Posted by: Just Systems Malvern | August 3, 2016

New PC Windows 7 to 8.1 without License Key Sticker

PCs these days usually have their Windows license key embedded in the BIOS. Your PC will just have a little official sticker on it showing Windows is installed, but nothing else. This can cause problems when wanting to re-install Windows 7 or 8.1 when the installation media insists on inputting a valid license key.

Windows 10 doesn’t have this problem as it will usually pick up the key from BIOS itself.

Some new PCs still come with Windows 7 pre-installed but also supply you with a disk to upgrade to 8.1. However if you try and do the upgrade the 8.1 disk still asks for a license key which obviously you don’t have to hand.

There is a way to get round this.

  1. Firstly you need to extract from your existing Win 7 installation what the current license key is. There are quite a few key extraction utilities you can use such as OEMKey  or MyKeyFinder that can help you extract the key.
  2. Once you have extracted it , keep it in a safe place for later use.
  3. Now you can start the Win 8.1 install/upgrade.
  4. The Installer will ask you for a license key to proceed. You will probably find that if you use the extracted Win7 key that it won’t be accepted. Don’t panic.
  5. What you need to proceed is a generic installation key. These are perfectly legal and will allow you to complete the installation and change the key afterwards.
  6. There are several web sites listing the keys, specific to the version of windows you have e.g. for Windows 8.1 Pro, use XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB  here is a site with more versions listed
  7. Once the installation is complete, go to the Control Panel and change the license key back to the one you saved earlier. This should now be accepted and be able to activated.



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