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EliteBook doesn't recognize BIOS-embedded Windows activation key

HP Recommended

I had to update the SSD firmware on a Folio 9470m to eliminate a BSOD, which required an OS reinstall  (Windows 8).  HP sent me the media, which I used to reinstall, but now Windows gives an activation error, "This product key doesn't work."  It also displays the last segment of the product key that's embedded in the BIOS, so it is finding it correctly -- it just doesn't like it.

 

I am on the current BIOS rev, and have tried reflashing it as well.

 

HP says that the only solution is to replace the motherboard.  Does this make sense?  Why bother embedding keys in teh BIOS if it causes motherboard replacements on otherwise correctly operating units?

 

Any other possible solutions?  Is there a way to display the full activation key so I can try entering in manually?

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