No Windows 8 product key stickers = legitimate customers pay. Class action lawsuit?

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pawn3d

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THE CASE OF THE MISSING PRODUCT KEY:
I'm pissed... No really. :fou: I bought a Toshiba C855-S5118 from Walmart a little over a year ago and the hard drive crashed. Naturally, I replaced it. So now I'm trying to reinstall Windows 8 with a "borrowed" disk and it wants my product key. I flip over the laptop: It's not there. Looked in the battery compartment: NOTHING.

Now, I know I didn't remove it (I'm not friggin stupid). So after some Googling, I discover that computer manufacturers are now omitting the product keys on new laptops. Conveniently, I can't find the damn disc. :ange: So I call Toshiba...


1 HOUR & 45 MINUTES LATER...
Toshiba was no help whatsoever. After being transferred around and talking to 4 agents, I can't get no satisfaction. Even after giving them my serial # and furnishing my store receipt, they STILL wouldn't tell me what my original product key is, so I demanded to speak to a supervisor. I pleaded my case to him that I was a legitimate owner and he just recited the same scripted answers the last 3 Indian agents told me. That there are only two options:

  • 1) Send it in for an out of warranty repair (yeah right), or
    2) Buy a recovery media from them for only $39.95. (Even though I'm a legitimate owner).
SO WHERE ARE ALL THE LITIGATION ATTORNEYS?
If you ask me, this is nothing short of a SCAM. It's just one more way to juice legitimate customers out of $40 for a recovery disk and I'm surprised there isn't a class action law suit yet. This could be a goldmine for a lawyer. Who would have thought... Your hard drive crashes, and they TAX YOU for it??? I call it pouring salt on a wound! Yeah, I know I'm a buffoon for losing my disks, but given this is a relatively new OS, I was completely unprepared for this, like so many others suckers that came before me.



I sure would really like to get my hands on "SW Media - USB-SATELLITE-C855-Windows 8 64bit Professional-EN", whatever that means. Can't find the disks anywhere online.

ONE SMALL STEP FOR PC... ONE GIANT LEAP BACKWARDS
Not to start a Mac vs Pc debate, but it's stuff like this that makes me wonder how the PC isn't dead yet. Did you know that on a Mac, restoring is a simple as holding a key at startup? Even with a new HDD, it will connect to the internet and download/install all the software you need. No serial, receipt, product key or anything. Apple takes yet another leap into the future while PC... (dare I say it?)... "pulls another Vista"... All I know is that this is NOT OK.


 

AdioKIP

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Most toshiba laptops no longer ship with discs. The restore function is built in based on a partition on the hard drive. Some will give you the option to burn the discs yourself, but most use a restore function thats built in and accessible when you boot. The downside of this is If the drive crashes then you're pretty much SOL. Even if you had a product key, it doesnt mean it will work with any windows disc, I've tried this many times, not all discs recognize all product codes. Most likely if you were to try a product code from the laptop with a store bought windows disc, it wouldnt work.

As far as why apple can do it the way they do, its because they control there hardware and software. For PC the hardware vendors have to pay microsoft to license the copies of windows they install.
 

COLGeek

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"SW Media - USB-SATELLITE-C855-Windows 8 64bit Professional-EN" is the OEM version used to install Win 8 to your system by Toshiba.

When you purchased the system, there were likely instructions provided for you to make a set of recovery media (doesn't help now unfortunately).

Looks like you have 3 options. 1) Return for repair under warranty, 2) Pay for the recovery media, or 3) Purchase a new license and install a non-OEM version of Win 8.

BTW, this has become a current practice by many OEMs to charge customers for recovery media. Not defending it, as I too am opposed to the practice, but something that industry is now doing more and more often.

Good luck!
 
You have the key, it is encrypted and hard coded into a known location in the BIOS rather than on a sticker.
If you run a setup program for windows 8.x it will find the key and use it unless you make changes in the setup program to force it not to get the key.

Support people will not be able to tell you what your key is, it is encrypted and they would have to run a decrypt program to get it and there would not be a point anyway.

lenovo charges $59 for a copy of their disks. It is there product they can charge what ever fee they want to make a copy. It is not like they charge for another key.
 

pawn3d

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I'm not buying it... I can call Toshiba right now and give them my SN# and they can pull up my full name, address, phone number and when I purchased the laptop.
Given that they collect our warranty information, purchase records, billing data (and God knows what else), isn't it a little absurd no not keep records of our product keys? Let's be real. They intentionally didn't record it, just like they intentionally omitted the sticker from the laptop.

I bought it.
I own it.
I want it.
 
Again, the key is built into the electronics of the laptop. As long as you have the laptop you have the key. Toshiba will not give you the decryption program to pull it out of the laptop. If you really want it you would have to use one of the many 3rd party decryption programs. Even if you did, the key is still bound to that motherboard and would not work on another machine. Microsoft's retail window 8.x has a paper key, Toshiba's version of Windows 8.x does not. Even if you were to get the OEM key out of the machine, you will find that OEM activations are a two step process and Toshiba would have to reactivate the key on their end again before second step of the OEM activation can be completed.
End the end, your rights will be spelled out in Toshiba's license agreement they have with you.




 
The answer might be in installing W8 without a product key. There are plenty of sites explaining how, by modifying the ei.cfg file. You need to modify it to an OEM configuration. This probably means copying the 'borrowed' disk as an ISO then burning it to a USB flash where you can modify ei.cfg. Then once installed hopefully it will activate using the embedded key. Or perhaps Belarc Advisor would find it,...
I suspect the disk you have will either be Upgrade or Retail and wouldn't work with the OEM key anyway.
 

jaguarskx

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Microsoft has changed the way how the product key works for Windows 8.

Yes, for Windows 7 and prior versions, laptops had a sticker with a product key so that you can "barrow" a Windows 7 disc from someone and use your product key to re-install Windows 7 on your laptop. As others have stated, the Windows 8 product key is now embedded into the electronics.

Specifically, the product key is encrypted in the BIOS. This explains why Toshiba's tech support can not tell you what your product key is because they have no idea what it is. The product should be retrievable from Windows Registry using a program like Magic Jelly Bean. However... It also seems to be the case where each OEM Windows 8 disc has it's own product key. This means you cannot simply borrow someone's Windows 8 OEM disk to install Windows 8 on your laptop using your specific product key. It will not work.


Since the hard drive died, the recovery partition is also dead. In this case you must rely on the Recovery Disks to reinstall Windows 8. Unfortunately, you did not make a recovery disk (it seems most people skip this vital step). This means your options are extremely limited.

While you may be very angry at Toshiba for not providing you with the support you are expecting, the problem is Microsoft changed the rules of the game. It is that change which basically makes it impossible for Toshiba to tell you what your product key is.

The Recovery Disk that Toshiba (and other companies) offers for sale is an additional product / service. While it is related to the Windows 8 operating system is not the the Windows 8 operating system. Again, a Recovery Disk is something the owner (you) should create when you received your laptop. Since you did not create one, they offer you the option to buy it and it is considered a value added service for which they can legally charge you money for.

If you do not want to send in your laptop for service and you do not want to pay $40 for the recovery disc, then you need to buy the OEM version of Windows 8. Of these three options, paying the $40 for the recovery disks is likely the cheapest and most convenient option. Shipping in the laptop for service will likely cost just as much and it will be sitting in the queue.

 
there are no labels for any windows 8 systems as the keys are now programed into the bios. hp does this acer does this all the manufactures are doing this now. hell my windows 7 key is programed into my hp motherboard. even though I have a label I didn't need it as the installation automatically read it when I did a clean install of windows 7 on my ssd. the key is tied to the motherboard to prevent illegal copying
 

Science_Man

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Sorry for the slight necro but if I find false information on google others can and will. This should be understandable.


I have never responded but, I do not want information like this out there. Parts of this is wrong.

such as
Specifically, the product key is encrypted in the BIOS. This explains why Toshiba's tech support can not tell you what your product key is because they have no idea what it is. The product should be retrievable from Windows Registry using a program like Magic Jelly Bean. However... It also seems to be the case where each OEM Windows 8 disc has it's own product key. This means you cannot simply borrow someone's Windows 8 OEM disk to install Windows 8 on your laptop using your specific product key. It will not work.
Each OEM disc does not have its "OWN" product key. OEM discs will pull from the m/b where the key is embedded into. Retail discs do not. However when borrowing OEM discs make sure they are the same version.


If you do not want to send in your laptop for service and you do not want to pay $40 for the recovery disc, then you need to buy the OEM version of Windows 8. Of these three options, paying the $40 for the recovery disks is likely the cheapest and most convenient option. Shipping in the laptop for service will likely cost just as much and it will be sitting in the queue.
You can download OEM discs legally just look around online and it is free. I would recommend installing to a thumbdrive for this.


The Recovery Disk that Toshiba (and other companies) offers for sale is an additional product / service. While it is related to the Windows 8 operating system is not the the Windows 8 operating system. Again, a Recovery Disk is something the owner (you) should create when you received your laptop. Since you did not create one, they offer you the option to buy it and it is considered a value added service for which they can legally charge you money for.
Personal input here. The customer should not have to learn how or be forced to know to make a recovery disc. It does not always ask you to make one. However, information on how to fix it should be readily available.
 
I agree but some of the OEMs will charge you $65 to make a recovery disk for you.



 

USAFRet

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That concept has existed for more than a decade. I have a set of HP Recovery disks around here for a PC from around 2002 or so.
HP gave no install disks, no OS disks, nada. You, the new owner, were expected to make your own. And you could only do that once.
 

menac

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Just because the concept has existed for over a decade, doesn't make it right. It's bad customer service. How hard would it be to send a Recovery USB stick in the computer's box? [rant] I understand that the new key in the BIOS approach is Microsoft imposed, and I actually thing it's a very good solution. However, the hardware manufacturers have beenselling PCs for "over a decade" and should have figured out by now how to help their customers have a great experience with their products when things go wrong, instead of scamming them for Recovery Disks! [/rant]

I must add that jaguarskx has posted one of the best explanations of the new way things work with Windows 8+ that I have seen yet. Science_Man has corrected a couple of minor mistakes, but the overall explanation is solid.
 

USAFRet

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I didn't say it was right. I just said thats the way it is. They are just trying to cut pennies out of the price.
 

charlesschmid

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The product key for a Windows 8 pre-installed PC is embedded in the BIOS. You can extract the product key with the KeyFinder Plus program. But the OEM product key doesn't work with the retail copy of Windows 8, and you need to contact your manufacture to request a Windows 8 OEM install disc.
 

Steve Kennelly

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I am running into the same issue with my Lenovo Ideapad U310. This machine is not a high performance machine. Windows 8 has a tendency to freeze up from time to time. I am considering making the jump to a Linux distro and don't want to set up a vm. I wanted to install Linux from scratch, use it, and if I decided I need to be using windows, then reinstall windows if need be. I called Lenovo support to see if they could help me with finding the key. I was told that I did not "purchase" the software on the laptop. If I wanted a recovery disk, I needed to pay $70 for a recovery disk for software that I have already paid for. This is criminal.

 

USAFRet

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There is almost certainly the option to create a Restore set of disks (for free) in whatever functionality Lenovo gives you.
What does it say in your user manual?
 
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