1. Steve Jordan1's Avatar
    Hi. I built a modest gaming rig a few years ago. Purchased Windows 7 for the OS. After installation, I activated the Windows 7. I took advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade. After downloading and installation, I activated my Windows 10. Few years pass, I start having troubles with my OS. Windows key won't work, can't click on icons on the task bar, etc. I attempt multiple fixes, but still have continued various problems. Then I use a program called ReImage. It fixed my problem. But now, Windows 10 is asking me to Activate it again. I don't have any codes. The rig is the same, with all the same components. Will this be a problem if i attempt to activate Windows again?
    01-24-2018 07:48 AM
  2. TechFreak1's Avatar
    Hi. I built a modest gaming rig a few years ago. Purchased Windows 7 for the OS. After installation, I activated the Windows 7. I took advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade. After downloading and installation, I activated my Windows 10. Few years pass, I start having troubles with my OS. Windows key won't work, can't click on icons on the task bar, etc. I attempt multiple fixes, but still have continued various problems. Then I use a program called ReImage. It fixed my problem. But now, Windows 10 is asking me to Activate it again. I don't have any codes. The rig is the same, with all the same components. Will this be a problem if i attempt to activate Windows again?
    Try using the windows 7 key you used initially to upgrade.
    DOGC_Kyle likes this.
    01-24-2018 08:23 AM
  3. DOGC_Kyle's Avatar
    Make sure you're connected to the internet, and just click Activate in the settings app, if it lets you. If there's no Activate button, choose Troubleshoot. You should be able to enter the Windows 7 key, or if you have the option, choose "I changed hardware" or something like that, and select the PC model from the list. If you were signed in with a MS account before, that should reactivate it.

    If that fails, just go to MS Support (live chat). They're pretty good at getting you reactivated. Make sure you have the Win7 key or other proof-of-purchase ready.


    Also, if you have a UEFI system (basically any PC or motherboard less than 5 years old), you hould go into your BIOS, and make sure that Secure Boot is enabled, Fast Boot is enabled, and Legacy Support (sometimes CSM/Compatibility Support Module) is disabled. These can cause activation issues if set improperly.

    Also, to (re)install Windows, use the official Media Creation Tool, available at https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/software-download/windows10.
    Using other tools will likely not work, at best they are likely to set up the partitions improperly (not critical, but can cause some issues), at worst they're not installing a genuine copy of Windows. The official tool is always the best way to go.

    If you were using a different tool, I would highly recommend redoing it with the official one. Make sure to check those three BIOS settings first, then create a USB or DVD using the Media Creation Tool (run the tool on any PC, and follow the instructions). Put the USB/DVD into your computer, and boot into it. If asked for a key, leave it blank (I don't have a product key). When asked where to install Windows, delete ALL partitions on your drive, and install Windows to Unallocated Space. After about 10-15 minutes you should be good to go. If activation is still missing, do the steps I mentioned above.
    TechFreak1 likes this.
    01-25-2018 06:57 PM
  4. TechFreak1's Avatar
    Make sure you're connected to the internet, and just click Activate in the settings app, if it lets you. If there's no Activate button, choose Troubleshoot. You should be able to enter the Windows 7 key, or if you have the option, choose "I changed hardware" or something like that, and select the PC model from the list. If you were signed in with a MS account before, that should reactivate it.

    If that fails, just go to MS Support (live chat). They're pretty good at getting you reactivated. Make sure you have the Win7 key or other proof-of-purchase ready.


    Also, if you have a UEFI system (basically any PC or motherboard less than 5 years old), you hould go into your BIOS, and make sure that Secure Boot is enabled, Fast Boot is enabled, and Legacy Support (sometimes CSM/Compatibility Support Module) is disabled. These can cause activation issues if set improperly.

    Also, to (re)install Windows, use the official Media Creation Tool, available at https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/software-download/windows10.
    Using other tools will likely not work, at best they are likely to set up the partitions improperly (not critical, but can cause some issues), at worst they're not installing a genuine copy of Windows. The official tool is always the best way to go.

    If you were using a different tool, I would highly recommend redoing it with the official one. Make sure to check those three BIOS settings first, then create a USB or DVD using the Media Creation Tool (run the tool on any PC, and follow the instructions). Put the USB/DVD into your computer, and boot into it. If asked for a key, leave it blank (I don't have a product key). When asked where to install Windows, delete ALL partitions on your drive, and install Windows to Unallocated Space. After about 10-15 minutes you should be good to go. If activation is still missing, do the steps I mentioned above.
    There is one thing I would like to point out, if a user's device has a recovery partition then I would recommend leaving that recovery partition well and truly alone along with the 100mbish small partition as that usually has the bootloader entries (which can be edited using BCDedit). Other than decent information, hopefully it helps the OP.
    01-26-2018 08:11 AM
  5. DOGC_Kyle's Avatar
    There is one thing I would like to point out, if a user's device has a recovery partition then I would recommend leaving that recovery partition well and truly alone along with the 100mbish small partition as that usually has the bootloader entries (which can be edited using BCDedit). Other than decent information, hopefully it helps the OP.
    Those are actually the ones you should remove and let it re-create, assuming you're doing a full reinstall of course. Generally wiping everything and starting fresh is the most reliable way to go from my experience.
    If you're doing anything else though, like keeping some files or a second OS, then yeah definitely keep the partitions (as long as the drive was already GPT format - typical if it had Windows 8 or 10 previously).

    The recovery partition isn't as important as you think, sometimes the manufacturer will include a full recovery image (like HP includes a 20GB recovery partition that can be used to reinstall Windows directly on the PC). But if you have the Media Creation Tool, you can always make a USB or DVD that does the same thing, so you don't really need the dedicated partition.
    Windows also creates a small recovery partition, this isn't a full recovery, it's just a small set of tools that can troubleshoot issues if Windows loads improperly (WinRE/Recovery Environment). This is created with the reinstalled OS, so you should remove the old one.
    01-26-2018 11:04 AM
  6. TechFreak1's Avatar
    Those are actually the ones you should remove and let it re-create, assuming you're doing a full reinstall of course. Generally wiping everything and starting fresh is the most reliable way to go from my experience.
    If you're doing anything else though, like keeping some files or a second OS, then yeah definitely keep the partitions (as long as the drive was already GPT format - typical if it had Windows 8 or 10 previously).

    The recovery partition isn't as important as you think, sometimes the manufacturer will include a full recovery image (like HP includes a 20GB recovery partition that can be used to reinstall Windows directly on the PC). But if you have the Media Creation Tool, you can always make a USB or DVD that does the same thing, so you don't really need the dedicated partition.
    Windows also creates a small recovery partition, this isn't a full recovery, it's just a small set of tools that can troubleshoot issues if Windows loads improperly (WinRE/Recovery Environment). This is created with the reinstalled OS, so you should remove the old one.
    The issue is that the recovery partition holds the validated o/s, some laptops don't have serial keys at the bottom or in the battery compartment.

    Plus they don't come with recovery media either - just a dedicated recovery function key.

    Not everyone is savy enough to to dig around the registry or use a keyfinder application such as magical jelly bean to get the serial key.

    Due to dyslexia it's hard for some to follow a list of instructions.

    The Media creation tool does not install a validated O/S hence why for the sake of efficiency and ease of us, the recovery partition shouldn't be touched unless you are an advanced user who can tweak the BCD files - knows what they are doing.

    As invariably, somewhere along the lines the user will need access to the recovery partition especially with Windows 10 - the fall creators update fiasco.

    Also if a person want's to sell their laptop or give it away they may want to revert back to the initial o/s.

    I get what you are saying however you need to consider what may happen in the future.
    01-26-2018 11:19 AM

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