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.

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.