Thursday, December 3, 2015

Missing windows key sticker

I wiped my OEM installed copy of windows from my ASUS laptop (to install Linux) and deleted the recovery partition. Also, the key is missing because it rubbed of the sticker. I wanted to put Windows on in addition to Linux.


  1. Use Linux to extract the key from your laptop firmware. It's still in there, and that is how the OEM disk gets it when you re-install. It just takes a single command run as root to get at it. With that key you can then install a generic copy of Windows which you can get from Microsoft. So either boot up linux on the computer or run it from a live disk (no install required).  Then run sudo hd /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM
  2. Next go and download the installer for your version of Windows. In my case I needed windows 8. This could get into a bunch of other issues since the installer I could get from MS is really an 8.1 installer which may not take my 8 OEM key. The solution in that case may be to install with a generic key first and then swap in my OEM key. The subject is well explained in this reddit post. I lucked out though, and it picked up my OEM key no problem (this may have been because I upgraded to 8.1 at some point in the past).
  3. Now install and enjoy.
  4. And if you are still in the Win 7 or 8 upgrade window, maybe consider upgrading to Windows 10.

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