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Ian
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Problem re Windows 8.1 activation

I am trying to update an older but decent Toshiba laptop for daughter to get started on a Diploma course required by her new job.  I have been on this problem for 3 days now and spent about 12 or so hours trying numerous solutions.  The situation is now more urgent.

In summary, Toshiba Portege Z930 i5 10 Gb ram, 120Gb SSD circa 2013.  I acquired the PC as part of a redundancy package running W8.1 at the time which I subsequently upgraded to 8.1 Enterprise then to W10 over 2016 using a MSDN subscription which I purchased. All running well for about 2 yrs including Windows Updates until I retired it.

I started to apply Windows updates - 2 rounds but I could get no further than 1803. Then suddenly Windows crashed deleting boot sectors and C: contents!!

I tried installing 21H1 from bootable USB but could not get past the first reboot when the install process just restarted without reason - 3 attempts.  The same thing happened with the 8.1 Ent from the archives.  I would really like to understand what causes this behaviour.

I then attempted to install from 8.1 "full" and 8.0 Pro  CD's from a second computer which was scrapped prior.  Another problem - now I could not install due to a "missing" media driver. 

Some research led me to WinSetupFromUSB 1.9 which enabled me to create bootable USB with archived W8.1 Ent ISO which enabled me to install it.  I have no idea why this product would work (with something like but not PLOP) as opposed to the ones created with Rufus.  Again, I would like to understand the difference

However, I cannot activate it but I need an activated licence to subsequently install W10.  Thought I made a breakthrough last night by using slmgr.vbs /ipk <key sourced from ProduKey.exe> because it removed the Activation Warning.  This morning, I tried installing 21H1 again but it failed saying my PC did not have an activated key.  Looking at the desktop shows the Activation Warning again.

So now what?? 

Windows 8Windows OS* Activation 8.1PCInstallation

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nobus

8/22/2022 - Mon
CompProbSolv

If I understand correctly, you have Windows 8.1 installed but it won't activate.  There were prior installation issues, but not worth dealing with now.

Are you sure you're using the Enterprise license key from your MSDN subscription?  Have you confirmed with winver that the installed version of Windows 8.1 really is Enterprise?

There have been some compatibility issues where older version of Windows 10 will work on a system but newer versions will not.  That may be the issue here with Windows 10 on this computer.


Ian

ASKER
Thanks for the quick response.

Yes - winver confirms Enterprise

Not sure about the key as I am stilling searching for my MSDN keys.  My subscription ran out 3 years ago and I have not used since.  I am sure they are in one of my archive sources though.  The key I am using was found from using ProduKey - ProduKey.txt .  I also used License Crawler - License Crawler.txt but gave the same data.  In both cases I am using the one for Win 8.1 Ent.  I am assuming the original key is the OEM key delivered with the PC but it didn't work either.

I'll stay hopeful that the PC is still upgradeable to something newer than 1803.

CompProbSolv

"My subscription ran out 3 years ago ": that likely means that your key is no longer valid.  That might prevent activation, but I don't know how well MS enforces this.

"The key I am using was found from using ProduKey ": That might not be finding the correct key.

"I am assuming the original key is the OEM key delivered with the PC ": very unlikely that the PC came with Enterprise, unless you have reason to believe otherwise.

I suspect that the activation problem is that you're not using the correct key.
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rwheeler23
Ian

ASKER
As I noted above, the machine was originally 8.0 which I updated to 8.1 Ent with MSDN.  Contrary to my original statement, I realise I would have taken advantage of the free upgrade since I would not need to used up a MSDN key.

Any thoughts beyond me finding the archived MSDN keys?

  
Sam Jacobs

After
slmgr.vbs /ipk <key>

Open in new window

Try adding the following command:
slmgr.vbs /ATO

Open in new window

CompProbSolv

If your computer will presently get to the internet, it would be wise to go to Toshiba's web site and download the most recent Windows 8/8.1 drivers.  The most important ones are the chipset and the network (wireless or wired, whichever you are using) drivers.  Save them to a USB stick.

If you can't get there with this computer, download them to the USB stick on a different computer.

You should be able to download a Windows 8 or 8.1 installer of the right version (likely Home or Pro), set it up on a USB stick (I use Rufus), and install it. Then install the chipset and network drivers that you downloaded.  Confirm that you can access the internet.

If the Windows version you just installed is the same as the computer was originally licensed, MS should recognize that and authorize it.

Installing from CD/DVDs can be much more problematic than from a USB stick.  They're not nearly as reliable and it may not be clear that there is a read error from the optical disk.

Lastly, if you're using the same drive that has been in there for a while, I'd consider starting with a new SSD.  They're much faster and there is a chance that your existing drive has read/write issues.





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arnold

The short answer, ypur subscription rights having expired means you can not use the ENT versions.

Don't know whether you still need the data on the drive..

One option is download the Windows 8.1 and do a clean install.

This will activate based on your win8 bios key from toshiba.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows8ISO
nobus

i would make a bootable usb and install windows10 from it directly - it should activate automatic, since MS keeps the key
Download Windows 10 (microsoft.com) 
Ian

ASKER
Thanks all for your input.
1. Sam Jacobs - error msg returned DNS Name does not exist
2. CompProbSolv - will try Arnold's suggestion first

>>>>  4 hour break for meetings and dinner - back 2030 local.

3. Back to my problem with being unable to boot from a USB prepared under Rufus.  Boot is throwing a message saying must insert a system disk.  I must be doing something wrong.  I'll go back to WinSetupFromUSB with its funky bootloader and see if that makes a difference.
>>>>  Now 2115 so I'll give it a couple of hours before hitting the sack.  I'll try to send an update tonight

All - I am quite blown away by the expertise and persistence of your help.  Thankyou very much - I now have high hopes that we'll get it wrapped in the next day.     
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William Peck
Ian

ASKER
Sorry Nobus - I missed your contribution.  That was the first thing I attempted before realising that the W10 digital key had gone missing.  I seem to have the original OEM key and a registry key for 8.1 neither of which are being recognised.  I am trying to re-install W8.1 to take advantage of the OEM key as proposed by Arnold.  I'll keep you in the loop while you are interested to contribute.
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Ian

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Nobus,
I'm sure I tried this at some stage but I see your point.  I'll give it another go and let you all know.   Thanks. 
Ian

ASKER
Sorry Nobus.  I was asked for the product key and it errored with ".... could not verify the product key" with both the OEM and Registry keys.

Arnold - success.  I created a Win 8.1 Pro MBR USB with legacy BIOS options using Rufus - I had not realised that the laptop HDD was in MBR mode.  Install was clean and software has activated.  Capture.PNG.  However, I understood that there should be 1 or 2 MS logos on the RHS of the screen to say "truly" activated to distinguish activation using "grey" keys.  Can anyone confirm?

Remembering this "project's" original objective, it's time to make it back into a Win 10 PC.  I'm still a little concerned about CompProbSolv's early comment re "There have been some compatibility issues where older version of Windows 10 will work on a system but newer versions will not.".  SO I'll skip restoring to W10 1803 state when things went originally haywire and I'll attempt to go straight to 21H1.  

What the hell, I'm on a roll :-), I'll try now and if it does not work, I'll sort it out in the morning.
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Ian

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Arnold et al,
Sadly, sadly the 21H1 USB install is requesting my product key so clearly it does not like whatever keys the 8.1 version was storing.
My daughter is used to the W10 environment from when she was still living at home because she was mostly using her mum's PC.  So I'll press on to deliver a W10 laptop.  So my plan of attack is now

  1. get some sleep
  2. revert to 8.1
  3. pray I can find my MSDN keys in archive 
  4. try to install 1803 as that was where I was at (but I'm not hopeful)
  5. price a decent 2nd hand (but newer) laptop on eBay / a new w10 license

I'm a competitive soul at heart and hate being beaten - I don't know about you guys though so if you have any other thoughts on what I could try, please do hesitate to share - they would be appreciated.  This has been a great learning experience.
What really beats me is how the W10 1803 crash could take out my whole C: drive and bootloader (power surge ??).    With what I now know about keys, I'm assuming the OEM remains safe in BIOS and the W10 digital license was in the Registry which got wiped with the C drive.  If that is the case, I now realise that I'll need to setup Macrium once I get a stable environment.
Thanks again. 
arnold

That is normal with windows 10. you can either provide the product key if you have one that is not an ENT or Subscription based, or skip and proceed without providing the product key.
When it completes it will check with MS licensing servers to see whether your system has an electronic license allocated on their servers. if it does, it will activate and you are set. if it does not ...
roll back to windows 8.1

I am certain the menu of start would not be an impediment to the use of the system. Consider using it with windows 8.1 if the upgrade does not complete/activate you could purchase the win10 upgrade .....

I think you might be pleasantly surprised
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nobus

tx for the feedback !
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