I have a desktop that was purchased with Vista pre-installed, but currently runs Windows 7. The Windows 7 install was a clean install that also removed any recovery partitions on the desktop. However, I would like to reinstall Vista on the desktop so that I may give away the computer (I want to keep the Windows 7 license that is currently on the machine), but I no longer have the Vista key that originally came with the desktop. How would I go about trying to recover the original product key?

  • The Vista license is on the OEM Sticker on the machine. You can use the Windows 7 license that was provided to you when you purchased the license and/or use any number of problems to extract it from the registry/ – Ramhound Jan 19 '16 at 13:42

If the desktop came with "reinstallation media" CD/DVDs, and if you still have those, the Vista key might be printed somewhere. (Or, for some brand names, the factory reinstall media could be BIOS-locked, and reinstall without even asking for a key, as long as it recognizes the OEM hardware/BIOS.)

Else, there might be a sticker on the PC with the key.

Else, you could try to contact the manufacturer, though realistically chances are slim that they'd help with a Vista recovery/reinstall nowadays.

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