Unreadable license key sticker Toshiba laptop with failed hard drive

I want to reinstall Windows 7 but don't know what to do about the unreadable key. Suggestions please. I can supply further info as necessary.
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Just use the recovery DVD's you either got with the laptop, or which you made just after you set it up for the first time, to restore it back to factory defaults, or restore later backups you made. You then don't need any key.

If you have lost your recovery media, then order a set from Toshiba. This usually doesn't cost much.
CEHJAuthor Commented:
Yes, this is a machine that doesn't belong to me. There are no recovery media that i'm aware of. Unless the key is in the bios, fresh media won't be able to read it from anywhere else.
Ask your client for the recovery media. If he doesn't have them, order them from Toshiba like I mentioned. Recovery media don't need keys, as they are already preactivated. Most manufacturers don't deliver recovery media with their PC's, but there is always a tool installed that allows you to create a set of recovery DVD's from the recovery partition. Most people though omit to create them. But Toshiba often did deliver recovery media with their PC's so chances are that the client still has those.

If your client doesn't have such media, and doesn't want to pay for ordering the media from Toshiba, Install Linux on it. I can recommend MakuluLinux. The XFCE versions work very well, and there is also a beta version of MakuluLinux Aero 10 which works very well and is almost ready (from what I heard the official release will be around the 12 of October). It looks almost the same as Windows 7, you can hardly tell the difference.


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CEHJAuthor Commented:
but there is always a tool installed that allows you to create a set of recovery DVD's from the recovery partition.

Let's, to keep things simple, imagine there's no hard drive in this machine anymore.

But yes, i'll ask if the owner has kept any recovery disks.

And yes, by far the cheapest recovery option would be to put in a new hard drive and install Linux. I'll see if the client will wear that
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
A Toshiba disk set for the matching version of the operating system will install and automatically activate without you needing to enter an activation key.  It doesn't need to have an embedded key in the BIOS the activation process is built into the DVD.
I know the disk is bad and it is too late now to create recovery DVD's now. But that's something that should be done as one of the first things when a new PC is bought. So maybe the client made those DVD's. Or as it's a Toshiba, chances are that he got the PC with recovery DVD's. Besides that, everyone should make backups, and most modern backup tools, including the one native to Windows 7, can create a full system backup as an image. So if you restore that image to the new disk you also have Windows back.
your disk drive has failed
ok . but there may be a chance to recover the key
can you tell me if the drive runs at power up - and shows in the bios?
if so, use my article and suggestions  here :
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Replacement Disk Sets can be ordered on line they're usually around £30 + shipping
Add new hard drive, switch BIOS to boot from DVD drive, insert disk, restart  - follow instructions on screen ...
CEHJAuthor Commented:
can you tell me if the drive runs at power up - and shows in the bios?
Yes. But it's good enough for me that ntfs-3g refused to mount the system partition even read-only from SystemRescueCD. I can get another disk for c 12GBP, so i'm not going to bust anything trying to mend it.
you wont bust anything
try hooking it to another pc - as 2nd drive
maybe you can even use recovery soft

>>  ntfs-3g refused to mount the system partition   <<  there's more than 1 way to skin a cat
CEHJAuthor Commented:
you wont bust anything
I was actually referring to parts of my anatomy ;)
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
another disk for c 12GBP
Damn - I'm going to have a word with Toshiba abut their last invoice! ;)
CEHJAuthor Commented:
Well it won't be

a. new
b. necessarily a Toshiba/Fujitsu HD

But it will have three months warranty. This box is not really investable
are you interested in recovering the key?
check if it shows in disk manager - when hooked to another system
CEHJAuthor Commented:
Yes, it might be useful. What i didn't see at your useful link (i might have missed it) is any sign of a free utility that could attempt a repair on the disk, which incidentally is a TOSHIBA MK5075GS
well we always can start from the beginning - right?
so - if you hook the drive to a working pc as second drive - does it show in windows - or disk manager ?
CEHJAuthor Commented:
I will try that later. Out of interest, why would that be better than looking at it from a ram disk?
well - not all processes work the same
as an example - many people attach drives to an usb to sata/ide kit -  but don't realise that the bridge does not translate any errors - it is simply not made for it - but they imagine it is the same as attiching to a sata/ide cable
you have to try several imo
as to why -  that can only be answered after you found what is exactly wrong with it

**i just don' like giving up easily, is another reason, and i found in several cases, after  trying multiple solutions  - eventually you find a working one
CEHJAuthor Commented:
many people attach drives to an usb to sata/ide kit

I'm having a limited success reading the disk after doing just that. I don't know if that's any use for getting the old product key though as i'm not sure it's in the registry.

Why people use OSs that make it difficult to reinstall after disk failure is quite beyond me
Why people use OSs that make it difficult to reinstall after disk failure is quite beyond me

People usually buy the OS that is already installed on the PC, and such reinstallation issues usually only show up until it is too late.

Besides that, Toshiba deliveres actual recovery media with many of their PC's, which many other manufacturers don't, and if a PC has a recovery partition but no extra recovery media, there is also a tool available which allows one to make a set of recovery media. There usually is even a nagging popup that appears on a new bought PC reminding the user to create that media. The problem is that often the user doesn't bother/doesn't realize what that means, doesn't have any empty DVD-R's at the moment and then forgets, and uses the option to disable the nagging popup.

In my opinion it should be the job of the sales personal to educate, provided the buyer gets his PC from an physical PC shop and doesn't order it online...

If the media is available it usually is no problem reinstalling the OS.
CEHJAuthor Commented:
It would be a nice dream to be provided at purchase time with a crapware-free reinstallation medium such as was the case in the old days.

I'll check with the owner if they have a recovery disk but ordering one from Toshiba costs 40GBP
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
With Toshiba OEM the Win 7 key you'll retrieve from the registry is a generic one and can't be used for activation so don't waste a lot of time hunting for it (It won't be the one on the worn CoA sticker either).  

For the last few years Toshiba have reduced shipping reinstallation DVDs and instead add a recovery  partition with a .WIM file and a software backup package which creates installation DVDs and of course no one uses because why would you need to, the recovery partition is always going to be there ...
CEHJAuthor Commented:
It won't be the one on the worn CoA sticker either).  

Yes, i was afraid of all that. I'll ask the owner if Toshiba were cheapskates on this occasion or not. I doubt if they've made their own recovery disks - non-power users seldom do.
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
CEHJAuthor Commented:
Sorry guys - for being slow on this
CEHJAuthor Commented:
Equal points split will be fine
>>  Equal points split will be fine   <<   ok, don't wait on the mod, but do it yourself !
pick accept multiple answers - and divide as you like
CEHJAuthor Commented:
Thanks folks - sorry for the wait
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