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The history of this "gifted" laptop (is it a gift if someone gives you a 2-year-old computer that won't boot?) is that it has had its hard drive chewed by virus(es?) and no longer boots. Recovery mode gives up. I want to acquire Restore cds/dvds but need the license to do so.

Windows license number rubbed off of the sticker. I have downloaded a utility to reveal the license codes from the registry files on the hard drive.

Before I do this I'd like to know the version. I think this is Win7 but do not know for sure. Is there a file I can look in or the presence of a file I can confirm that will identify whether it is Vista, 7 or other?

The drive mechanism is fine and I can access all directories.

Thanks, Dave


edit:

This SU thread mentions kernel version files in /Windows/winsxs folder. I have several such files containing the name "6.1.7601.22125" (the last 5 digits in the other files may be similar or different from these digits). I also have several files a la "6.1.7600.nnnnn" flavor.

Can I presume Win 7?

Thanks.

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Version 6.1 is Windows 7. –  gronostaj Aug 10 '13 at 9:33
    
Can more resolution be had? As in "Home" or "Pro" (or whatever other flavors there are...)? This may not be important re. license retrieval but the more details the better. (c: –  DaveC Aug 10 '13 at 9:52
    
Is it a gift? You can part it out and sell things like the screen, optical drive, keyboard... in which case you would have made a profit on something you got for free. Sounds like a win/win whether you get it to work or not. Or just install Linux on it. Or get another copy of Windows, and then have a working laptop with Windows, for the cost of the OS. –  Bon Gart Aug 10 '13 at 13:32
    
Hmm, It might also be useful to know that there's a difference between the SLP and COA keys - SLP keys are embedded in the laptop and work automatically with OEM recovery disks. COA's what's on the sticker and need to be phone activated - the key you detect would be the former and may or may not work –  Journeyman Geek Aug 10 '13 at 13:53
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2 Answers 2

Ahh forensics.

Now, There's two elements to this problem. Firstly, that this information is stored in the registry - specifically in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion. - look for a key called product name

Secondly you need to be able to read it. The files below contain the entirity of your registry

 c:\windows\system32\config\system
 c:\windows\system32\config\software
 c:\windows\system32\config\sam
 c:\windows\system32\config\security
 c:\windows\system32\config\default

These may be in ALL CAPS (MS's documentation has it in small letters, while my system has it all caps)

You really only need the file called software but copy everything out anyway. There's also a regback folder that may be of interest in system32 - this has known good copies, and covers the same role as the old c:\windows\repair\default folder. This is likely to work perfectly, should registry issues be what's causing non bootingness so grab this too anyway, since they're less likely to be corrupt

Now, you should be able to open these with Windows Registry Recovery to check - In this case, I booted into linux to copy out the contents of the windows\system32\config\regback folder I mentioned earlier (but another copy of windows will do). then opened up the software hive with WRR, this should give you the product name, key and other information under the windows installation tab

enter image description here

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Press 'Win' key with R (WIN+R) and type: winver. This will show you your Windows version. (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/which-operating-system)

EDIT: Please read my message: "does not boot" (As proof that I should sleep...)

Using an alternate OS such as Linux (http://www.ubuntu.com/) to access the equivalent to: "C:\Windows\System32\". Located within this directory is the "license.rtf" file. This will contain the Windows version and build for the OS.

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Please read my message: "does not boot". –  DaveC Aug 10 '13 at 9:50
    
Excellent! :: MICROSOFT SOFTWARE LICENSE TERMS WINDOWS 7 HOME PREMIUM SERVICE PACK 1 Thank you! –  DaveC Aug 10 '13 at 18:27
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