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Secondhand laptop, Windows license due to expire, confused

1648 Views 16 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  lochlomonder
I bought a secondhand laptop last month, with Windows 10 Pro installed. Today it started giving messages saying "Your Windows license will expire soon", which means in roughly two weeks, according to thewindowsclub. I have no documentation about the OS. On the box it says "Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit", so the OS has been upgraded, assuming I got the original box.

On the message I clicked "Go to Settings", then on the Activation page it has the sections "Update product key" and "Where's my product key". I haven't got any product keys. On this site, on https://forums.techguy.org/threads/i-dont-know-my-product-key.1194309/ , a moderator said:

"Windows 10 does not have a product key or CoA label
The PC and the Key is Authenticated and registered with Microsoft Servers when first activated

You can then re-install the OS windows 10 and it will activate via the MS Servers"

I'm confused.

I want to avoid reinstalling apps or repeating major Windows updates, if possible. I found a UK site selling "LICENSE FOR 1 COMPUTER" for Windows 10 Pro for £9.50. The business gets a good review on Amazon. Is that likely to be a solution, and legit? I can post links if asked, I'm just not doing it now in case it looks like promotion and breaks this site's terms and conditions.

I would greatly appreciate advice, but I'm not good at tech stuff and I might not act on suggestions that seem too complicated, though other readers might find them useful.
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What's possibly happened here is the previous owner did something similar to what you're proposing here:
I found a UK site selling "LICENSE FOR 1 COMPUTER" for Windows 10 Pro for £9.50. The business gets a good review on Amazon. Is that likely to be a solution, and legit?
There's no way a legitimate Win 10 Pro license will be on sale for £9.50. It's likely been used already and, like the situation you're in right now, it'll fail activation. The only way to avoid having to do a re-installation of apps and updates would be to purchase a legitimate Windows 10 Pro digital license, and then enter the key on your machine. However, as you can see from this example, this may be cost-prohibitive; it really depends on which route you want to take.
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Can you take a picture of the screen that says "Your Windows license will expire soon", because a windows license doesn't ever "expire".
I bought a secondhand laptop last month
If from a reputable retailer then they may fix the problem or at least give you some money back since you thought you were purchasing a legitimate operating system along with the hardware.
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Can you take a picture of the screen that says "Your Windows license will expire soon", because a windows license doesn't ever "expire".
I'll take a screenshot next time it comes up, though I've already posted what it said - "Your Windows license will expire soon". Am I right in thinking that a windows Retail license will never expire, but a Volume license could expire? It looks like my laptop has a Volume license. I typed this into the Run box:

slmgr.vbs /dlv

and got:

"Windows Script Host
...
Description: Windows(R) Operating System, VOLUME_KMSCLIENT channel"

The web page on https://www.thewindowsclub.com/view-licensing-status-activation-id-windows-slmgr gives "RETAIL channel" where my laptop gives "VOLUME_KMSCLIENT channel".
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If from a reputable retailer then they may fix the problem or at least give you some money back since you thought you were purchasing a legitimate operating system along with the hardware.
I bought it from Cash Converters. Maybe they'll do an exchange.
What's possibly happened here is the previous owner did something similar to what you're proposing here:

There's no way a legitimate Win 10 Pro license will be on sale for £9.50. It's likely been used already and, like the situation you're in right now, it'll fail activation. The only way to avoid having to do a re-installation of apps and updates would be to purchase a legitimate Windows 10 Pro digital license, and then enter the key on your machine. However, as you can see from this example, this may be cost-prohibitive; it really depends on which route you want to take.
Thanks for the info. The price in your example is £219.99, which for me is cost-prohibitive (the laptop cost £150).
Can you take a picture of the screen that says "Your Windows license will expire soon", because a windows license doesn't ever "expire".
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Hi, you have answered your own question, take it back to cash converters. You should not be using a KMS licence (Key management service) it activates every 180 days, in your case no legitimate server can be found, so it will fail.

If it was sold this way, it becomes the sellers responsibility, take it back.
Hi, you have answered your own question, take it back to cash converters. You should not be using a KMS licence (Key management service) it activates every 180 days, in your case no legitimate server can be found, so it will fail.

If it was sold this way, it becomes the sellers responsibility, take it back.
I took the laptop back to Cash Converters yesterday and I'm waiting for them to fix the problem. I asked the shop's tech guy if the OS will get a genuine retail license, and explained that licenses could be retail, OEM or volume. I didn't get a direct answer, but was assured that when I get the laptop back, if there's a problem with the license I'll be given a replacement laptop.

He started by asking if the laptop had been connected to WiFi. It hadn't, it was connected to the Internet via a cable (to a household network, I suppose it's a LAN but I just know I plug it in and get connected). The CC tech guy said the laptop needed to be connected by WiFi to check the license. He dropped that line of argument when I said the license was a KMS volume license, a KMS license needed to be renewed from a server every 180 days, the average customer would not have access to such a server, and the license was not suitable for such customers (thanks jenae!).

He said he could fix it without deleting data, but I opted to have everything deleted, because I've got backups of the data I need, and he indicated it was better. I think I'm getting a clean install of the OS, and the tech guy said something like, trying to work round the user's data could cause problems, but my memory isn't clear on the point.
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If you get a legit Windows you will also get the Windows Product Key (maybe on a sticker on the PC) and a way to reinstall it yourself.
The CC tech guy said the laptop needed to be connected by WiFi to check the license.
This stands out to me as a steaming pile of you-know-what. If it's connected via Ethernet and he's saying no, it needs to be wifi for the license check? Sure, I understand the issue about the KMS license check-up, but the tech guy is flat-out wrong about wifi vs. Ethernet.
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I got excellent customer service from Cash Converters yesterday. The tech guy said on the phone that he couldn't update the OS, even after replacing the hard drive, so I could come in and get a replacement, up to the value of £200. That's good as I'd paid £150 for the laptop. I walked out with a Sony VAIO that was on sale for a few pennies short of £200. The spec is actually slightly lower than my original purchase, but it works well enough. I've got two old VIAOs, and while they suffered from bloatware, the hardware has been reliable, except for a DVD drive that stopped working after several years. I'm happy with the result.
This stands out to me as a steaming pile of you-know-what. If it's connected via Ethernet and he's saying no, it needs to be wifi for the license check? Sure, I understand the issue about the KMS license check-up, but the tech guy is flat-out wrong about wifi vs. Ethernet.
I thought it sounded dubious, thanks for the confirmation. This is just speculation, but I'm guessing that Cash Converters mostly need someone who can fix hardware. Any problem with the OS is sorted out by plugging in a USB stick. Any other software problem is the users responsibility. If so, the tech guy at my local CC could do a great job nearly all the time, with occasional BS in unusual cases. At least he dropped the line of argument when I repeated what Jenae said about a KMS license. Anyway, I'm now quite happy with the deal I just posted about.
BTW in Cash Converters I checked the replacement laptop's license and it came up "RETAIL". (Using "slmgr.vbs /dlv" as described above, or something similar that worked after a command prompt.)
Thanks to everyone who replied. lochlomonder, without your info I would probably have bought the £9.50 license, and not got the replacement I needed. Jenae, taking it back to Cash Converters got a solution. I expect it helped that I went to CC better informed, thanks to replies here.
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