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294 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 32

Topic # 184060 9-Nov-2015 10:40
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My 3 year old Dell laptop just died, so I purchased a refurbished Asus laptop (1 year warranty) with Windows 8 pre-installed.

Upon first boot (with windows 8 activated fine) I made a recovery USB boot disk of windows, then removed the factory HDD, replaced with my SSD, and installed windows using the recovery USB (UEFI)

Even though windows 8 installed fine on the SSD without asking for a key (as its in the bios), when I boot windows it says it can't be activated, saying key is blocked??

(I tried two methods to install windows 8 on the SSD, first creating recovery USB via standard windows process, second using the Asus backtracker tool, both the same result)

So I call Asus support, spoke to someone very hard to understand, but after some discussion, the answer was windows 8 was only activated on my laptop for the original hardware (not SSD), and I would need to pay $90+ and send my laptop to Asus repair to have windows 8 "re-imaged" onto the laptop with SSD.

This is crazy!
This process worked perfectly fine on my old dell laptop.

Now I'm stuck with a 4 day old laptop that I can't use my SSD in.


Any suggestions? (other than having to spend more money and purchasing a separate windows license).

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77 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 17

  Reply # 1423551 9-Nov-2015 11:20
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Method 1
Step 1
Put the old HDD in and boot machine up. Ensure that its activated
Use this guide to extract the current Windows key from your PC 
Step 2
Once completed use this guide to download and create a Windows 8 iso/usb
Put the SSD in and use the Windows 8 disk to install. 
When activating use the key you extraced from step 1

Method 2
Step 1
Put the old HDD in and boot machine up. Ensure that its still activated
Upgrade to Windows 10 using 
Ensure that it gets activated with your account
Step 2
Install SSD and use Windows 10 disk/usb to reinstall windows 10 on the SSD.
It should activate on its own

Ive done this with my parents laptops when upgrading them to SSDs and its all activated fine. The extracted key will only ever work on the same make/model of laptop. 

1425 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 316


  Reply # 1423567 9-Nov-2015 11:25
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Method 2 would be my preference.  After windows 10 is installed on old hdd it is tied to the machine, and if it doesn't activate on new ssd can phone windows for manual activation.


20799 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 4046


  Reply # 1423572 9-Nov-2015 11:31
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Does windows 8 have the option to call microsoft and do the really long number thing to re-activate it?


294 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 32

  Reply # 1423775 9-Nov-2015 14:57
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Thanks all, managed to get it to work by doing this:



  1. Upgraded original HDD to windows 10
  2. Fetched windows 10 key with produkey
  3. Downloaded windows 10 to USB
  4. Swapped HDD to SSD, fresh install of windows 10, use key from above
  5. Activated ok!


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