10-24-2018 06:36 AM
I would like to ask for a help for what regards recovering the activation key for the preinstalled Windows 7. My laptop is ThinkPad E540 and recently I had problems in accessing Windows in it so I formatted it and therefore I am not able to reactivate Windows 7. Is there a way for retrieving it through the serial number ?. Thank you very much.
10-24-2018 07:26 AM
Welcome to the Lenovo Community !
If Windows 7 came pre-installed then there should be a Certificate of Authenticity sticker on the bottom of the laptop which will have your activation license key printed on it. If it is not on the bottom of the machine then remove the battery and check the battery compartment. Otherwise retrieving the license key using the serial number is not an option.
10-24-2018 03:37 PM - edited 10-24-2018 03:46 PM
The way I read the E540 base spec, the only Win 7 preloads were via downgrade rights from 8.x. In that case there won't be a Win 7 CoA sticker (IIRC...)
You can install 8.1 and it will (I think...) activate automatically. If you want to activate '7 via your downgrade rights, it's possible but requires MS's bizarre procedure:
Try to activate with a key that's already in use on some other machine. That will fail. It has to be a real Pro key to get you far enough into the process to be offered phone activation. It has to be alreay in use to avoid having it be "consumed" by this activation.
They've edited those instructions to make it even less clear how to do it
[edit to add] The couple of times I've done a downgrade activation to 7 Proon newer ThinkPads I just used the OEM key on the sticker on my T420. Activated straight away with no complaints - so it was easier than described. Don't know if that was because it was a Lenovo OEM key or ??? If you have access to such, give that a try.
Another option is to order '7 media from support. It should activate automatically. They will charge for it.
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11-04-2018 01:30 PM
Another option is to just buy a key from eBay. A quick search in the UK saw the cheapest Windows Pro key being sold for £3.88 or best offer.
If you are under warranty, you can also ask Lenovo to help as they can remote in and check your licence details as well as activate it (I've done this before on an X series ThinkPad).