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Windows Vista Product Key Rubbed Off


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#1 Crisp

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 01:55

So a family members laptop has had malware lurking on it (fake anti-virus bs), and I've attempted removing it previously but it kept coming back every other week. Trying to delete it from the registry and using numerous different types of anti-malware with the same out come of it returning. Well I finally had enough and being an idiot I formatted the laptop, knowing there was a product key on the base from purchase. Well after the format and during the install process of Vista, the damn product key on the bottom is half rubbed off.

So I'm asking if anyone has been in the same situation as myself, obviously the logical thing to do is call Microsoft, but thought I would ask here first for some advice. Believe it or not, it's only 4 letters which have been rubbed off, and I've tried nearly ever letter / number that it looks like.

Do you think Microsoft could help me out? Or will they just charge me for another, which I won't pay for (would rather buy 7) and I'll just end up cracking the damn thing.


#2 Cheatyface

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 01:59

So a family members laptop has had malware lurking on it (fake anti-virus bs), and I've attempted removing it previously but it kept coming back every other week. Trying to delete it from the registry and using numerous different types of anti-malware with the same out come of it returning. Well I finally had enough and being an idiot I formatted the laptop, knowing there was a product key on the base from purchase. Well after the format and during the install process of Vista, the damn product key on the bottom is half rubbed off.

So I'm asking if anyone has been in the same situation as myself, obviously the logical thing to do is call Microsoft, but thought I would ask here first for some advice. Believe it or not, it's only 4 letters which have been rubbed off, and I've tried nearly ever letter / number that it looks like.

Do you think Microsoft could help me out? Or will they just charge me for another, which I won't pay for (would rather buy 7) and I'll just end up cracking the damn thing.


Try this: http://www.nirsoft.n...key_viewer.html

#3 Raa

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 01:59

Edit : Never mind.

#4 OP Crisp

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:03

Thanks for the advice, only problem is I can't use any program like that because I've already formatted? Hence the reason I'm an idiot.

#5 Cheatyface

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:06

Thanks for the advice, only problem is I can't use any program like that because I've already formatted?

D'oh! Yeah that kills any use of the keyfinder apps.

#6 sweetsam

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:08

I would call the support line of the manufacturer of the laptop. You have a better chance since they would know the key assigned based on the laptop serial number.

#7 OP Crisp

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:12

I would call the support line of the manufacturer of the laptop. You have a better chance since they would know the key assigned based on the laptop serial number.


Thanks, I'll have to try and dig out Acer's support number tomorrow morning. I've been reading online that Microsoft wont help because it's going to be an OEM install. Awesome!

Although it's so damn annoying as it's only 4 letters that's missing!
If all fails, Ubuntu it is.

#8 Thrackerzod

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:14

I really hate the product key stickers on the bottom of laptops, they always wear off.

Laptops often have a hidden restore partition with the Windows installation files. There may be an option to boot from this and restore your computer (keep hitting F8 as soon as you turn it on and check the list). The restore option may be under "Repair your computer". OEM installations should be pre-activated so I don't think you would need to type in the product key. Since you formatted it you may not be able to get into the boot menu though; check Acer's site for a startup disk or ask about them about how to access it and run system restore when you call. This might also be a good opportunity to upgrade to Windows 7. ;)

#9 Seizure1990

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:18

I would call the support line of the manufacturer of the laptop. You have a better chance since they would know the key assigned based on the laptop serial number.

If my experience with HP has taught me anything, it's that this isn't true. Hopefully for OP, I was just unlucky.

Laptops often have a hidden restore partition with the Windows installation files. There may be an option to boot from this and restore your computer (keep hitting F8 as soon as you turn it on and check the list. The restore option may be under "Repair your computer". OEM installations should be pre-activated so I don't think you would need to type in the product key.

This is definitely your best bet.... except for the fact that he formatted his computer. Even if the recovery partition is still there, the repair option was part of the original install's boot config. It won't be there anymore (The same exact thing happened to me today). Depending on manufacturer, there might be some hoops you can jump through to get into the recovery partition anyway.

#10 OP Crisp

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:19

Laptops often have a hidden restore partition with the Windows installation files. There may be an option to boot from this and restore your computer (keep hitting F8 as soon as you turn it on and check the list. The restore option may be under "Repair your computer". OEM installations should be pre-activated so I don't think you would need to type in the product key.


It did have a hidden restore partition and when I tried to restore from it, it said it was corrupt so I just formatted the hole thing. Funny you should mention about it being pre-activated it had a different product key to the one on the bottom of the laptop which is rubbed.

I have this key but it says it can't be activated and that I have 3 days to try a different key.

#11 Seizure1990

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:22

There are supposedly ways to insert the OEM licence certificates into clean installs, though I've personally never gotten it to work... It's technically illegal, but since you've got a valid license... just keep it in mind in case calling Acer and MS doesn't work out.

#12 OP Crisp

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:25

There are supposedly ways to insert the OEM licence certificates into clean installs, though I've personally never gotten it to work... It's technically illegal, but since you've got a valid license... just keep it in mind in case calling Acer and MS doesn't work out.


Thanks, I'll look into this tomorrow morning.

Thanks for the advice all.

#13 norseman

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:33

Just install your Windows 7 without a key, look up Acer's support info online and they will be able to help you once you have given the the model/serial for the laptop.


You don't appear to be without access to the internet (posting on here) why don't you just look it up now or is this a linux ad?

#14 Billmaster

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:34

If only there was a "Windows Loader" Then you could just install windows 7!

#15 Aasum

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:45

You just need to use the Vista SLP key with OEM Certs. All am going to say!



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