I recently was contacted by a client who purchased a PC from a local computer reseller. The computer was assembled and sold with Windows 7, Microsoft Office, and Norton Antivirus. Unfortunately, the computer, which was grossly underpowered and overpriced, came with no software licenses. My customer made many attempts to contact the reseller when she had some problems, but the reseller never returned any phone calls. I became her computer consultant when she abandoned all hope that the reseller would help her.
When I first met with this customer, I realized that she had been ripped off and advised her that she had been taken advantage of. I recommended that she replace the software with legitimate copies so that she could receive upgrades and support.
We replaced Office and Norton with legitimate copies that she owned. She wanted to try to contact the reseller to see if she could obtain the license for Windows 7. Unfortunately, she could not.
Last week, she called me because Windows 7 declared that her copy was not legitimate and went into a limited functioning mode. I told her to go to the store and purchase a copy of Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium. She did this and I scheduled a time with her to install her new license. This is when the next big problem began. I had forgotten that she had a pirated copy of Windows 7 Ultimate on her computer not Windows Home Premium.
I started the upgrade process and was notified that I couldn’t perform the upgrade since I was trying to install Windows 7 Home Premium over Windows 7 Ultimate. I was told that my only option was to start over and perform a new install of Windows 7 Home Premium. This was very impractical as I would need to backup her data, install the new operating system, then reinstall her utilities, applications, and then configure everything. That would be another 2 hours of work. To complicate matters further, I couldn’t return the new copy of Windows 7 since it was opened and most every retailer will not take back opened software.
To solve the problem, I swapped her license of Windows 7 Home Premium for a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate that I had. I then discovered that since the original software was counterfeit, I couldn’t change the licensing key from the Control Panel System dialog box. I didn't want to reinstall the entire operating system. So, I went behind the scenes to the command prompt and made the necessary changes using the slmgr.vbs command. I have detailed this below. All totaled, this process took a little over 1 hour. It would be nice if Microsoft did a better job at making this process less complex for the user.
How to change a license key in Windows 7 from the command prompt:
- 1.Click on the Start Orb and type “cmd” in the Search programs and files field.
- Right-click on cmd in the search results and select the “Run as administrator” option.
- A command windows will open that has administrators rights.
- Type “slmgr.vbs -ipk insert your new license key here”.
- Type “slmgr.vbs -ato” to activate your new license key.
Command Window with slmgr.vbs Commands
Successful Activation Notice
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