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What to do if Your Windows 10 OEM Product Key Sticker is Damaged?
andre posted a blog entry in Windows 10 MVP Insider BlogA number of users have been reporting issues recently removing the protective seal on Windows 10 OEM System Builder product key stickers. Unlike retail Windows 10 licenses, which come on a business size card in the box; the OEM Windows 10 System Builder product key is located on the certificate of authenticity sticker on the outside or inside of the package. To prevent theft, a protective seal covers the product key. Similar to a pay as you go phone card, users can utilize a sharp instrument such as a knife, scissor or even a coin to remove protective seal. See below: Credit: Microsoft Sometimes, if too much pressure is applied or liquid comes in contact with the sticker, this can damage the product key characters. When this happens, your best course of action is to return it to the reseller for a replacement or refund; since it might be a defective product. Contacting Microsoft might be an option, although the software firm has no responsibility for damaged product keys; since production is handled by a third party source. If vendor is able to provide a replacement, ask them to remove the protective seal for you, so you are not liable for damage if it happens again. If you are unable to get any assistance from the vendor, contact Microsoft support and they might be able to replace it for you. http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support#tab0 What if Microsoft can't help either? Your options are limited, you might have to cut your losses, or try salvaging the key yourself. The first option you can try using is a magnifying glass to enlarge the characters. If you don't have a magnifying glass, you can use digital camera or your smart phone to take a picture then blow it up on your computer. Below is a list of characters used and not used in Microsoft product keys: Characters and numbers used: 2346789BCDFGHJKMPQRTVWXY Characters and numbers not used: 015AEILNOSUZ Sometimes a 6 could be easily mistaken for a G or a B for an 8, so look carefully. If the product key sticker is smudged, you could try using a damp Q-Tip to gently scrub the smudge covering the letters.
Update: Lenovo, Acer and Samsung List Systems Compatible with the Windows 10 Creators Update OEM vendors such as Dell, HP and Toshiba have published list of systems compatible with the latest revision of Windows 10 called the Creators Update, version 1703. As with every new version of Windows 10 coming to market, some models are likely to no longer be supported by the manufacturer. This can be due to a number of reasons, including end of life, incompatible components or warranty obligations have been exhausted. Even if this is the case, it doesn't necessarily mean you can't install the Windows 10 Creators Update. In fact, users have been able to upgrade or perform a clean install without issue on systems no longer supported by the manufacturer. What I have witnessed in support forums where users experience problems upgrading, the upgrade routine doesn't work at all, but a clean install works just fine. That said, instead of burning your bridges, users should ensure they create a backup of their current installation before attempting to install Windows 10 1703. Below are links to systems supported by each vendor: Dell Inc Hewlett Packard (HP)/Compaq Toshiba Other manufacturers such as Lenovo haven't posted any updates yet, but a search revealed information regarding required updates to chipset driver software in order to use the Windows 10 Creators Update. Users should check the manufacturers website for their particular model periodically to find out about support. As with previous releases, Microsoft will use a staggered approach to rollout the Windows 10 Creators Update over time. Don't be surprised if it takes a few months for the update to show up in Windows Update on your system. High priority systems include those supporting hero features in Windows 10 such as Hello biometric recognition, UEFI firmware and TPM 1.2. Remember to check out the following guide for a list of things you should do before upgrading: 12 Things You Should Do Before Installing Windows 10 Creators Update (Version 1703) Microsoft will be giving earl adopters access to the Windows 10 Creators Update today; here is how you can get it now: Windows 10 Creators Update Version 1703 ISO Files Now Available for Download