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Message 1 of 3
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Retreive downgraded product key

HP Recommended

A year ago or so I have purchased a used HP workstation computer, which came preinstalled with Windows 7 Professional. It had a Windows 8 sticker on it though, and after further reading, it turns out that it was a downgraded computer. Now, back than I thought, that using used Windows keys is illegal, so I wiped out the system, installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 Professional with a retail key I had lying around. Now I would need that retail key for another PC, but than for this workstation I would need the original Windows 7 Pro key that it came with. I could extract the original Windows 8 key from the BIOS that was downgraded, but not the Windows 7 key. Just to clear things up, I'll say it again. The computer had Windows 8, but was downgraded to Windows 7 with downgrade rights, but than I wiped out everything and installed my own copy of Windows 7, and now I want to get back the licence key of the original Windows 7 that was on this computer. It wouldn't be a problem if I had to wipe out everything from the computer again, just to get back to the old system with some kind of recovery CD for example, as I have read that in some cases that is needed for such thing, but I am not sure about downgraded OSes. Also, if I need to order a specific recovery CD, please specify, which one I need and where can I order it.

Thanks you.

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Message 2 of 3
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If i understand corectly you wiped a windows 7 system that had a windows 8 COA key on the case


you then used a diffrent windows 7 key to reinstall windows 7


if the above is correct,  you might be screwed, for your problem we are only concerned with the diffrence between


windows 7 keys in OEM and Retail,


OEM keys can self activate, using the systems " embeded Bios key files"  and the HP OEM serial label, if the 2 keys match it self activates and is locked to that OEM vender (HP in this case) this type activation will usually activate on any system that has the HP bios and hp activation key files from the HP install DVD without any limit, other than the OEM vender must be HP in this example


there is also the generic OEM key install, where the serial activates by checking the installed hardware and then locks itself to that specific motherboard using the supplied key this type install can not be moved to another motherboard


Retail keys, contact the microsoft server and then activate, this type of install can be moved as many times as desired

it is not locked to any motherboard



so , unless you go and buy a HP branded OEM windows 7 install disk you are screwed


there is no way to recover the  retail or generic keys after you did a format reinstall using another key

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Message 3 of 3
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HP Recommended



The downgrades to W7 are done at the factory, and in order to reinstall W7 as DGroves already posted, you have to order W7 recovery media from HP.


The W8 product key won't work, and HP won't issue you a W7 Pro product key.


If you live in the USA/Canada, you can order recovery media for your specific model workstation from HP by calling




Have the model number and serial number of the PC handy to give to the customer services rep.

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