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Can I use OEM Windows 7 HP product key to install 64-bit OS off of retail disc?

    General discussion

  • I purchased in June a new computer from Dell with a free upgrade to Windows 7.  I wanted 64-bit but was not given the option.  I received my 32-bit upgrade disc from Dell. My brother purchased a retail upgrade and so he has both 32-bit and 64-bit upgrade discs.  I know that I must do a clean install.  I want to know if I can use his 64-bit disc to run my install but then use my upgrade key from Dell. So in the end I have 64-bit OS using my product key that Dell gave me.
    Tuesday, November 10, 2009 5:31 PM

All replies

  • I want to know if I can use his 64-bit disc to run my install but then use my upgrade key from Dell. So in the end I have 64-bit OS using my product key that Dell gave me.

    Hi Dandoy,

    As it stands your bother's retail install disk will not work with your OEM product key.  It'll install, but your product key would be rejected for activation.


    That's because, in a file on the install disk, there is a preset value for the 'Channel' to which the licensing belongs.  In a file called ei.cfg one of the entries is called 'Channel' and the value set for that variable on a retail install disk is set as 'Retail'.  For the OEM key to be accepted that variable needs to be set to 'OEM'.

    It's rather easy to fix, if you wish to make a 'roll your own' install disk to use, but you need to use a suitable third party software tool to do the job.  A suitable software tool will be one which performs the functions of:

    * Creating an .ISO file disk image from an optical disk.
    *  Allowing the contents of files within that ISO image to be edited.

    ISOBuster is a popular such tool.


    So the procedure required is:

    * Create an ISO image of the install disk
    * Locate the file ei.cfg which is in the \sources folder on the disk
    * Alter the entry value for 'Channel' from Retail to OEM
    * Burn the altered ISO image to disk, to create a new install disk which will work with your OEM install key.



    Note:  These procedures are not "supported by Microsoft" ones, despite the fact that related procedures have been mentioned in Microsoft technical blogs etc.  They'll work just fine, but if you require any further assistance with them you can't expect that it'll come from the formal customer support arrangements.


    Cheers.
    Tuesday, November 10, 2009 10:07 PM
  • I adore good documentation, Techie. 
    There's good documentation above, in my post.  It lacks 'verification links'?  So do the articles you linked, it must be pointed out.
    Wednesday, November 11, 2009 5:43 AM
  • I purchased in June a new computer from Dell with a free upgrade to Windows 7.  I wanted 64-bit but was not given the option.  I received my 32-bit upgrade disc from Dell. My brother purchased a retail upgrade and so he has both 32-bit and 64-bit upgrade discs.  I know that I must do a clean install.  I want to know if I can use his 64-bit disc to run my install but then use my upgrade key from Dell. So in the end I have 64-bit OS using my product key that Dell gave me.

    Hi Dandoy

     

    Although the procedures described in the posts on this thread are technically accurate (although not supported in your situation) and will probably work to get the 64-Bit version of Windows 7 installed on your computer, there are also other important considerations that you must address before making the decision to use these procedures on your new computer.

     

    1. Installing any other version than the one provided by the manufacturer (Dell) will very likely void any warranty or support  that were included when you purchased that computer. Also, since you will still be activating that system with an OEM product key, this will also not be supported by Microsoft.

     

    2. You must make sure that all of the installed hardware devices on that system have 64-Bit drivers available. Many OEM manufacturers use custom made OEM versions of hardware devices that require custom made device drivers, especially integrated devices such as webcams, microphones, and pointing devices. It could be that the reason Dell only provides a 32-Bit version of Windows 7 is because some devices installed on that system do not support the 64-Bit architecture.

     

    The bottom line is that you can do anything you wish with your computer, but you need to do your homework first before making that decision.

     

    Hope this helps.

     

    Thank You for using Windows 7

    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Wednesday, November 11, 2009 6:33 AM
  • Hello Dandoy,

     

    I know your current concern clearly; unfortunately, I must tell you that the retail Windows 7 might not be activated if you installed it on your OEM computer.

     

    Please understand that the version of the disk supplied from the OEM is different from the disk that Microsoft can provide. Like the legacy system, the key provided by the OEM manufacturer should be only the public installation key and the product should be activated by the specified BIOS instead of a real license key. OEM manufacturers customize Windows 7 OEM’s features and other changes unique to their product lines.  Due to this, the product that can be activated on the machine is only available from the OEM.

     

    If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.

     

    Andy

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009 7:11 AM

  • In the meantime, I agree totally with Ronnie and Andy on this.  There is absolutely no reason we end users should find ourselves opening a can-of-worms and sifting through arcane secrets to get what we honestly and fairly paid for.  That's not the bargain, and we don't deserve that kind of treatment.  I really just don't understand why some of Microsoft's biggest partners need to be so unfriendly.


    Hi

    In defense of the OEM companies.

    There is no unfriendly behavior going on here, all of the information about what you get with the free upgrade is made abundantly clear on the OEMs website.

    If you order a system with a 64-bit version of Vista, you get a 64-bit version of Windows 7. It would be very difficult for an OEM to build a system for the 32-bit OS and then make sure all of these systems were completely 64-bit capable 'just in case' a customer decided to go to 64-bit with the free upgrade. Remember, they must support what they provide.

    Regards,

    _________________
    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Wednesday, November 11, 2009 6:12 PM
  • hi there,

    can you please help

    i have purchased a 64bit oem windows7 home premium for my notebook to up-grade the oem vista 32bit,( h/p) i have checked with the windows compatibility  and all comes up as ok  to do so ??but i get the message --- the installation disk is not compatible with your version of windows?? (windows  h/p 32bit  oem  already.

    installed on my new laptop (2yrs ago)

    i have looked on all the forms but i cannot see a fix for the problem (i have downloaded  SECURABLE  and it also confirms my laptop is 64bit ready , as does Hewlett Packard   my laptop model number is  HDX 9228.

    any help would be appreciated .

    mike Osborne  (n.z)

     

    Friday, April 02, 2010 1:14 AM
  • Hi Mike

    How are you starting the installation?

    If you want to move from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows 7 or vice versa, you'll need to back up your files and choose the Custom option during Windows 7 installation. Then, you'll need to restore your files and reinstall your programs. For more information about performing a custom installation, see Installing and reinstalling Windows 7‍.

    Hope this helps.

    Thank You for using Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Friday, April 02, 2010 7:42 AM
  • hi Ronnie,

    thanks for the quick reply to my issue,s

    the windows 7 oem 64bit which i purchased  the other day will not even start  ??????   (i do want to do a clean install from a 32bit oem)    it tells me "the installation disk is not  compatible with my version of windows"  (that is windows vista  h/p  32 bit  oem) so it will not let me even get started !!!!!).

     

    any help would be appreciated  or to i have to up grade via a full retail version of windows 7 home premium 64bit  rather than the oem version?

    kind regards.,

    mike osborne

     

    Friday, April 02, 2010 8:06 AM
  • hi again Ronnie ,

    i just start the proses of upgrading by inserting the purchased upgrade windows oem 64bit  in my laptop dvd player  (which is the normal manner  , but then nothing happens  , as above ??????.

     

    cheers,

    mike

    Friday, April 02, 2010 8:16 AM
  • hi again Ronnie ,

    i just start the proses of upgrading by inserting the purchased upgrade windows oem 64bit  in my laptop dvd player  (which is the normal manner  , but then nothing happens  , as above ??????.

    Hi Mike

    You cannot start the installation in the 'normal manner'.

    The installation disk will not start while the computer is already running. This is because it is a 64bit disk and it will not start from a running 32bit version.

    You need to insert the disk, leave it in the drive, and then shut down the computer.

    You then need to restart the computer and you should see a message to "Press any key to boot from the DVD", press any key on the keyboard and the installation disk will start the installation process.

    Please click this link where you will find these instructions.  Installing and reinstalling Windows 7‍.

    On that website, scroll down to the subject: Installing a 64-bit version of Windows 7 on a computer running a 32-bit version of Windows

    Click that link to expand the instructions and read the entire section. Carefully follow the instructions there.

    Hope this helps.

    Thank You for using Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Friday, April 02, 2010 6:19 PM
  • hi RONNIE,

    thanks for replying to my problems , however when  i re boot the laptop there is no opportunity to  "PRESS ANY KEY " TO BOOT FROM THE DVD  the note book starts up normally , with all my previous settings .

    i have tried this at least 5/6 times ,waited for 30 minutes   after start up  to see if anything would happen  , but nothing  (the 64bit disk is still in the computer )?.

    i look forward to your response   ( i have read the INSTALLING /REINSTALLING  WINDOWS 7 MANY TIMES BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO INSTALL THE 64BIT OEM)

    regards,

    mike

    Friday, April 02, 2010 9:01 PM
  • Hi Mike

    Sorry you are having problems. All of the information is in the links I posted including what to do if you don't see the 'press any key' when you boot the computer. Here it is again.

    Please click this link where you will find these instructions.  Installing and reinstalling Windows 7‍.

    On that website, scroll down to the subject: Installing a 64-bit version of Windows 7 on a computer running a 32-bit version of Windows

    *Click that link to expand the instructions and read the entire section. Carefully follow the instructions there.

    In Step 4, you will see this:

    Start your computer from a Windows 7 installation disc or USB flash drive.

    *Click that link and read the entire article. Near the end of the article, you will see this.

    If the Install Windows page doesn't appear
    If the Install Windows page doesn't appear, and you aren't asked to press any key, you might have to specify that your computer uses its DVD drive or a USB flash drive as the first startup device. To do this, you need to change settings in the computer's basic input/output system (BIOS).........

    *Click that link to see the rest of the article.

    Hope this helps.

    Thank You for using Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Friday, April 02, 2010 9:57 PM
  • hi RONNIE,

    thanks for your suggestions and help in the end i requested the help of the local p/c shop , who installed the w7 64bit (oem)    (as i understand they had to reformat  the hard drive) to get it to work, but w7 is now all working great (as i expected it would ).

     

    HOWEVER  i have an issue  in how to reinstall the 2nd disk of the HP "APPLICATION AND DRIVER RECOVERY DISK  the hp laptop (hdx 9228) came with 2 disks --one for vista 32bit oem  ( which has now with  w/7 64 oem ) and the 2nd one  i s  for  the hp QUICK PLAY/ PHOTO ESSENTIALS /QUICK LAUNCH KEYS ETC/TV .as were pre installed on the notebook,

     

    when i place the 2nd disk in the laptop/ restart nothing happens ??? how do i just reinstall the 2nd disk only ? or do i have to reinstall the 64bit oem  disk  and the hp application and driver recovery cd .?

    is the issue the hp recovery disk is 32 bit " vista"   and the new windows system is "w7 64bit ?

    i have tried  clicking f11 at boot time with the recovery disk in place  , makes lots of beeps  but nothing happens ?

    cheers,

    mike osborne

    Monday, April 05, 2010 8:10 AM
  • You need some education first. You can not reinstall your original disks for your laptop because you changed the windows, unless you want to pay all the shop work for nothing. Rebuilding your application and recovery disk  is what you need. normally the factory makes those very special partitions on your hard drive. What I suggest is to make a backup image on dvd from windows 7. just type backup in the start menu. click on icon. make sure all updates are installed and working. I would not want any personal data files in the backup. You can also make an iso image and save that on a new partition. Make sure the size is larger than your backup. good luck. oh.. and read the help files.
    Monday, April 05, 2010 9:30 PM
  • hi Erick4211,

    thanks for the quick reply to my glitch  .

    perhaps i have not been clear  about the help i was looking for ---as follows

    we have installed windows 7 home premium 64 bit ok (oem)on my laptop and its working like a charm.

    my problem is   i received (2disks) with the p/c from h/p one for windows 32bit vista and the (2nd one ) is h.p recovery disk which has all the factory pre installed programs on it (quick play /photo smart etc)

    its this 2nd hp supplied disk which i can not install???.

    i look forward to your clarification  .?(do i hold down f10 after re booting ?)

     

    kind regards,

    mike Osborne

    Tuesday, April 06, 2010 12:53 AM
  • The problem seems to be that once you went to 64 bits, all 32 bit software became void. both disk that you received with your laptop are only 32 bit compatible. Therefore the second disk will not work on 64 bit either.
    Saturday, April 10, 2010 7:42 PM
  • hi and thanks for the reply ,

    yes i found that out   , and i have re-installed w7 (64bit).

    when i tried to re-install  vista with the (2) hp supplied disk , that would not work !!!! , vista itself installed ok  but the (2nd disk) come up as not compatible  so after 3 attempts (and Manny hours) i reinstalled w7)  that was an issue  in its self , as i had to  into the bios  and re-set to boot from a cd , all a big learning curve for me !!!!.

     

    i am disappointed that i can not have the hp default software installed  (which had quick play/ quick launch etc etc) i have tried to download them  but they do not work !!properly  .

    is there  any other freeware out there like quick play /quick launch  that i can down load ?.

    again i thank you for your help,

    regards,

    mike

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 11:04 PM
  • Hi,

    You simply can't use the 2nd disk as a standlone installer - it may only be used as part of the installation when starting with the first disk - it's not pick and mix.

    As you have used a 64bit Windows disk to install Windows, your factory disks are not of any use in this situation.

    You'll need to find a way to download or obtain installers for the drivers and applications you need, if there are 64bit versions.

    It's not a Microsoft or Windows issue.  You've dismatled your own car here and now want the manufacturer to help you put it back together.

    An IT professional can do this for you, or you may wish to have fun doing it yourself, but I suspect there will be a lot learnt along the way.

    J.

    Monday, May 03, 2010 1:59 PM
  • Techwrighter wrote:
    As it stands your bother's retail install disk will not work with your OEM product key.  It'll install, but your product key would be rejected for activation.

    I recently posted the same question. (see here ) and got the same obove answer.

    I own a Retail disc and I will not be able to install Windows 7 with an OEM key (COA)? Why? It sounds unlogical.

    That's because, in a file on the install disk, there is a preset value for the 'Channel' to which the licensing belongs.  In a file called ei.cfg one of the entries is called 'Channel' and the value set for that variable on a retail install disk is set as 'Retail'.  For the OEM key to be accepted that variable needs to be set to 'OEM'.

    Some people say that the Channel "Retail/OEM" in the ei.cfg file does only determine wich EULA will be showed during installation process.

     

    Beside I found an other post written by "Carey Frisch" (see here ). He writes:

    "You can use an OEM Windows 7 product key with a "full license" Windows 7 DVD, but it must be of the same language version."

     

    Sorry for mixing up. But the question "using an OEM key with an Retail media" does very interest me. And I believe there must be a definitive answer.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010 11:14 AM