Author Topic: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys  (Read 10243 times)

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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2016, 04:10:42 am »
Using a different serial number or "tricking" software into working (when you own your own legitimate license) is not.
But you don't own the license. How far this logic goes? If I have a license for Windows 95, can I ask for a key for Windows 7?

There is a difference in HP version and MS version, even if it is very small.

And again, you can justify this to yourself however you want, it does not make this practice more legal.

Argh! We're going around in circles here. I do own two licenses. I have media for one, no media for the other. But still, I have two licenses and both are Windows 7. I'm not trying to substitute versions or trying to apply COAs to something they don't belong to.

All I want to know is, how can I get around activation or usability issues by using the same key on more than one machine (a key is not a license, the individual COA on each machine is). If I didn't have the COA that came with the media or machine, then fine, I'd have to go buy a new copy, no dramas. But I have two unique and legitimate licenses.

Again, you throw around that word "legal". Something is "illegal" when it's in breach of legislation or law. Anything else isn't illegal. It might be immoral or unethical, but law has nothing to do with it. Farting loudly in a fancy restaurant might be wrong, but it's not illegal. This is all I will say on the matter, whether you agree with me or not.

I'm after technical information and stories of people's own experiences, not a legal debate or a lesson on Microsoft licensing agreements. Thank you to those who have actually contibuted something meaningful, I'll give those a go (and you get a 'thank'). As nctnico has said...

You paid for Windows, not for jumping through hoops.

I didn't pay for Windows 7 Professional (HP Window-Licker-Bloatware Edition) or Windows 7 Pro (Half-arsed, cut down edition), I paid for Windows 7, full stop.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 04:21:48 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline digsys

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2016, 04:34:48 am »
LOL. You have been sucked into the very path you asked to avoid. :-)  There are a few options mentioned. I'd stop replying at this point.
Hello <tap> <tap> .. is this thing on?
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2016, 04:36:25 am »
LOL. You have been sucked into the very path you asked to avoid. :-)  There are a few options mentioned. I'd stop replying at this point.

It's almost like people don't even read original posts. They just latch onto an irrelevent issue and run with it. This is how wars start people!*

;-)

* Terms of Use: By reading this post, you automatically agree that wars have actually been started because of people not reading internet forum posts properly, despite what history would lead you to believe. This agreement is binding for all eternity and tranferrable to your children and/or next of kin. You also agree to buy me a puppy.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 04:39:51 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2016, 04:41:01 am »
Some OEM versions will only activate via phone, that said if you really don't want to bother MS I guess you can try Syed's reply to this post, yup he is an MS support engineer:
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_install/windows-7-wont-accept-product-key-to-activate/1d66f430-c17b-4e07-b3c1-eefc72996c07?auth=1

Edit: And in the past I did get discs from HP for free (used to have a pavillion and it died) but I know you don't want the bloatware. Not that is hard to uninstall but well you do as you want :)
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 04:44:20 am by miguelvp »
 
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Online ataradov

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2016, 04:41:08 am »
It's almost like people don't even read original posts.
We do. You are starting with the wrong premise.

Quote
Whether Microsoft agrees with that notion, I really don't give a shit -- I buy it, it's mine, I do what I like with it.
Microsoft does not, so your questions transforms into "how do I circumvent protection that MS put in place to highlight that disagreement?".

If you think you are legally in the clear and we all just don't understand what you are trying to do, then call MS and talk to them. And if they say that you can't do this, then you cant.
Alex
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2016, 04:42:06 am »
 :palm:    |O

I'm going to the supermarket...
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2016, 04:44:08 am »
There are essentially only two Windows 7 installations disks - 32 bit and 64 bit.

As long as you have a 64 bit installation disk, it can be used to install any 64bit version of Windows you want.

The thing that informs Windows what version the disk is intended for is a tiny text file on the root of the installation disk ei.cfg.

If you have an ISO editor like UltraISO, or a Disk Burner suite such as Ashampoo that allows iso editing, all you have to do is to change this file.  Or you can make a bootable USB stick with the Windows install and edit the file directly. For OEM installation, you want these contents:
Code: [Select]
[EditionID]

[Channel]
OEM
[VL]
0

It is that simple. As long as you have any Windows 7 installation disk, you can install any other version of Windows 7.

I gather the installation even works without any ei.cfg and I think in that case it asks for the version, but I haven't tried it.

The other tip is that you can either enter the license key during the install, or afterwards from the Control Panel/System page. The second method is often less fussy then the first method.

Richard
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 05:02:24 am by amspire »
 
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Offline amspire

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2016, 05:00:23 am »
Just remembered, if there is no ei.cfg file, then you must enter the license key during installation - there is no option to enter it later.

This can be significant. If you have a Windows 8 license, and you try and use the Windows 8.1 Upgrade disk to install a clean Windows 8.1, it will fail as the installation key check will not accept the Windows 8 key for installing Windows 8.1.

If you add a ei.cfg file to the Upgrade disk, you can now install without entering any key. The activation key entry from the Control Panel/System page will accept the Windows 8 key for Windows 8.1.
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2016, 05:05:10 am »
Thanks for your input amspire. I have a 64-bit disc which I can use. I'll have a play and report back.
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #34 on: April 29, 2016, 05:41:54 am »
In the Edition ID field of ei.cfg for Windows 7, you can either have blank (which seems to defaults to Windows Pro if you do not enter a key during install) or one of these values:

Ultimate
Professional
HomePremium
HomeBasic
Starter
Enterprise
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 05:59:27 am by amspire »
 

Offline XOIIO

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #35 on: April 29, 2016, 05:57:00 am »
I'm uploading the sp1 integrated iso I use right now, I put it together using different images, so its "less risky" than the ones off of pirate sites, but those are usually clean. If they aren't people bitch about them quite a lot in comments.

It will take a couple hours but I should have it posted before I nod off.

Offline amspire

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #36 on: April 29, 2016, 06:01:57 am »
One more thing, your Windows key is for 32 bit or 64 bit.

If you have a key for Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit, you can use it to install Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit.

The thing you can never do is that you can never upgrade a 32 bit installation to a 64 bit installation. To go from 32 bit to 64bit, you have to wipe the 32bit install and do a clean 64 bit install.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 06:06:02 am by amspire »
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #37 on: April 29, 2016, 06:16:38 am »
Just remembered, if there is no ei.cfg file, then you must enter the license key during installation - there is no option to enter it later.

Success!

I went down the path of deleting the ei.cfg file completely (since I had a valid product key anyway). I used a Windows 7 Ultimate DVD image and during the first part of the setup, it just asked me which edition of Windows 7 I'd like to install so I picked the version applicable to the COA that's stuck to the machine. After it had copied the files over and a reboot, it asked for the product key. I entered in the HP OEM key which it accepted and the product was activated without an issue.

This is exactly the solution I was after. A clean, legitimate (and legal) installation of Windows 7, using the original product key that came with the machine (regardless of what media I had/didn't have). It took a whole 5 minutes to delete the ei.cfg file and re-burn the DVD. There was no requirement to stuff around with HP to get recovery discs, mess around with registry entries, or bullshit to a Microsoft representative over the phone. Plus, for those who are sticklers for Software License Agreements, you'll be glad to know I'm fully compliant. ;-)

Thanks!
 :-+
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 06:19:41 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline XOIIO

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #38 on: April 29, 2016, 06:22:39 am »
Just remembered, if there is no ei.cfg file, then you must enter the license key during installation - there is no option to enter it later.

Success!

I went down the path of deleting the ei.cfg file completely (since I had a valid product key anyway). I used a Windows 7 Ultimate DVD image and during the first part of the setup, it just asked me which edition of Windows 7 I'd like to install so I picked the version applicable to the COA that's stuck to the machine. After it had copied the files over and a reboot, it asked for the product key. I entered in the HP OEM key which it accepted and the product was activated without an issue.

This is exactly the solution I was after. A clean, legitimate (and legal) installation of Windows 7, using the original product key that came with the machine (regardless of what media I had/didn't have). It took a whole 5 minutes to delete the ei.cfg file and re-burn the DVD. There was no requirement to stuff around with HP to get recovery discs, mess around with registry entries, or bullshit to a Microsoft representative over the phone. Plus, for those who are sticklers for Software License Agreements, you'll be glad to know I'm fully compliant. ;-)

Thanks!
 :-+

Ah nice, saves me the upload time.

Now quick, delete this thread before the cops track you down!

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #39 on: April 29, 2016, 06:32:40 am »
Now quick, delete this thread before the cops track you down!
:scared:

Seriously though, I know a few people who work in cybercrime areas within our state and federal Police. One of them laughed at me when I bought this question up. I think I'll be pretty right ;-)

I'm pretty sure child exploitation and credit card fraud rate a little higher on the priority list.

I guess I could always front up at the Police station and admit to defrauding Microsoft of exactly $0 and admitting to using a legitimate software license... although I may end up being charged with wasting Police time.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 06:35:58 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline 3db

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #40 on: April 29, 2016, 06:37:37 am »
I can't be bothered nor do I want any of their pre-loaded software.
and

I have essentially paid for two licenses.
One of them is OEM license, which you've got for cheap because of all the bloatware. So reinstalling another version of Windows instead of the one you have licensed is technically illegal.

No it's NOT
MS have sold the OS to the hardware provider.
That provider has sold you the hardware with the OS installed.
So the same OS release version ie Win 7 is legal on that hardware.

The bloatware is just the hardware supplier making money from those vendors.

3DB.
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #41 on: April 29, 2016, 06:42:46 am »
Now quick, delete this thread before the cops track you down!
None of this is secret knowledge. Here is a Microsoft Technet on the issue:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744535(v=ws.10).aspx

It is possible that deleting the ei.cfg is a minor EULA violation but I doubt if anyone knows for sure. Editing the ei.cfg is fine.

There are all sorts of ways you can install Windows legally - installing from DVD happens to be the slowest.
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #42 on: April 29, 2016, 06:44:50 am »
It is possible that deleting the ei.cfg is a minor EULA violation but I doubt if anyone knows for sure. Editing the ei.cfg is fine.

Who cares? It's not against the law and that's all I care about. Whatever gets the job done I say. Thanks for your suggestion amspire!
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 06:56:27 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #43 on: April 29, 2016, 06:50:06 am »
I have essentially paid for two licenses.
One of them is OEM license, which you've got for cheap because of all the bloatware. So reinstalling another version of Windows instead of the one you have licensed is technically illegal.

No it's NOT
[/quote]
That is right. Microsoft don't care what installation disks you use to install Windows as long as you install the Windows version that matches the license key. Microsoft will not accept the key or let you activate if you have installed a Windows version that doesn't match the key.

Dell Windows OEM is the same Windows version as HP Windows OEM. They are all Windows OEM. Whatever customised rubbish the PC companies add to their Windows installations is nothing to do with the Windows licensing.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 06:59:58 am by amspire »
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #44 on: April 29, 2016, 07:10:51 am »
It is possible that deleting the ei.cfg is a minor EULA violation but I doubt if anyone knows for sure. Editing the ei.cfg is fine.

Who cares? It's not against the law and that's all I care about. Whatever gets the job done I say. Thanks for your suggestion amspire!
The actual installation will be totally legal. The only thing that might violate Microsoft's licensing is the creating of an installation disk without the ei.cfg file. I don't think Microsoft care less - they make install disks without the ei.cfg file themselves and it doesn't let you do anything you cannot do with a ei.cfg file. They wouldn't want to waste time questioning the issue.
 

Offline XOIIO

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #45 on: April 29, 2016, 07:12:16 am »
Now quick, delete this thread before the cops track you down!
None of this is secret knowledge. Here is a Microsoft Technet on the issue:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744535(v=ws.10).aspx

It is possible that deleting the ei.cfg is a minor EULA violation but I doubt if anyone knows for sure. Editing the ei.cfg is fine.

There are all sorts of ways you can install Windows legally - installing from DVD happens to be the slowest.

Yeah, it's horrid. Flash drives are nice (and I bet it's technically illegal to make those too), however unless you have a lot of them, it gets tedious wiping and copying them over.

The ISOstick looked promising but was way overpriced, so I have a zalman VE300b, it's an external hard drive enclosure that emulates a dvd drive, and all you need to do is put the ISO's into the appropriate directory, and you can make subdirectories too, it's all handled by a little lcd and jogwheel on the device.

Sticking an SSD in there would really get it to go fast, but I don't use it enough to warrant that investment right now. It works on 98% of computers I encounter, its mostly older ones that have issues.

Offline _Andrew_

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #46 on: April 29, 2016, 07:21:48 am »
This type of problem has come about because if systems being supplied with out original media to cut production costs and a move to rescue partishons on hdd.

So it is left to you to create rescue disks just incase the of the situation of the hdd failing. It is also a pain if you want to reinstall the os and repartition the hdd as you have to take care not to obliterate the rescue partishons.

I have a couple of ways that I use.

Firstly with a new system after doing the initial set up and getting the main aplications set up, all the updates done and email accounts set up I use clonezilla to make an entire image of the hdd so I have a fall back just incase the hdd fails and periodically I create new images to account for things changing. Clonezilla also is very handy if you want to mess about with the partishons.

With systems where it has a code on case with no original media or recovery disk. I have used original windows instalation disks that are the correct virsion to what relates to the code on case sticker. Using the the windows instalation disk and gone down the rout of selecting to use a different product key to activate windows (using the product key on the sticker on the machine in stead of the one supplied with the disk) and selected the option to activate via the phone using the automated service (only because it is quicker than having to talk to several people at MS and sitting in call cues even then when I have spoken to them they have been helpful).
When I have spoken to Microsoft they were more concerned that the code on case is being used with the original machine it came with as there not transferable betwean machines.
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2016, 07:30:16 am »
If I have to install Windows on several PCs for a client, I just create a Virtualbox PC with a VMDK C: drive using the correct Windows version but without entering any key. I do all the updates, install the programs the client wants, do any configuration the client needs. Install McCAfee and Nortons (just kidding). Shut it down. Make a snapshot. Run it and run Sysprep (included in Windows) in audit mode that will reboot Windows. Delete my current admin user plus all the accounts files. Finish Sysprep and shut it down. I do a Virtualbox clone of the Sysprep'ed Virtual PC to make a new clean copy of the Windows Sysprep VMDK file. 

After 30 days or 3 days, the Virtualbox will say it has expired, but you can just reset it to have 30 days again. Simple command line instruction. So you can come back to this Virtual Machine in a year, get all the latest updates and Sysprep it again.

To get the PC running with Windows, clone the VMDK file to hard drive, put the drive in the PC and turn on. When the PC powers up, it asks for the Windows key, user name and password. Done! A fully up to date and legal Windows install that takes about 10 minutes a PC. 5 minutes for SSD drives.

Once you get the hang of it, it is very easy.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 07:39:26 am by amspire »
 

Offline XOIIO

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #48 on: April 29, 2016, 07:50:58 am »
If I have to install Windows on several PCs for a client, I just create a Virtualbox PC with a VMDK C: drive using the correct Windows version but without entering any key. I do all the updates, install the programs the client wants, do any configuration the client needs. Install McCAfee and Nortons (just kidding). Shut it down. Make a snapshot. Run it and run Sysprep (included in Windows) in audit mode that will reboot Windows. Delete my current admin user plus all the accounts files. Finish Sysprep and shut it down. I do a Virtualbox clone of the Sysprep'ed Virtual PC to make a new clean copy of the Windows Sysprep VMDK file. 

After 30 days or 3 days, the Virtualbox will say it has expired, but you can just reset it to have 30 days again. Simple command line instruction. So you can come back to this Virtual Machine in a year, get all the latest updates and Sysprep it again.

To get the PC running with Windows, clone the VMDK file to hard drive, put the drive in the PC and turn on. When the PC powers up, it asks for the Windows key, user name and password. Done! A fully up to date and legal Windows install that takes about 10 minutes a PC. 5 minutes for SSD drives.

Once you get the hang of it, it is very easy.

I've done things similarly, when I volunteered at a place, loads of ibm thinkcenters came through. Set one up, clone it to a network location, and roll it out, but unfortunately drivers don't always work and sometimes you are stuck doing a brand new install :/

Offline amspire

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Re: Windows 7 Licensing and Product Keys
« Reply #49 on: April 29, 2016, 08:06:49 am »
I've done things similarly, when I volunteered at a place, loads of ibm thinkcenters came through. Set one up, clone it to a network location, and roll it out, but unfortunately drivers don't always work and sometimes you are stuck doing a brand new install :/
Quite often, you can install the drivers that the PCs will need in Virtualbox, and when the PCs start, it will find the drivers. If some drivers refuse to install, we just have to include them in a folder on the PCs and install them manually as a last step.

The thing you definitely do not do is install any Virtualbox drivers from the Virtualbox Extension Pack into the virtual PC. It will run OK with no added drivers.

There is always the option of cloning to one of the PCs, installing all the drivers and then Sysprep it again from that machine. Use that hard drive to clone to the other PCs. It is just better doing most of the work in Virtualbox, as the ability to snapshot instantly makes the process work.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 08:12:07 am by amspire »
 


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