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Recovering serial numbers from a windows install

Discussion in 'Computers and Networks' started by Llamarama, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. Llamarama

    Llamarama Member

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    Hello everyone,

    this morning a neighbour asked if I could fix his daughters laptop for him, it had "some sort of bug" so he re-installed a hacked copy of Vista on it, using an iffy key as his daughter has peeled all the stickers off the laptop.

    Now he's wondering if he can recover the old genuine vista serial key off it so he can re-install a clean copy of Vista from the OEM disks he found only after using a dodgy copy.

    Sorry to be a pain :) Thanks

    I should add that his daughter insists that it must be Vista, not XP or 7, of which I have genuine OEM versions, go figure.

    Any pointers would be greatly appreciated, thanks again :)
     
  2. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    There are several utilities on the web to recover the install keys. But that will not work if you have already clobbered the original OS.

    Google for the keywords recover vista install key
     
  3. Llamarama

    Llamarama Member

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    That's what I thought, I know it's encoded in the registry, would the original registry be accesible in the C:/WINDOWS.OLD directory?
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. picbits

    picbits Well-Known Member

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    Depending on the laptop make, you won't need a key. HP and Dell both use bios locked recovery discs and don't ask for the key on install.
     
  6. Llamarama

    Llamarama Member

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    It's a Toshiba Satellite L350. He said there was some kind of recovery partition, could there be anything of use there? He's gone away for a couple of days and I wanted to have every base covered.
     
  7. picbits

    picbits Well-Known Member

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    Recovery partitions are great :)

    On the Toshiba you make sure the power is off then turn it on holding down the zero key - it should boot to the recovery partition.

    Make sure you've backed up any data you need to retain from the laptop though as they often do a format before reinstall.
     
  8. Llamarama

    Llamarama Member

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    Is there a copy of Windows or the recovery disks on the recovery partition? I've only come across them once before on my old Dell, but that came with Windows disks. The old windows install is still on the hard drive so could I just wipe it back to factory settings?
     
  9. picbits

    picbits Well-Known Member

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    It probably won't be a copy you can use. They normally have an automated script which uses Ghost or similar to rewrite the original image to the hard drive.

    If there is nothing of value on the machine you can always just give it a go - normally resets the machine to the factory default state.
     
  10. Llamarama

    Llamarama Member

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    That's all I really need, I can get the documents off as the computer still boots, then I'll just set off a recovery. Thanks for all your help, I'll post back if anything doesn't go quite to plan :)
     
  11. rjs9163

    rjs9163 New Member

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    Try to search on google for the Master Serial Key for Vista and Reinstall the system OS.:)

    [MODNOTE]Deleted spam link[/MODNOTE]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2012

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