I purchased an Acer Notebook about 3 years ago. It had a bunch of bloatware, and in general it was starting to slow down. I decided to try to reinstall the OS. I went on the Internet and got a copy of Windows from a licensed source. I got my product key, wiped the hard drive and reinstalled Windows 7 from the USB bootable I created. All went well and I installed my drivers. Once connected to the internet, I check to make sure my CD key was working. And sure enough, it wasn't. It gave me an error code that, when I looked it up, said that that code was in use.
I called Microsoft and they could not help me. They directed me toward Acer support. They said I would have to buy a repair disk from them ($19.95 USD) and pay them for tech support ($99.95 USD). This is ridiculous.
Anyway, my question is, can I use the computer like normal with it not activated? and what else should I be doing to get myself out of this mess?
I know I was stupid for doing this without doing more research.
UPDATE: I realized the code I extracted was the master code for Acer. It is very different from the one on the bottom of the notebook. However, everything on the sticker is washed away and I can only see about 50% of the numbers.