I have a Sony Vaio SVE151J11M laptop which unfortunately is only just two weeks out of warranty from the retail store I bought it from just over a year ago. My problem is that the hard drive has completely crashed due to some memory management and Kernel Data problem. I can only get to the main Windows 8 screen before the computer freezes and eventually crashes.

I attempted a system reboot but I was unaware that the system reboot disks had to be manually downloaded from the laptop so the system won't allow me to to do anything I am completely stuck. Anyway a friend of mine who is an IT Tech advised me to buy a new internal hard drive and a Windows 8 re-install/recovery disk which I did online.

I have not yet received these products but now I have been told that without the Windows 8 License Key (which is not displayed anywhere on the laptop), I won't be able to re-install Windows from the disk, as the key is stored on the system. Will I face problems attempting to re-install Windows 8 if there is a new Hard Drive or is the license key stored somewhere else in the system that Windows re-install disk could detect it?

  • 3
    did you check inside the battery compartment for the windows sticker?
    – Tyson
    Jul 31 '14 at 16:43

Computers with Windows 8 pre-installed store the Windows key in the hardware, not on a sticker.

If you have a Windows installation medium that matches your product key (for example if Windows 8 Professional was pre-installed you'll need a Windows 8 Professional installation medium) the key will be automatically filled during the installation.

One of the improvements Microsoft is making to Activation 3.0 for newly built machines that come preloaded with Windows 8, you won't have a COA (Certificate of Authenticity) sticker attached to the machine anymore. Instead, this will be embedded in the BIOS. This will avoid product keys from being compromised and OEMs will buy what they need.

More info

  • Yes it is a pre-installed Windows 8 so hopefully I won't face anymore problems once I reboot the system. Thank you for your help.
    – Gavin
    Jul 31 '14 at 23:08
  • I hope you are talking about the hard drive? As you already have a Windows license you don't have to buy Windows again. Aug 1 '14 at 5:54
  • Well I first attempted to reboot windows back to factory settings but because of the memory management and the kernel data going down it would not allow me to reboot, therefor I needed to purchase a windows 8 re-install/recovery disk which hopefully will recover what windows once I have replaced the internal hard drive.
    – Gavin
    Aug 1 '14 at 12:04

I believe that in this case, they've switched to BIOS-based keys. So as long as the install media knows how to find the key in the BIOS, you ought to be OK to install. Replacing the HD is perfectly legitimate, and I'd expect activation to not have a problem. If it does, it'll just tell you to call in, and you'll be on your way.

  • Thank you for your help, hopefully it will work when the products I purchased arrive.
    – Gavin
    Jul 31 '14 at 23:07

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