Windows 7 manager activation key Archives

Windows 7 manager activation key Archives

windows 7 manager activation key Archives

windows 7 manager activation key Archives

3 Tools to Backup and Restore Windows 7 and Vista OEM Activation License

Many people aren’t aware that a pre-built computer from a manufacturer like Dell or HP actually has two Windows product keys present, and the key on the Windows COA sticker isn’t actually in use. What your computer is shipped and installed with is a generic OEM product key that is the same on every computer that comes from the same manufacturer with that edition of Windows. You can test this yourself by using a product key display tool, the license it displays will not be the same as what’s on the attached sticker.

Unfortunately if you perform a clean install of Windows you cannot ordinarily use this generic key and will instead have to use the one from the COA sticker. To prevent pirates easily using the key, measures are in place to make sure it only works on computers built by the manufacturer. Firstly, each computer has data added to the BIOS identifying the manufacturer. Secondly, a security certificate is installed into Windows which checks that identity in the BIOS and accepts the generic key. If the BIOS, certificate and key all match up, Windows will activate without the need for the internet or a phone.

Many computers that came with Windows Vista and 7 will be getting old and if you still have the original install that came on the computer, you may be thinking about a reinstall as all Windows installs degrade and slow down over time. While you can use the product key from the sticker attached to your computer, after all this time many of those stickers will now be hard to read or the characters have rubbed off completely making the key unreadable.

Thankfully there are ways to backup the OEM license key and certificate from a current Windows install and then transfer them onto a completely clean installation.

1. Activation Backup and Restore (ABR)

ABR was originally designed to work on Vista only but support for Windows 7 was added in a later beta version. What it does is quite simple, extract and backup the currently installed OEM certificate and product key to a folder. You copy the folder onto a new system and the tool will reinstall the certificate and key. As the valid OEM data is still in the BIOS the computer will reactivate automatically.

Backup your Vista or Windows 7 OEM license using ABR:

1. Download ABR beta and run the executable which will extract the files to the location of your choice.

2. Inside the extracted ABRbeta folder, run activation_backup.exe (administrator privileges are required). The program will find and create a backup of the certificate and a text file with the product key in the same folder.

3. Copy the ABRbeta folder to a USB flash drive or another hard drive so you can access it after a new Windows install.

Restore your Vista or Windows 7 OEM license onto a new install:

It is important to note that you MUST install the same edition of Windows that is currently on your computer. If your computer has Windows 7 Home Premium, you must reinstall Windows 7 Home Premium or the reactivation will fail. You can switch between 32-bit and 64-bit versions and reinstall Windows 7 64-bit when your original install was Windows 7 32-bit. The security certificate in Windows is not tied to a specific edition but the product key is.

1. Perform a clean reinstall of Windows 7 or Vista (the same edition that your computer shipped with).

2. During Windows installation do not enter a product key and choose to skip it.

3. Locate the ABRbeta folder on your system and run the activation_restore.exe. If you receive a message on Windows 7 that the tokens.dat file is not found and Windows may be already activated, just press y to continue.

The certificate and product key will be automatically installed, if you look in System Properties (right click Computer > Properties) the Windows activation status should say “Windows is activated”.

2. Advanced Tokens Manager

While the Activation Backup and Restore tool above allows you to transfer your OEM license from one install to another on the same computer, Advanced Tokens Manager will actually allow you to transfer standard Windows licenses that have been activated by phone or online as well, although certain conditions apply in those cases. It can also backup and restore Windows 8 and Office 2010/2013 licenses.

Backup your Vista or Windows 7 OEM license using Advanced Tokens Manager:

1. Download Advanced Tokens Manager and extract the zip to a folder of your choice, straight to flash drive or another hard drive would be best.

2. Run the program and click the Activation Backup button, administrator privileges are required.

3. Read the sizable warning popup and then click Yes to allow the backup to begin.

After a few seconds the process will be complete and a folder called “Windows Activation Backup” is now at the location of the executable. Inside is a tokens.dat file which contains the security certificate and an INI file with the product key, Windows version and CRC checksum.

Restore your Vista or Windows 7 OEM license using Advanced Tokens Manager:

1. Reinstall Windows Vista or 7 with the same edition that was previously installed (switching between 32-bit and 64-bit is permitted). Skip the enter product key screen during the install process.

2. Run Advanced Tokens Manager and click the Activation Restore button. Note the warning popup says the process could take up to 5 minutes and all network connections will be interrupted during this time.

When it’s complete System Properties will automatically be opened where you can check the activation status. Advanced Tokens Manager requires .NET Framework v4.

3.’s Windows 7 OEM License Installer

This tool is something we made a few years back after constantly being asked to reinstall Windows 7 machines and the COA sticker attached to the computer was nearly always unreadable. The only other option besides using the OEM license would be to pay for a new copy of Windows 7. This program does not work on Vista but will automatically install the correct manufacturer OEM security certificate and product key to your Windows 7 computer.

The useful thing about the Windows 7 OEM License Installer program is it does not need to make a backup first so if your current Windows install is unbootable or has been already erased, this tool will work where the two above will not. Currently Windows 7 machines from Acer, Packard Bell, eMachines, Advent, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, Gigabyte, HP, Compaq, Lenovo, IBM, Medion, MSI, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba are supported.

Install Windows 7 OEM license:

1. Because this program doesn’t rely on backups, you can straight away install the same edition of Windows 7 that was installed on your computer by the manufacturer (32-bit <> 64-bit swapping is permitted).

2. Download Windows 7 OEM License Installer, run the program and click the “Install Cert & Key” button. Then simply follow the prompts to install the correct security certificate and product key for your computer and version of Windows.

If all has gone well the last popup will tell you Windows has been successfully activated.

Note the program will only work if your computer has been manufactured from one of the companies listed above, if not it will fail to work and your install will not be activated. The Activation Status button will tell you the current Windows activation state, BIOS Info will run a separate included tool so you can analyze the system BIOS to see what manufacturer data is present. Windows 7 OEM License Installer will reactivate your OEM copy of Windows 7 Home basic, Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate.

Of course we welcome any feedback, bug reports or suggestions regarding the Windows 7 OEM License Installer.

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Free 7Z RAR TAR ZIP ZIPX opener for Windows 64 bit

PeaZip is a free file archiving application (file compression, rar opener,...), cross-platform Open Source free alternative to WinRar, WinZip and similar software for Windows & Linux.

Compress / archiving to 7Z, ARC, Brotli BR, BZip2, GZip, PAQ, PEA, RAR, self-extracting archives, TAR, WIM, XZ, Zstandard ZST, ZIP file format.

*Open ACE(*), BR, CAB, DMG, ISO, RAR, UDF, ZST, ZIPX archives, 200+ file formats supported for decompression.

Extract, create and convert archive files, raw file split / join, create spanned (multi-volume) archives, supports strong encryption, encrypted password manager, secure data delete (unrecoverable, permanent erasure), find duplicate files, compute hash and multiple checksum algorithms, export scripts to automate backup and restore tasks.

Free WinRar, WinZip alternative file archiving application

Free and Open Source (LGPL3) file archiving application featuring intuitive, easy to use GUI, Drag&Drop support both for extraction and archiving, and full Windows context menu integration, to provide an user-friendly Free Software alternative to proprietary applications like WinRar and WinZip.

Free RAR file opener, manage other proprietary formats like ACE and ZIPX, and can convert and replace them with non-proprietary alternative formats like 7Z, ARC, TAR, ZIP.

Provides top speed, best data compression ratio, stability, and security, relying on proven Free Software technologies from 7-Zip, Brotli, FreeArc, PAQ, UPX, Zstandard and other state of art Open Source projects.


MSIX app for Windows 10
To install PeaZip's MSIX packages you need also to install, una tantum, PeaZip's .cer certificate available here.
PeaZip is available as .MSIX app package you can download from here, but it is not published on Microsoft Store: be careful if you find app with same name and logo on it!
PeaZip Windows app is a full featured Win32 x86-64 software and requires a full featured Windows system supporting Win32 x86-64 bit API, like most of the current Windows 10 systems, it does not run on systems limited to Metro / RT / Modern / UWP / Universal APIs.


As alternative, PeaZip is also available through new Microsoft Windows' package manager winget, it can be installed with "winget install peazip" command, while "winget show peazip" displays last available version for winget package manager.


PeaZip 64 bit is faster than the 32 bit version, and should be preferred on modern Windows machines.
PeaZip 64 bit archive manager utility is optimized for x86-64 / AMD64 architecture and it is meant only for Windows 64 bit (WIN64) compatible systems.
On recent Microsoft Windows systems you can check detailed Operating System information of your device right-clicking the "Computer" icon on the desktop, "Properties" screen.

See complete change log and release notes for list of updates and new features of PeaZip for Windows 64 bit.
These downloads contain only free, safe software, Open Source under OSI definition: they does not contain third party sponsored offers (such as in-installer advertising) or any harmful software.
The application is fully functional, without any limitation: it does not require product key / serial number / password, it has no expiration term (by date or number of usages), and no type of "trial" limiting, nor in terms of maximum number of users / machines / concurrent sessions, nor in terms of program's features.
The application is released under Open Source license LGPLv3, that means this program is free of charge for any use (personal and professional, business and government, etc...), modification, and distribution.

PeaZip is a Free Software application, providing general-purpose user-friendly file archiving and file manager tools, focused on security features (strong encryption, secure deletion, file hashing), works as opener for RAR, ACE, ZIPX and other proprietary file archive formats and can convert them to alternative open formats like 7Z or ZIP, non encumbered by patents or licensing limitations, and can replace proprietary archive managers like WinZip and WinRar.

(*) ACE files extraction requires download of separate UNACE plugin (WinAce ace opener / extractor code licensing is incompatible with LGPLv3) available on add-ons page.
Creation of RAR archives with PeaZip is possible only if WinRar is installed in the system, because autonomous support to rar compression is not possible due to rar licensing restrictions. Extraction of new RAR5 is supported out of the box, from add-ons page it can be downloaded the alternative UNRAR / UNRAR5 plugin built on RarLab's (WinRar) unrar code, incompatible with LGPLv3, as alternative rar opener to 7z/p7zip open source unrar tool, if desired by the user.

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windows 7 manager activation key Archives

Transferring Windows 7 OEM license to a new hard drive

This is a follow-up post on my previous post about Replacing Compaq 615 hard drive with a SSD.

It is obvious, that when you remove the old hard drive from your PC and replace it with a new one, all your stuff won't be on the new drive. "All your stuff" includes Windows operating system, your user profile information, settings, background picture of your desktop, all your precious photos, ... the list goes on. So to succesfully replace the hard drive, some preliminary steps are needed. Even in the best case, where you're prepared to lose all of your files and information, the only thing that you need to transfer is your Windows 7 license. In Microsoft lingo it is called The Activation. This literally means, that your Windows will emulate E.T. and "call home" to verify, that you are allowed to run the installation.

In this particular case following circumstances exist:

  • The laptop in question is manufactured by HP/Compaq
  • HP/Compaq is a Microsoft OEM partner and they get their Windows 7 licenses with special pricing
  • The hardware must has a suitable identification for the OEM partner in its BIOS called SLIC
  • Actual Windows 7 license (activation) will be stored on the hard drive, the OEM product key of this installation is not known
  • It is impossible to transfer the activation from old hard drive to the new one. It is possible to re-activate on the new drive when the existing OEM product key has been extracted from the old Windows 7 installation.
  • There is nothing illegal in this procedure. You bought the hardware, you own the hardware. With hardware you paid for the Windows 7 license. This is NOT software piracy of any kind.

Abandoned options

There are three good possibilities of transferring an existing Windows installation to the new drive. I chose not to use either of those.

It is possible to create a recovery disc from existing installation. This has been covered in articles How do I create recovery discs on a Compaq 615 and Creating Recovery Discs or Saving a Recovery Image to a USB Flash Drive (Windows 7). There was a glitch, though. The HP Backup & Recovery manager was not installed to this Compaq laptop. I found an article Download hp backup & recovery manager which points to softpaq sp45602.exe containing the installer.

Another way would be to use the Windows 7 built-in backup. There is an option to create the system recovery image. Apparently HP/Compaq chooses to go with this on consumer models.

Other possibilities would include Clonezilla, Acronis True Image, or similar to transfer the entire drive with all the partitions.

The reason why I abandoned all of those was that I definitely wanted a fresh start without any old payload. The HP Backup & Recovery would provide the cleanest start, but still there are a number of weird software being installed, which nobody actually needs or wants. Another thing is that Windows 7 fresh install on SSD takes care of setting the TRIM-flag to the partition and aligns the partitions properly on 4096 byte boundaries. Both of those settings differ when installing to a hard drive. These are pretty much the only differences when installing to SSD instead of HD, but I definitely wanted to get all of my performance settings right from the beginning.

Prerequisites for license transfer

When talking about OEM Windows 7 licenses, following license types exist OEM Channel SLP, NONSLP and COA License Product Keys. The difference of those is explained in detail in this article. To put it briefly, in every OEM machine there must be a sticker somewhere. The sticker has the Certificate of Authentication (COA) key. This OEM COA key can be used to activate a Windows 7 installation only via phone. It is a possibility, but not my first choice as there are other options available.

Every OEM Windows 7 also has an OEM System Locked Pre-installation key. The key is not available anywhere. It is hidden intentionally, for the reason that nobody would ever try anything I'm about to describe in this post. To dig out the SLP-key, you will need a special piece of software. My choice is The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder. There is a free edition available for download and it just magically tells you your Windows installation key. The smart thing to do is to use the export-option to an USB stick. You can copy/paste your license key from a file later when it is needed.

If you are interested in your settings and data, backup your user profile(s) with Windows Easy Transfer (migwiz.exe). I chose to save the profile data onto an USB hard drive to be restored later.

You must have OEM certificates for this the license activation to work. Download a the certificate bundle from Your hardware manufacturer should be in the archive, if it is not, you cannot proceed.

Optional prerequisite is SLIC ToolKit V3.2. You can download one from Using this tool really helps you in the process, because you can actually see if it would work and you can verify the steps.

If you don't know your SLP-key DO NOT remove the old hard drive.

Installing Windows 7 to the new drive

If you don't know your SLP-key DO NOT start installing to the new drive. Put the old drive back and use a keyfinder to get your key.

Update 2nd Jan 2016: My recent findings about possibility of recovering the key with USB-dock. With suitable hardware it is possible to read the key from already removed hard drive.

Update 13th Mar 2015: Microsoft took down their Windows 7 downloads from Digital River. They are not available anymore!
All the Windows 7 SP1 installation images are generally available for download. See Official Windows 7 SP1 ISO from Digital River about details. Again: This is not software piracy! You own the license for your Windows 7, you are entitled to own the installation media for it.

Download the exact version of your installation image. Language may be different, but not all OEM licenses are allowed for both 32-bit and 64-bit installations. If you are changing x86 to x64 there will be also issues with Windows Easy Transfer, it documented that the transfer wizard works only on same arcitecture. To see if your OEM license works both on 32-bit and 64-bit you simply have to test it.

If you need the language files see Windows 7 SP1 Language Packs Direct Download Links and the utility needed to install them Vistalizator. The language packs are different for 32-bit and 64-bit installations, so choose carefully. Windows 7 Ultimate can change languages from control panel, no special tweaks are needed for it.

During installation, choose not to enter a license key. You will end up having a non-activated Windows installation. The technical term is that your activation is on a "grace period". This is what we want to do. Activate later.

Re-activating the license on the new drive

Third warning: You will need your SLP-key for the re-activation to work.

In your Computer properties, there is an option to "Change Product Key". None of your OEM-keys will work there, no matter how much you try. Any activation attempts will yield something like this:

Activation Error code: 0XC004E003 (Product key already in use). There is a lengthy discussion of Clean OEM Windows 7 install returns 0xc004e003 @ Microsoft.

What you need to do is follow instructions from activating windows 7 OEM way. Open a Command Prompt (cmd.exe) and run it as Administrator.

First we confirm that the BIOS has required information in it. It definitely should as the machine had a working Windows 7 in it, but still ... run the SLIC tool to confirm:

It should say "Dump OK!". On the Advanced-tab you can confirm, that there are issues with the activation:

The SLIC status is on green and is valid, but private key and certificate have issues and display a red cert. error.

To fix this, my sequence differs a bit from the article. The first thing to do is to set your SLP-key, say something like this into your command prompt (no, that is not really my SLP-key):

It should respond after a delay:

Next install your manufacaturer certificate, this will take a while:

It should respond after a lengthy delay with something like this:

The last thing to do is to rebuild the certificate store, to start using all these changes:

That should respond with a simple "Ok". Now you can confirm your activation status with a:

The response should be something like:

If you failed in this process, the response will look more like:

Upon success, the SLIC tool will also display the status as:

Slmgr.vbs is volume activation tool installed into all Windowses. See more details about it from Slmgr.vbs Options for Volume Activation @ Technet.

The successful activation can be confirmed also from Computer properties. At no part of this activation any network traffic to Microsoft or any other party is required.

Both Microsoft and your PC's manufacturer would like for you not to know anything about this. Both of their businesses rely on the fact, that hardware vendors and their partners will do all the maintenance for your PC while making money at it. Since hacking is about learning how computer stuff works, this is a prime example of hacking. With this information you can hack your own laptop.

Any comments are welcome!

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