Maybe someone here will be abe to help me out. My laptop came with 8.1 installed. I then installed the 10 TP on it, and then re-installed it at some point, so now I can't get the Windows 8.1 activation key that is/was supposedly stored in the BIOS. Any ideas on what to do? I'd rather not have to buy Windows again, and I definitely don't wanna be stuck on the Technical Preview.
Now this may be a misunderstanding on my part or simply not applicable to Windows 8.1, but I believe previous versions of Windows, at leas with certain manufacturers, required you to do the re-install with the OEM version of the CD/DVD in order to use the license stored in BIOS/UEFI. I believe this is at least the case with a old HP desktop of mine, which installs XP & Win7 without even asking for a key if used with the HP OEM media.
Unfortunately, I didn't get anything beyond a mains lead and manual with my laptop (an Asus). I think I might be screwed then. I'll have to have a hunt for an old Windows 7 disc or something.
Call Asus and give them the serial number of the laptop. If you can't get in with Support, try calling Sales. Basically, you can purchase the reload media from them. It's cheap, usually $10-20 + the cost of shipping. I've done this with nearly every brand, although never with Asus I will admit.
If that doesn't work, I typed in "windows asus" on everyone's favorite Torrent site and a few results came up. Downloading those aren't actually illegal since they are authenticating off the key embedded in your hardware. Unfortunately, I only saw results for Windows 7 (not 8.1.)
Sometimes the Windows product key is on a sticker somewhere (sometimes even at the bottom) on your laptop. However, as eilyra pointed out, sometimes you need to have the original OEM disc to install from... This is how they keep laptop costs so low, they basically sell you a copy of Windows that you can only use once.
The copy of windows is usable as many times as you want on that ONE device. All major laptop manufacturers give you the setup disk within a hidden partition on the device. Your key is hidden in the registry and can be extracted using free software or, like mentioned before, usually printed on the outside of the laptop. It is your right as the owner of the OS license (by purchasing the laptop provided by the manufacturer) to install it as many times as you wish on that device. Eventually, with enough activations on file, Windows will prompt you to call a number to verify you are doing it for valid reasons, but you will still be able to use it again if you wish.
Didn't even know that this is what the hidden partition is for. Thanks for the info!
The software is called produkey for anyone interested.