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  1. #1
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    Multiple Windows License Keys

    I have found that I apparently have 2 different license keys for my Win 8.1 Pro w/ Media Center, 64 bit. This may be what prevented me from being able to upgrade to Win 10, but I just discovered this issue. I used the 3rd party program Recover Keys to generate a list of all my license keys in preparation to attempt to wipe everything out and reinstall to try to get Win 10. It reported 2 different keys, 1 from the OS and a different one from the BIOS (as it labelled it).

    I suspect this may have happened about a year ago when I sent my Lenovo laptop back to Lenovo to fix a problem. They fixed it by replacing the hard drive and reinstalling Win 8.1 for me. At any rate, whether that is the cause or not, I have the 2 different keys.

    Can I use the "Change Product Key" feature on the display of the Control Panel | System screen to change the key, and if so, which of the 2 should I change? Also, I have downloaded an ISO of Win 10 1511, but have not yet learned how to use it. The Media Creation Tool I downloaded won't even run.

    This is really bugging me; I hope someone can offer some insight for me, please.

    Alan (molechaser)

  2. #2
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    If your copy of Windows is activated do NOT change the product key. To check, right click on the Windows flag and select System.

    When you say the MCT won't run, what happens when you try to run it?

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    If your copy of Windows is activated do NOT change the product key. To check, right click on the Windows flag and select System.

    When you say the MCT won't run, what happens when you try to run it?

    cheers, Paul
    Absolutely nothing happens at all. I have deleted the download and re-downloaded it several times and nothing happens. Other downloaded exe's will run, but not MCT.

  4. #4
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    If you right click on MCT and select Properties > Digital Signatures, does it show it is from Microsoft?

    Try this. Right click on MCT and select Properties > Unblock. Does it now run?
    How about: right click, run as administrator?

    cheers, Paul

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    If you right click on MCT and select Properties > Digital Signatures, does it show it is from Microsoft?

    Try this. Right click on MCT and select Properties > Unblock. Does it now run?
    How about: right click, run as administrator?

    cheers, Paul
    Paul, it is from Microsoft. right click MCT then properties doesn't offer Unblock in any tab. Run as Administrator does nothing.

    I feel like if I can resolve the different license keys I should be able to install the free Win 10 from the ISO I downloaded, but I've never worked with an ISO before. Any thoughts on resolving the license key situation?

    I appreciate your time and suggestions. Thank you. Alan

  6. #6
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    There is no license key situation, Windows is activated so all is well in license terms.

    As you have an ISO, get a USB key and a copy of Rufus and use it to make a bootable USB from the ISO.
    Now run the setup program from the USB whilst in Windows.

    cheers, Paul

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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by molechaser View Post
    ...It reported 2 different keys, 1 from the OS and a different one from the BIOS (as it labelled it).

    I suspect this may have happened about a year ago when I sent my Lenovo laptop back to Lenovo to fix a problem. They fixed it by replacing the hard drive and reinstalling Win 8.1 for me...
    Lenovo most likely would have restored an image to the HDD which would use a special "generic" product key (OEMs typically set up Windows on a system then image that system to the others in that model's production run).

    Quote Originally Posted by molechaser View Post
    ...Can I use the "Change Product Key" feature on the display of the Control Panel | System screen to change the key, and if so, which of the 2 should I change?...
    You would need to use the product key from the "BIOS"; the product key from the OS is almost certainly the OEM's generic product key which will fail activation.

    But before such drastic action create a system image of your Windows C:\ drive so you can go back if necessary.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

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  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    There is no license key situation, Windows is activated so all is well in license terms.

    As you have an ISO, get a USB key and a copy of Rufus and use it to make a bootable USB from the ISO.
    Now run the setup program from the USB whilst in Windows.

    cheers, Paul
    Downloaded Rufus and made bootable USB key with Win 8.1 ISO. Will test this boot, then repeat with Win 10 ISO after verification.
    Thanks!

  11. #9
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    I have created a bootable USB key from a Win 8.1 ISO using Rufus as was suggested by Paul T above. I have tried to test it by putting an extra item in my Startup folder for the C:\ drive installation that I expected would only run if the laptop booted from the C:\ windows, but it executed then and when I thought I was booting from the USB key.

    How can I test the USB key as a boot device when my hard drive isn't bad? I don't want to chance that the bootable USB key isn't working before making changes to C:\.

    Any help would be appreciated! . . . Alan (RetiredCHE)

  12. #10
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    Booting from USB usually requires pressing F12 or F10 as the PC boots.

    As you have W8.1 you can use the Shift restart method.
    Plug in the USB stick.
    Right click the Windows flag, select Shut down or sign out, hold the Shift key down and click Restart.
    You will now be able to select the USB boot device from the advanced menu.

    cheers, Paul

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