Best of luck.

#4 JohnC_21


  • Members
  • 24,675 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:08:52 PM

Posted 04 July 2014 - 03:35 PM

If the computer has been activated, download Produkey. Run it and it will give you the key that the store used to install. Then download WIndows 7 Product Key Checker. Copy and paste the key you got from Produkey into the program in the first box labeled Product Key. It will take a few seconds but the program will come back with the info including your activation ID.


If you have access to an external drive with enought capacity, I would download Macrium Free and create a disk image along with the bootable WinPE disk you can create with the program. Doing this, if the computer failed to boot because of malware or a defective hard drive, you could reimage the infected drive or install a new drive and restore the image with the bootable disk You just have to make sure the bootable disk can see all of your drives including the external. I can't begin to tell you how many times Macirum Free has saved my bacon. One of the best imaging programs out there. Using Macrium Free would basically keep you from worring about using an Install Disk, though it is preferable to have one if you can get it as that is what you paid for. I would also create a Windows System Rescue Disk as soon as possible.


I should also mention that Windows 7 has it's own imaging program and I have never had it fail on me either. It's a little bit more cumbersome than Macrium to work with.

#5 hamluis



  • Moderator
  • 56,435 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Killeen, TX
  • Local time:07:52 PM

Posted 04 July 2014 - 04:28 PM




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users