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Install Windows Without License Key?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
First off, this is not a thread about software piracy.

I just purchased an Alienware M11x and it comes with Windows 7 Home Premium. I want to be able to use this laptop for work as well as personal stuff so I intend to upgrade it to Windows 7 Professional, but I can't purchase an OEM install disc until I get paid later this week so I won't get it until early next week. I want to get the laptop set up with all my software right away (It's scheduled to be delivered sometime today), if I do this on Home Premium then I'll just lose anything when I install Professional.

It's been a while since I've installed Windows, and I've actually never tried this so I thought I'd ask here. Is it possible for me to leave the license key blank during install and then put it in later? I already have a Windows 7 Pro install disc, so if this works I can get Pro installed, get everything set up, then apply my license later when I purchase it (hopefully before the unlicensed version locks me out).
post #2 of 14
Yeah you can leave it blank, I think they give you 3 days to activate it. If it locks you out then you just wait until you can enter the key you purchased, and then it's as if it never happened.
post #3 of 14
Windows 7 lets you do that, no problem. XP and earlier versions required keys to install.
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post #4 of 14
Yes, when the license comes up, just click next, and it will allow you to put in the activation key later.
Hope this helps!
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post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mott555 View Post
First off, this is not a thread about software piracy.

I just purchased an Alienware M11x and it comes with Windows 7 Home Premium. I want to be able to use this laptop for work as well as personal stuff so I intend to upgrade it to Windows 7 Professional, but I can't purchase an OEM install disc until I get paid later this week so I won't get it until early next week. I want to get the laptop set up with all my software right away (It's scheduled to be delivered sometime today), if I do this on Home Premium then I'll just lose anything when I install Professional.

It's been a while since I've installed Windows, and I've actually never tried this so I thought I'd ask here. Is it possible for me to leave the license key blank during install and then put it in later? I already have a Windows 7 Pro install disc, so if this works I can get Pro installed, get everything set up, then apply my license later when I purchase it (hopefully before the unlicensed version locks me out).
I can give you a licence key to do the anytime upgrade to ultimate
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post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick replies, +REP.
post #7 of 14
You get like 30 daysto activate then you can reset the activation timer up to 3 times.
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post #8 of 14
You actually get 30 days to activate with Win 7....

Quote:
Originally Posted by JedixJarf View Post
You get like 30 daysto activate then you can reset the activation timer up to 3 times.
DANG IT...Beat me to it...
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post #9 of 14
If its alienware don't you have an OEM copy which is registered to the laptops Mobo, this should work without a product key...

Edit: In fact Microsoft would require dell to put a product code sticker on the laptop as part of the OEM user agreement...
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post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonjryjo View Post
Yeah you can leave it blank, I think they give you 3 days to activate it. If it locks you out then you just wait until you can enter the key you purchased, and then it's as if it never happened.
The 3 day restriction is on activating it, and only applies if you enter a license key.

If you don't enter a key at all, you have 30 days before it forces you for a key. But if you still don't have a key by then, you can extend your trial period by another 30 days (I think you can do that 3 times before it won't work any more). So yeah, install it without a key and you'll be fine. Once you've got the key, you can just enter and activate.


The only problem you might face is that an OEM key might not work if you have a retail copy of Windows 7 installed. I think that the way to get around that would be to edit the ei.cfg file on the disc.
If you download the ISO from Microsoft (links in this thread) and use the official Windows 7 USB/DVD Tool, you can make a bootable USB to install Windows 7 from. Personally, that's the best way for me. Once you make the bootable usb, find the ei.cfg file (I think it's in the folder called "boot", or possibly "sources").
Then you can either just delete the file, which will make the installer show you a list of every version of Windows 7 and let you install whichever you want; or you can edit the file - under the "Channel" heading, change it from Retail to OEM.
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