I purchased this laptop new (out of the box) in 2011. I had to reinstall Windows 7 OEM, however, the product key has been rubbed off of the bottom of the device (quite frankly a poor excuse of an attempt by HP to safeguard product keys...) and the device came with no rescue media. It did come with a recovery partition, but no matter the effort, I am unable to boot it to the recovery partition, as I have read that would, in fact, restore the factory product key.
I simply need a way to retrieve the key. I am NOT going to purchase another as I have already purchased this one, and it is faulty product design that led to its destruction.
Since the device is long since out of warranty (ended in 2012), there was no option for online support, and HP's "tool" directed me here.
Things that are not viable options:
3rd party tools to retrieve key from registry (since OS was reinstalled via OEM ISO, there is no key to retrieve)
Purchase Windows 7 again (over 150 dollars through Amazon and Microsoft). I purchased the OS once, and am not going to purchase a second time due to HP design flaws.
Recovery keys (no recovery keys were created from factory image)
I have attempted to set the recovery partition as active, but it continuously says "cannot find operating system" if I directly boot to it (force the boot.) Otherwise, it just boots back into Windows. It seems that the recovery partition is corrupted.