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dwl



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# 138154 22-Dec-2013 12:41
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This thread might be an isolated experience but as I have seen others on overseas forums with the same issue I thought I should share my experience:

I have a HP Envy 15 that is a few months old and I upgraded to Win 8.1 when it came out.  Overall it worked well and I was a happy user although Bluetooth wasn't working properly.  Recently I make one fatal click around the Bluetooth driver area and was greeted with the "sadface blue screen of death" saying "system_thread_exception_not_handled".

The long saga of trying to recover with safe mode, then refresh and finally rebuild started.  The instructions were fairly clear - rebuild with Win 8.0, get updates, then update to 8.1, get updates.  All seemed well (there was a recovery partition) until Windows said it could not activate 8.0 with an error code saying the product key had been blocked by Microsoft.  

First call to HP support got "sorry we don't yet support 8.1 on that model, please stay with 8.0 and watch our website for driver updates".  This is 2 months after 8.1 came out so rather slow.  The proposed solution to the activation problem was to ship recovery DVDs.  I was suspicious that it may be no better than the recovery partition option but HP seemed confident.

Before the DVDs arrived, I tried another call to HP who this time took me through to the phone activation option and said if I could see that then all would be well.  It refused the generated code and the nice lady at Microsoft said the code had been blocked and I needed to contact HP.

DVDs arrived from Singapore so rebuilt the PC (needs external DVD player) and of course the same error code appeared.  HP support now say a Tier 2 person will contact me.  So far they have been helpful but it is a slow process and I have some trouble understanding the verbal instructions from a very quiet phone line from some distant sounding country.

I have now found newer threads which clarifies others have had the same trouble with Bluetooth giving blue screen with a solution in here if anybody is desperate to have 8.1 and get Bluetooth working.  However, the main reason for this post is to warn that you might think you have a fallback if the system gets broken but if you have upgraded to 8.1 (I am assuming it is ok if staying at 8.0) then the vendor supplied recovery might not get you an activated system. 

Forum messages suggests I am not alone in having trouble with the activation process.  With Win 8 the product key is embedded in the BIOS and it seems I have a generic OEM key.  One overseas user got so frustrated with support from HP in their country that they purchased a new 8.0 key and are trying to get their money back from HP.

I am hopeful that I am now only a short step away from a fully working system but watch out if you have these same issues.  I'll update when there is some progress.

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  # 956553 23-Dec-2013 13:15
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So HP for this model: has a crappy bluetooth driver, doesn't support 8.1 and got their "master" OEM key banned.... that's pretty fail.

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  # 956567 23-Dec-2013 13:47
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It does pay to check that you have the requisite drivers and compatibility before upgrading on any system. Your problem is another example why there are recommended procedures for upgrading:

 

I ran HP Detect on a 2006 HP Pavilion (Windows 7 64-bit) and it detected my product number and told me that compatibility has not been tested - probably because it is so old. In this case, the Windows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant was more helpful. It says my devices are compatible and gives me a list of software items I need to review but there are no major issues.

 
 
 
 


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  # 956572 23-Dec-2013 14:13
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You're lucky is a manufacturer even provides 6 months of driver support/updates for a consumer product model these days.

Generally it safest to pick hardware that uses Intel chipsets for everything imo, so you get the long tail support from Intel/Microsoft.

The bluetooth hardware in this HP Envy 15 is probably ralink or something like that.

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  # 956593 23-Dec-2013 14:38
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i am told "if you install as EUFI" you don't need a cd key.

i have no idea how you do it ... obviously you haven't installed as EUFI? or is this EUFI no cd key business an urban legend?




Swype on iOS is detrimental to accurate typing. Apologies in advance.


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  # 956612 23-Dec-2013 15:21
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joker97: i am told "if you install as EUFI" you don't need a cd key.

i have no idea how you do it ... obviously you haven't installed as EUFI? or is this EUFI no cd key business an urban legend?


The product key can be stored in the UEFI firmware so you don't need to re-enter it. But people often have problems when installing a version of Windows with a different product key. So they can bypass it using a PID file.

dwl



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  # 956692 23-Dec-2013 20:11
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Hammerer: It does pay to check that you have the requisite drivers and compatibility before upgrading on any system. Your problem is another example why there are recommended procedures for upgrading:

 

I ran HP Detect on a 2006 HP Pavilion (Windows 7 64-bit) and it detected my product number and told me that compatibility has not been tested - probably because it is so old. In this case, the Windows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant was more helpful. It says my devices are compatible and gives me a list of software items I need to review but there are no major issues.

Some good advice thanks - I will admit I probably don't spend long enough checking all the issues before pushing the update button.

I have run HP Detect and it said:

HP has tested your Windows 8 PC with Windows 8.1 and has created update instructions.

In the guide there was a caution:

Note: Not all Windows 8.1 features may be available when updating to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8 PCs. Your system may require additional hardware, drivers, software, firmware, and/or a BIOS update.

And more importantly after you have completed the upgrade they say:

After updating your PC to Windows 8.1, HP recommends that you take a few actions. Recommended app / driver updates and actions
i. Even though you have already updated your drivers, you may need to reinstall some drivers again as some Windows 8 drivers may not migrate automatically to Windows 8.1. To ensure you have the best drivers for your HP PC, go to the HP Customer Care Web site .... etc

At this point you would look for the Bluetooth driver, find that there is only one for Broadcom and not Ralink.  Provided you don't touch the existing driver you may be ok (just no Bluetooth) but one wrong click and you may be into the sad face blue screen of death.

Their support systems don't seem to be quite in sync where this assistant says it is ok and yet the support desk say please don't update just yet.  This one is heading towards a "fail" by HP but I don't think they are the only vendor caught out with changes to 8.1 breaking drivers. 

dwl



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  # 956696 23-Dec-2013 20:23
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Ragnor: You're lucky is a manufacturer even provides 6 months of driver support/updates for a consumer product model these days.

Generally it safest to pick hardware that uses Intel chipsets for everything imo, so you get the long tail support from Intel/Microsoft.

The bluetooth hardware in this HP Envy 15 is probably ralink or something like that.

Yes, the chipset is Ralink.  It seems there is now a vendor 8.1 driver but not yet on the HP support pages. 

The support from HP isn't bad.  The hours are a bit limited (business hours plus part of Saturday) but usually no waiting in phone queues.  You can update ticket details online.

I am disappointed a major vendor has a product that gets stuck like this.  While Intel would probably have been a better choice driver wise (generally for more $) the activation issues seem to be between HP and Microsoft. 

 
 
 
 


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  # 956709 23-Dec-2013 21:10
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Hammerer:
joker97: i am told "if you install as EUFI" you don't need a cd key.

i have no idea how you do it ... obviously you haven't installed as EUFI? or is this EUFI no cd key business an urban legend?


The product key can be stored in the UEFI firmware so you don't need to re-enter it. But people often have problems when installing a version of Windows with a different product key. So they can bypass it using a PID file.

My key is in the firmware.  It seems it is a generic OEM key probably not just for HP.  This is from a forum on VMware (here) - my key has the same last three sets (can't see the first two):

Windows® 8 Default Product Keys to be used with OEM Activation 3.0
Windows 8 DQQ2P-YNF4V-CMQHJ-RPXK8-QC736

If I try and load this key in the activation screen it says it is valid but the activation process says it is blocked.  There will be some hash with the hardware but this exact same hardware has been activated before.  EDIT:  There was a BIOS update as part of the routine HP automated support process before my crash - perhaps this has changed the hardware signature enough to upset reactivation ....

I will wait for an update from HP, or other insights from this forum, but I remain sceptical that I have a system that could be rebuilt in the future using the 8.0 recovery discs if I upgrade to 8.1.  Once out of warranty it seems I may be liable for a retail copy of the OS if the same thing happens and that doesn't seem like an acceptable product.  Thanks again for the feedback.

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  # 956712 23-Dec-2013 21:31
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Similar thread a few weeks ago, here's a suggestion on how to extract Windows 8 product key from EFI:
http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=45&topicid=136857&page_no=2#951041

Use that key for the product activation process.

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  # 956750 23-Dec-2013 23:40
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don't get your hopes up - I could not get the key to work. the best way is to clean install from windows itself?




Swype on iOS is detrimental to accurate typing. Apologies in advance.


dwl



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  # 956949 24-Dec-2013 14:57
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yitz: Similar thread a few weeks ago, here's a suggestion on how to extract Windows 8 product key from EFI:
http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=45&topicid=136857&page_no=2#951041

Use that key for the product activation process.

I have now run this tool and it says my key is DQQ2P-YNF4V-CMQHJ-RPXK8-QC736 which seems identical to the generic OEM key I posted above and is the one that Microsoft is saying is blocked (error code 0xC004C003).  Perhaps what is really blocked is this key in combination with my hardware hash.  However, I will freely admit I don't understand the activation details.

While I was checking the code, I got a call from HP support.  They checked that they had sent me the correct recovery discs and they now advise they will be sending me a new activation code via email so I will update later as to whether this has worked. 

dwl



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  # 958222 28-Dec-2013 10:50
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I got a call from HP support last night and they provided me with a new product key over the phone which has now validated. I asked why the OEM key may have been blocked (Win 8.1 or BIOS update perhaps?) but the answer wasn't known. I was told that the new key will work if I need to rebuild.

I asked about updating to 8.1 and was told to wait until late January when a more complete package would be available.

Overall the service from HP has been reasonable (good score for answering phone and on-line log) but the whole process became extended due to the complicated process of rebuilding and validation. I am not yet convinced that I can survive an update to 8.1 or a BIOS update without needed a new key if a rebuild is needed but I need to cross fingers.

Thanks for the feedback.

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  # 958280 28-Dec-2013 12:31
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Thanks for the last update. Lots of people don't let us know what happens.

It will be good to hear what happens when the updated driver package is released and you install it.

dwl



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  # 978444 1-Feb-2014 10:16
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Time to have another attempt as new drivers have appeared.  It seems my main culprit was a BIOS update that I had applied to be up to date before the install.  Mine is not an isolated experience based on this from another user:

>>>
Unfortunately refreshing my Windows back to the factory-installed condition broke the activation. Because I had followed the advice of the HP Support Assistant a few weeks ago and installed BIOS updates up to F.36 (which has now been removed from the HP download site for my laptop model) I got the Error code 0xC004C003 "The activation server determined that the specified product key has been blocked." I called HP support and they sent me a new product key from Microsoft which allowed me to activate Windows again.
<<<

A newer BIOS update has one of the fixes as:

- Fixes an intermittent issue where the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system is not activated properly after a System Recovery is performed

To add some confusion the network chipsets are identified as Ralink but the drivers on the HP site are labelled as Mediatek - you see on the driver page "Mediatek Bluetooth Software Driver" - apparently Mediatek acquired Ralink in 2011.  Not the most customer friendly when there is no obvious mention on the webpage that it is for Ralink and the old driver only mentions Ralink and not Mediatek.  At least the forums state "Ralink (Mediatek)".  

My key message to this forum is if you run HP products with the F.36 BIOS, then update as it can break several things.

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  # 978473 1-Feb-2014 11:08
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oh dear i completely understand your frustration ... funny you never hear an apple fan complaining of these things ... (note i am anti apple but this is just my observation!)




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