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Old 25-04-2013, 01:45
GetFrodo
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I noticed that my friend's laptop's Windows sticker is becoming worn, so I wanted to record the key elsewhere before it is too late. One or two of the characters are unfortunately already illegible, so I downloaded and ran a key finder to confirm the key.

The key that the "finder" spurts out is completely different to the key on the sticker, and my friend has confirmed that they have never reinstalled Windows (it's an OEM copy).

So is this usual behaviour? Have I picked a useless key finder?
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Old 25-04-2013, 01:50
max99
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Nope, it's normal. The key that you've recovered is a bulk one used by the OEM. The actual COA key is usually only required if you manually install Windows (as opposed to a factory recovery).

It's also very common for the key to rub off the label underneath a laptop. It's a stupid, stupid design.
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Old 25-04-2013, 01:58
GetFrodo
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Thanks for the quick reply, max. So is the COA key unrecoverable then?
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Old 25-04-2013, 02:00
irishguy
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Nope, it's normal. The key that you've recovered is a bulk one used by the OEM. The actual COA key is usually only required if you manually install Windows (as opposed to a factory recovery).

It's also very common for the key to rub off the label underneath a laptop. It's a stupid, stupid design.
Yeah - a completely new install of Windows with the key you got from the program won't activate. You need the key on the sticker for that. If its no longer legible then you would have to try and contact the manufacturer and see if they'll give you a new key
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Old 25-04-2013, 02:03
max99
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Unless someone is aware of another method, I would imagine the only way to recover an unreadable COA is by contacting the manufacturer or seller.

Edit: Slow typing.
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Old 25-04-2013, 09:32
Tassium
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Taking a picture of the label might be helpful.

Under the bright flash there might be some remnants of the letters. Obviously a very sharp image is needed.


In Photoshop (or similar) it might be possible to enhance the contrast to be able to see the letters/numbers. I have done this before with labels for various things where the lettering is barely there.


One alternative to a digital camera would be a flat scanner, it would certainly be sharp and bright.
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Old 25-04-2013, 17:31
s2k
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I did read on another forum that somebody had managed to get a new CoA from Microsoft after sending them the damaged one. No idea how common this is or if the guy just got through to someone overly helpful.

You would probably find that your recovery media wont actually ask for a key at all and instead just use the bulk one that you are looking at via the utility. Part of the OEM agreement requires the manufacturer to affix the sticker to the system unit. They don't have to use it though and most don't since there are other ways to control activation.
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Old 25-04-2013, 19:13
psionic
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You could try this: http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/

edit: Not used it recently, so no idea if it's still effective.
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Old 25-04-2013, 20:31
max99
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You could try this: http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/

edit: Not used it recently, so no idea if it's still effective.
It's still effective at recovering a Windows key...but the issue is that the Windows key on an OEM machine will not match the key on the COA.
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Old 26-04-2013, 03:38
Loobster
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You could try this: http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/

edit: Not used it recently, so no idea if it's still effective.
You might want to try reading the thread properly before responding to it.
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