I recently installed Windows 8 consumer preview to see what it looks like but now i want to install Windows 7 again.

I have a dvd to install windows 7 but there is no sticker on the bottom of my laptop with the product key for windows 7.

I 've tried product key finders but they only return product key for the current installed OS being Windows 8.

Does anyone of you know how i can retrieve my product code for windows 7 so i can reinstall my windows 7?

I have a dell inspiron, the OS was preinstalled when i bought my laptop.

Thanks for any help!

  • You only have a chance if there is a system restore point or another backup of the old hives before the upgrade. – 0xC0000022L Jun 3 '12 at 12:13
  • Most OEM W7 install DVDs have the licence key embedded, it will install key during the W7 installation automatically, so you don't need a key from the sticker, only when installing from a non Dell DVD. – Moab Jun 3 '12 at 17:54

If you are sure, that the product key label has not been teared off and you have looked really closely (I have seen labels below the battery!), you should contact Dell, since (according to Microsoft) you have no valid license without the label but have paid for it.

Since you probably have removed Windows 7 when installing Windows 8 there is likely also no technical option to retrieve the XRM-MS certificate and the SLP key Dell used to activate Windows 7. While certificate and key are also available on the intenet, I doubt it is allowed to point you to such a place.

  • I know where i can find those keys on the internet, but i do not want to use those because i paid for this licence :) I upgrade from windows 7 to windows 8 so i have the WindowsOld Folder. Does that contain the registry? I'll check below my battery now. – Thomas Dekiere Jun 3 '12 at 11:29
  • 1
    Ok, so your actual question was where to find the label and not how to retrieve the generic SLP key (which is not the same as your - until today unused - personal key on the label) and the certificate from the old installation, which you could also have found on the internet anyway. So just for reference if somebody else is interested in a technical solution: The user independent registry files are loacated in %SystemRoot%\System32\Config\ so it should now be WindowsOld\System32\Config\ and the certificate is located in %SystemRoot%\System32\spp\tokens\pkeyconfig. – Gurken Papst Jun 3 '12 at 12:20

Most OEM W7 install DVDs (Including Dell) have the licence key (SLP) embedded, it will install key during the W7 installation automatically, so you don't need a key from the sticker, only when installing from a non Dell DVD do you need that key.

If you need your software applications that were preinstalled, you can download them only once from this site. Keep copies of these files somewhere safe.

Input your Dell service tag on this page to download all your drivers and system software.

Be sure to install the drivers in the correct order

Just so you know next time you buy a Dell, you can make your own recovery discs that will reinstall everything including software and drivers, which makes re-installing W7 much easier that what you are about to do.

  • This is a good supplement to my answer but one small note: OEM installations do not use a VLK (volume license key) but an SLP (system locked pre-installation) key. A VLK would allow installation on any hardware without activation, the SLP key restricts it to hardware from the OEM. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Locked_Preinstallation – Gurken Papst Jun 3 '12 at 18:25
  • @GurkenPapst thanks for the clarification, used old terminology. – Moab Jun 3 '12 at 23:38

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