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Windows 7 Product Activation

This document pertains to HP and Compaq notebook PCs with Windows 7.
To help prevent software piracy, Microsoft requires that Windows 7 is activated before it can be used as full-version software. Most HP notebooks with Windows 7 installed are pre-activated to make it easier for you to set up your notebook. However, if you decide to install a different version of Windows 7 (such as an upgrade to the Enterprise version) or a store-bought copy of Windows 7, you will need to activate it. There may also be situations when Windows prompts you for product activation even though the product has already been activated.
Types of Windows 7 activation
There are two methods for activating Windows 7: Windows Product Activation and System Locked Pre-installation.
  • Windows Product Activation (WPA) sends an installation ID number to Microsoft before Windows is verified and then activated. WPA involves two numbers. One is an Installation ID (generated by entering a Windows 7 product key) that the notebook owner submits to Microsoft, either over the Internet or by phone. The second is a Confirmation ID, assigned by Microsoft, which is used to activate the operating system’s software. This method is used when upgrading or installing Windows 7 from disc (not HP System Recovery).
  • System Locked Pre-Installation (SLP) takes place at the factory. No intervention is required to activate the operating system software before initial use. With SLP-activated systems, most of the computer's hardware can be replaced without needing to re-activate the software through Microsoft.
Windows 7 anti-piracy warning
The Windows 7 anti-piracy warning appears periodically if your copy of Windows has not been activated. If you activate Windows 7, the reminder stops appearing.
Figure : Windows 7 anti-piracy warning example
Windows 7 anti-piracy warning example
If you have upgraded your computer to Windows 7 from an earlier version of Windows, or you have installed a new copy of Windows 7 on your notebook, this message is normal until you activate the product.
If you are getting the anti-piracy message and your notebook came with Windows 7 pre-installed, then Windows 7 may need to be activated again, or the system needs to be recovered using HP System Recovery, which restores the operating system to its original factory condition.
Reasons why Windows 7 may need to be activated again
If your notebook came with Windows 7 pre-installed, the following conditions may cause Windows to require activation through Microsoft:
  • Upgrading Windows.
  • Completing an HP System Recovery after recovering from HP Recovery Discs.
  • Installing certain device drivers and software.
  • Uninstalling certain operating system software or files.
  • Updating the BIOS or installing a new BIOS flash from a company other than HP.
  • Replacing the motherboard with one that does not contain the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) version of the BIOS.
Windows Activation terms
The following list explains the terms that are used during the activation process:
  • Windows Product Activation (WPA) - Requires a person to unlock the computer before Windows can be used.
  • System Locked Pre-installation (SLP) - No personal intervention is normally required to activate Windows.
  • End-User License Agreement (EULA) - The agreement that consumers of Windows must accept in order to use the Windows product.
  • Certificate of Authenticity (COA) - A proof of ownership identification method to help prove that a product is not counterfeit or copied. It could be in the form of a label that contains a bar code and product identification number.
  • Installation Identification Number - Generated based on the Certificate of Authenticity key entered during Windows setup.
  • Confirmation Identification Number - Number that allows you to complete the activation process.
Activate Windows 7 over the Internet
The quickest, and easiest, way to activate your copy of Windows 7 is to do it over the Internet. If you do not have an Internet connection, or if it is inconvenient to make a network connection, see Other ways to activate Windows 7.
To activate Windows 7 over the Internet:
  1. Connect to the Internet.
  2. Click Start , type system into the search field, and then select the System Control Panel application from the search results list.
    Figure : System
    System window
  3. In the System window, scroll down to Windows activation, then click Change product key.
    Figure : Change product key
    Change product key
  4. In the Windows Activation window, select Activate Windows online now.
    Figure : Activate Windows online now
    Activate Windows online now
  5. Type the product key into the Product Key field, click Next, and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete activation.
    Figure : Type your product key
    Type your product key
    The product key is located on the Certificate of Authenticity label, affixed to the notebook (usually on the bottom) or the Windows 7 disc packaging.
    Figure : Product Key on Certificate of Authenticity label
    Product Key on Certificate of Authenticity label
    If you have the Windows 7 disc packaging, see Applying the Windows 7 Upgrade Certificate of Authenticity Label to Your Computer for easy reference in the future.
  6. If product activation was successful, a success screen is shown and Windows 7 setup continues. You are done.
    Figure : Windows Activation was successful
    Windows Activation was successful
Once you have successfully activated Windows 7, the System application in the Control Panel indicates Windows is activated.
For more detailed information about Windows 7 activation, refer to the Microsoft TechNet article Windows Activation Technologies in Windows 7 (in English).
Other ways to activate Windows 7
Other ways that you can activate Windows 7 are explained below.
See also
Microsoft Product Activation Web site (in English)

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