• Win7 to Win10 activation trouble

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    LANGALIST By Fred Langa A subscriber lost his Win7 product key and wonders what will happen if his free Win10 upgrade fails to properly activate, espe
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    • #2366628

      I just used this to find my Product ID. I figured it is not a bad idea to get it:

      How can I find the product key?

      You can easily find your product key by using the command prompt.

      To open your command prompt, go to your Windows search bar and type CMD. All you have to do is copy and paste this command “wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey” to your command prompt.

    • #2366684

      Fred, I work with OneDrive and SharePoint for a number of customers and consider myself pretty competent at consulting on them. I have a bit of disagreement with your thoughts on “always keeping all copies on local machines” choice in OneDrive. Why? Two reasons:


      • If the client has a 128 or 256 (or eve 512GB!) SSD or hard drive, space can be at a premium. If they don’t have an easy way to upgrade to a larger drive then keeping things only that are used on the local drive is appropriate. Letting One Drive decide what to remove because it’s not being used is ok.
      • Secondly, if the person is also connecting to SharePoint, there could be 10s of thousands of files, some huge, that should NOT be synced! Maybe this is self evident, but lots of clients are using SP these days.
      • Lastly, I remind people that have a synchronized copy in the cloud is NOT the same as a backup! It is a copy, that is changed (including perhaps corrupted) and or can be accidentally deleted and lost by not discovering the deletion before MSFT permanently deletes it! So having backups is still worth doing if you really have a need to not lose something!
      • Hope this helps.
      • #2432114

        bstring – your post in interesting to me.

        In my wife’s small business, I am going to upgrade the employee’s production machine to Win 10 and install one of our instances of MS 365 Family.  This will lead to her Excel and Word files being backed up into OneDrive.

        But this employee’s PC already syncs many of these files with my wife’s separate computers via one or two SugarSync accounts, which my wife will want to keep going.

        In other words, many files will be BOTH backing up with OneDrive and syncing to my wife’s separate computers with SugarSync.  So, I was thinking to set up the new OneDrive on the employee’s machine to “Always Keep a Copy on this Machine” so the SugarSync wouldn’t suddenly be missing a file on the employee’s machine because OneDrive had deleted the local copy.

        Under these circumstances, am I right to set up the new OneDrive to “Always Keep a Copy on this Machine”?

        What else do you think?


        • #2432302

          You would need to set up all O365 machines to keep the files local or your sync software may miss files.

          Having both OD and sync may cause issues if something changes unexpectedly. Maybe not use OD?

          cheers, Paul

    • #2366728

      A couple of notes of ProduKey.

      1. Every antivirus program I’ve used flags Produkey as some sort of malicious software, so plan on exempting it from your antivirus software’s steely-eyed glare.
      2. It’s not a bad idea to run ProduKey on your PC at least once regardless of any other considerations because it finds LOTS of license keys, not just Windows.   The result can be saved and stored safely or even printed on paper for future reference.

      Rather, with hardware this old, a far better choice is to bite the bullet and get a new, fully current PC

      I disagree with you regarding putting Windows 10 on old equipment.   Your point about newer equipment having new security bells and whistles is well made, but the driver issue is overblown.  Drivers may not be available from the machine’s manufacturer but Windows 10 has an amazing library of drivers that will get a machine working.

      I’ve successfully upgraded – and kept current – a number of machines with Core 2 Duo processors with little or no problem, such as Dell Latitude D630 laptops (circa 2007) and Optiplex 770 desktops.  With 4 GB of RAM and a $50 SSD, these machines still perform quite well for most uses other than gaming, video editing and the like.  They run Office just fine.

      An off-brand machine or one with obscure hardware may well be more problematic, but it’s always worth a try to put Windows 10 on an old machine.   Your wallet may be able to support your advice “get a new, fully current PC” but not everyone’s is.

    • #2366729

      I found this and it works great:

      One’s mileage may differ on this one.  This command returned “OA3xOriginalProductKey” when I ran it from an administrative prompt.

      ProduKey returned a real key.

    • #2366798

      Not followed by the 25-digit product key?


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    • #2375642

      In order to discover the active Windows 7 product license key, try “Belarc Advisor”. Bob Hill.

    • #2432379

      I suspect this should work for Windows 7 as well..


      If you have Windows 10 on, try rummaging under


      look at pointing the script at the DigitalProductId4 value under keys named in the style “Source OS (Updated on xx/xx/20xx xx:xx:xx)”. (used that ages back but unsure as to if its meaningful now!)

      The other hint- add your Windows 10 to a Microsoft account to retrieve it later.



    • #2432389

      wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey

      Nope, just this:

      Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.19044.1526]
      (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

      C:\Windows\system32>wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey

      I did come across a link to a program called ShowKeyPlus in the Microsoft store.  It does show a key, two keys actually, but includes this caveat:  “Default key ” requires a Digital license for activation” on one of them.  The two keys are “Installed Key”, which is the one that has the caveat, and “Original Key” which is different from the “Installed Key”.

      Since my machine is a Windows 10 upgrade, I ran bot the command line and ShowKeyPls on a different machine that shipped with Windows 10.   On this machine, the command line did return a key and the two keys in ShowKeyPlus are the same.

      It appears that the command line only returns a key if it is the “original key” for the installation.



      • #2432561



        Basically the OA3 key is a BIOS key which works with the details of the hardware it’s embedded into to enable activation (thus rendering key re-use there pretty pointless.)

        The response indicates correctly (as mine does) that your do not have this form of key- or at least your board has not been successfully processed by an OEM to add that form of key. Look at the case (inside and out) – there should be a COA there somewhere.

        There is nothing to stop you changing from a BIOS key to a key from a COA if you need to, or any other valid key for that matter – the whole concept is all about ensuring MS got paid to allow your device to run Windows.

        It seems you might get what you want if you rework the script as I posted, changing the target if the  WshShell.RegRead value to the one suggested (right click on the key and copy key name in regedit.. ) and if you record all the keys thus stored you might get something which works..(that is to say, do DigitalProductId and DigitalProductId4 as it was some time ago I messed with it.. it was an “in passing” observation as I needed to prove to a colleague  that the data I loaded was from the correct backup. When a key in the backup matches the COA stuck to the machine case that’s fairly supportive.)


    • #2432616

      The free Belarc Advisor can display Windows product key (and other software keys)
      On laptops the Windows product key is usually found in the battery compartment.

    • #2432655

      The free Belarc Advisor can display Windows product key (and other software keys)
      On laptops the Windows product key is usually found in the battery compartment.

      Assuming, of course, that the laptop has a battery compartment…  🙂

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2432798

      I’ve seen two fun locations – once on the side of an ATX power supply (that is to say, inside the side cover of the machine on an exchangeable component) and once UNDER the hard disk in a laptop – so you had to remove the hard disk to read the key. Seriously hope those were Friday afternoon machines (a no brand tower and old Mitac chassis XP laptop.. so nothing this decade or last..). That’s why I wrote check inside and out…


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