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Is there a source somewhere that can tell me what edition of Windows (i.e. Windows 7 Home Premium 64) a CD key from the sticker is for? Many systems come in with the edition name rubbed off, and I don't think it's very time worthy to try the key 10 times just to find out what edition of Windows it belongs to.

In the one particular instance, it's a Windows 7 key. I have so far tried 7 HP and 7 HPx64, but neither activate.

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Keys for x64/x86 should be interchangeable. Another important distinction though is whether the key is for OEM editions (i.e.: those sent out by HP/Dell/etc.) or Retail editions (picked up from your local Best Buy, Fry's, etc.). As I understand it, the two aren't interchangeable even if they're for the same "version" of Windows. –  Iszi Apr 10 '12 at 20:08
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@Iszi We have used the same media for Retail and OEM, using the Windows 7 AiO disk. We have seen instances as well where the 64 bit key does not work for a 32 bit key, unless it's retail. This is mainly for OEM copies, as it's usually when the customer has been using a laptop on their lap, and the name of the Windows has been wiped off –  Canadian Luke Apr 10 '12 at 20:11
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This is why any vendor that doesn't put these stickers under the battery on a laptop are Bad People™. –  Shinrai Apr 10 '12 at 20:13
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Its smart to record the COA sticker info when you get a new PC. –  Moab Apr 10 '12 at 21:15

1 Answer 1

If it is an OEM disk, it may not work in disks from other manufacturers.

That being said, the easiest thing you can do is to reburn a Windows disk with the /sources/ei.cfg deleted.

Without this file, Windows will ask for a serial key during setup and only install the version that belongs to that key (If you do cancel/choose not to type a key, it will allow you to select any edition - do not do this).

X64/X86 keys are interchangeable, so no need to try double.

An easier solution to burning is to copy the sources folder to a USB stick (and delete the ei.cfg file), then boot from a disk like normal. After confirming the language/first page, ignore everything and hit Shift+F10 to launch a command prompt window. From here, keep typing a drive letter in alphabetical order until you reach your USB drive then go to the sources folder and type "setup", this will launch setup from the USB stick instead of the disk.

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As stated above, it's already had the /sources/ei.cfg file removed. It's an All in One disk, for OEM/Retail/VLK –  Canadian Luke Apr 10 '12 at 21:41
    
Sorry - I can't see where you wrong this... I was wondering Where did you get this disk from? Whilst I know you can (usually) mix OEM/Retail now, I am not certain you can mix VLK. –  William Hilsum Apr 10 '12 at 22:20
    
Made from a TechNet disk... And you're right, doesn't have the VLK with it –  Canadian Luke Apr 10 '12 at 22:23
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Just going through this again, but the Windows Vista Setup will detect based on the key, Windows 7 asks you for the version and architecture before asking for a key –  Canadian Luke Apr 17 '12 at 18:55

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