Windows 10 was offered as a free upgrade. That made it very tempting to upgrade your existing version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 before the offer ends. But for some people that upgrade didn’t work out so great.

Maybe Windows 10 wasn’t working well on their PC, or they didn’t like Windows 10, or the applications that they were using were not working well (or at all) on the new operating system. And, eventually, they decided to downgrade or roll back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

After doing so, though, the Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license reported that it is not activated or not genuine. If that happened to you, read on to resolve this issue.

What to do if Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 came pre-installed on your computer before you upgraded

Assuming you’ve reinstalled the same version of Windows 7 or 8.1 that you had before upgrading to 10, then your computer should recognize the OEM Marker in your BIOS (don’t worry if you don’t know what that means) –  and you should not be prompted to reactivate. If you are getting an activation error, here is what you can do.

Scenario 1: You’re getting a Windows 7 activation error – 0x8007000D

If you are getting activation error 0x8007000D on your Windows 7 PC upon rollback from Windows 10, run the Fix-It program provided by Microsoft for this error and check if it helps.

https://support.microsoft.com/kb/2230957/

Scenario 2: Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 is asking for Product Key for installation or activation, and you have the sticker on your computer

In some cases after downgrading from Windows 10 you will be asked for a product key to install or activate Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Usually a Product Key is located on the sticker (OEM Certificate of Authenticity) attached to your machine. This product key sticker can normally be found at the bottom of a laptop, or in the memory or battery compartments. On a desktop computer, it is at the top or side of the machine tower or the inside of the removable panel of the system unit (yeah, you might have to open some screws).

Below are example images of how this sticker could look like on your machine:

2

1

Find the sticker and product key before you continue.

Now, to check the activation status or to enter a key:

  • Click Start
  • Right click Computer
  • Click Properties,

3

and here you will see the deadline after which your will have to activate Windows or some of the features will stop working (’23 days to activate’…). If you see the letters OEM inside the product ID on your screen then that means that your Windows is already activated. Congratulations! If you don’t see the OEM letters inside the product ID, keep reading.

Click on Change product key.

4

Type the product key located on the sticker. The picture below is, again, an example of how it might look like.

5

Enter the product key and click Next.

You will see an activation screen, similar to this one:6

Wait for Windows to attempt to activate. (Should not take more than 5 minutes)

7

If Windows is successfully activated, you will see the message shown in the screenshot above.

You may confirm Windows 7 activation status by going to the system properties window again. Check the Windows Activation section:

8

You will notice Windows 7 now displays OEM within the Product ID to indicate the product channel it is licensed from.

Scenario 3: you’re running Windows 8.1 and you couldn’t find the sticker with the product key

After Windows 7, Microsoft stopped giving out product keys written on stickers, and instead opted to have them hard-wired into the computer’s BIOS. This was done to stop piracy, and make installation simpler: the computer identifies the product key without needing any action from the user.

If you didn’t find a sticker, and Windows 8.1 setup did not retrieve your key automatically, here is how you retrieve the product key from the BIOS.

Windows Embedded Product Key tool by Neosmart

13

Designed for users of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, our embedded product key tool will retrieve and display the Windows setup product key embedded in the BIOS or EFI.

https://neosmart.net/blog/2014/windows-10-embedded-product-key-tool/#more-3188

Once you have retrieved the key, follow the steps below for activation:

  • Press Windows key + R on the keyboard
  • Type slui.exe 3
  • Hit Enter
  • Enter the product key and click Next to activate over the Internet.

 

You may also use the phone activation option:

How to do a phone activation

  1. Press Windows Key + R on the keyboard and type slui.exe 3 in the run prompt.
  2. Next press the ENTER key.
  3. Select your Country from the list.
  4. Choose the Phone Activation option. And call the number that you see on the screen.
  5. Be ready with the activation keys, and as soon as you hear a voice asking for the number, start typing the number block by block as you are suggested to do by the voice.
  6. When asked, “How many systems is the key working on?” reply with the existing number of systems running the same key.

Note: A regular retail key can only activate Windows on one device. Make sure you only have installed and used the key on 1 system. Hence the answer you give to the question must be 1…

What to do if you have a boxed version of Windows 7 (and it wasn’t pre-installed on your computer)

If so, try the phone activation option using the retail product key found in the Windows 7 product box. See instructions below.

How to do a phone activation

  1. Press Windows Key + R on the keyboard and type slui.exe 4 in the run prompt.
  2. Next press the ENTER key.
  3. Select your Country from the list.
  4. Choose the Phone Activation option. And call the number that you see on the screen.
  5. Be ready with the activation keys, and as soon as you hear a voice asking for the number, start typing the number block by block as you are suggested to do by the voice.
  6. When asked, “How many systems is the key working on?” reply with the existing number of systems running the same key.

Note: A regular retail key can only activate Windows on one device. Make sure you only have installed and used the key on 1 system. Hence the answer you give to the question must be 1…

 https://support.microsoft.com/kb/950929/en-us

What if you have a boxed copy but the product key is not available or it is damaged?

Did you lose the box or you can’t see the whole number because the sticker is worn out? Try retrieving the product key using third-party programs that are available for free download and will help you extract the key that’s installed on your PC.

Note: There is no official Microsoft Software which will help you in retrieving a key.

One such program is ShowKeyPlus: https://www.tenforums.com/software-apps/2577-showkey.html

Once you’ve recovered the key, proceed to enter it by following the steps below:

  • Click Start
  • Right click Computer
  • Click Properties
  • Scroll down to Windows Activation
  • Click the link ‘Change product key’

What if you have the key for your boxed copy but the ‘Change product key’ command is not available? 

You may enter the key using Command Prompt. To do so, follow the steps below:

  • Click Start
  • Type CMD and right click on Command Prompt.
  • Click Run as administrator

At the command prompt, type the following commands:

slmgr.vbs -ipk xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx

xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx – represents your product key

(This command replaces the current product key with the one you specify)

Then:

  • Hit Enter on your keyboard
  • Exit the command prompt
  • Restart your computer

What if the product key does not work or you were not able to find the genuine product key?

In this scenario, refer to the following options.

  • Option 1: If the sticker is damaged you will need to use the recovery partition to reinstall Windows 7. It will take your PC to the factory state, wiping all your data and software installed by you. This will save you from the need to use the product key to activate your Windows 7 installation. Make sure you backup all your data before trying this.
  • Option 2: If your recovery partition is not available or damaged. In that case contact the PC manufacturer and request for a recovery disc set that you can use to reinstall Windows 7. There might be a small charge for shipping and handling. This will also exempt the need to use the product key.
  • Option 3: Run the Microsoft Genuine Diagnostics Tool to determine your activation status and product channel. Sometimes the Windows Activation Services in Windows 7 may be corrupt. To determine if it is, run the Genuine Diagnostics Tool:Download MGADiag here. Once downloaded, run the tool. It will look something like this:9Click on the Continue button, which will produce the report.1011To copy the report to view your results, click on the Copy button in the tool (ignore any error messages), then paste (using either right click > Paste or Ctrl+V ) into a text editor such as Notepad or Word-Pad or Microsoft Word.This will help you or a technician to search for the error and find the right solution.If you see the following in the report regarding File Mismatch, follow the links below to download the appropriate fix for your architecture (32-bit or 64-bit) of Windows 7:12The following files are available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:
    Update for Windows 7 for x86-based systems (KB971033) – 32bit systems
    Download the Update for Windows 7 for x86-based systems package now.Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB971033) – 64 bit systems
    Download the Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB971033) package now.

    Install the update to see if it corrects the problem.

    If you need to know more about the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit versions, you may take a look about this guide, the whole subject is discussed and explained. It will also help you identify which Windows 10 version you have got… Check it out:

How do I find out if my Windows 10 is 32-bit or 64-bit

  • Option 4: If none of these options work, you might have to buy a new license key and activate Windows. Make sure you keep the key as it can be used to reinstall Windows on your PC if ever required.

What to do if it all failed and you can’t activate the old Windows in any way?

Unfortunately, the best option in this case would be to return to Windows 10 and try working through the issues. If you had an activated Windows 10 installation prior to rolling back, then you would be able to reinstall Windows 10 without having to worry about activation. It will reactivate automatically using Digital Entitlement. And if you are facing compatibility issues, you may count on Microsoft for releasing updates which could fix some of those issues in future.

Still stuck? Ask your question in our forum!

About Author

2 Comments

  1. I’ve installed windows 7 on my laptop after buying license from ODosta Store, I want to activate it to get free upgrade from windows 7 professional to windows 10 home.
    I’m now confused, How to activate and upgrade to windows 10.
    Please mention within details.

  2. Desperate stuff, Microsoft for sale, if you want to steal peoples keys that do a fresh install you are chasing mice what dose the big bully pussy do, chases the little mouse, you create the hole for the mouse, now the mice are bricking up the hole, I would sell Microsoft to the highest bidder before you cant, you crossed the line along time ago the games up ,folks with keys now folk without key,s folk with payed apps, now folk with free apps, folk with privacy, now folk without privacy, crying like this for years its very verys SAD, same day just different crap.
    The smell you left is still hanging around like a rotting corpse, ask the man in the street about Microsoft and Windows 10, Its advanced Mental Illness Topped with Depression & Its All free or is it.
    In the words of a” PHD”, Doctor of Logic, its a Large Helping of Vomit with no Cure, If your activation key wont work try the Number 666 and type buy a new key today beside it,
    Activating the Microsoft Pit has not worked buy a new key or try the phone, which wont work or go online and ask a Fool to go remote on your Pc, that wont work
    Or you could become a Pirate for free that might work
    Fasten your seat belt tight Microsoft Its heading for that Wall and if your On Board expect more than a fall.

Leave A Reply

Tweet
Share1
+1
Pin