Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Key?

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Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Key?

Postby iamfilipe on Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:53 pm

Hello everyone. First of all, I want to pay apologise for any mistake in this text, once english is not my native language. After that said, I want to say that I am very happy to join Linux Mint forums and contribute to help this amazing project :D

I've used Linux Mint Mate, Cinnamon, LMDE and KDE, and honestly I like them all :D but recently I bought a new Samsung laptop that comes with a preinstalled Windows 8, and although I like very much Linux, I think that I might need some software that for now only Windows has. So, I tried VirtualBox, and installing the Linux Mint on a USB 3.0 device, but it isn't the same thing as having it installed on the internal Hard Drive. So I was wondering if I could install Linux Mint alongside Windows (or in replace of Windows, haven't decided yet), and in case of anything goes wrong, I can switch back to my licenced Windows 8 desktop? Will I lose the license key, since it is no more writen in the sticker and I have no Windows DVD? In any case, I will do a backup .iso in Recovery software, and maybe in Clonezilla too, but is this enough? Because I don't want to lose the license, since it cost me money :c I searched in Google and Mint forums, but I wan't clarified enough to make this step :c hope someone can help me though. Anyway, thanks in advance

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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby administrollaattori on Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:45 am

Why Mint would affect to Windows key? I have installed some linuxes and keys are still alive .. :lol:
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby JosephM on Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:26 am

I had the same situation with my own new laptop. I just created recovery discs from within the windows install. When I needed to re-install windows I just did so from the recovery discs. Then you don't need to have the windows key. It was activated automatically as part of the re-install.
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby Habitual on Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:28 am

This Product key recovery question (microsoft-hosted article) says http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html will work.

Once you have Virtualbox installed and are concerned about saving that application.
VirtualBox 4: Importing and Exporting Virtual Machines walks you through saving it to an .ova file.
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby iamfilipe on Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:06 pm

administrollaattori wrote:Why Mint would affect to Windows key? I have installed some linuxes and keys are still alive .. :lol:


It is not about Mint itself, but if by some reason I need to format my Hard Drive and, therefore, install Windows again, I want to make sure I can do it without any problem :)


JosephM wrote:I had the same situation with my own new laptop. I just created recovery discs from within the windows install. When I needed to re-install windows I just did so from the recovery discs. Then you don't need to have the windows key. It was activated automatically as part of the re-install.


So if I just use recovery to create the recovery disk (it must be on a usb hard drive or it can be in a DVD?) then I can safely reinstall Windows using that image without having to put the key or any other certification? :D well, that is just what I wanted, I'll do that as soon as possible and report back the progress.
Just one thing, my PC comes with UEFI and secure boot, is Mint KDE good to install there or Mate/Cinnamon are better, because it seemed to me that these last two are the only ones that support UEFI? :/
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby AlbertP on Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:17 pm

You should never need to format your whole harddrive. If you ever want to reinstall Mint, you can use the same Mint partitions and format them again, no need to format Windows too.

For Windows 8 computers, you can just disable Secure Boot in your BIOS and Linux should work. But to have a dual-boot, please ensure Mint boots in UEFI mode, and not in legacy mode. You can select this in the computer's boot menu after disabling Secure Boot.
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby iamfilipe on Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:32 pm

AlbertP wrote:You should never need to format your whole harddrive. If you ever want to reinstall Mint, you can use the same Mint partitions and format them again, no need to format Windows too.


Once happened to me that Windows boot got corrupted and I have to re-install it. Fortunately, it was on a Windows 7 computer and I had the stick with the key attached :D I see your point, but if I then want to eliminate the Linux partition and use the entire disk for Windows, can I do it without formating? Because I think that was what happened to me the last time :/


AlbertP wrote:For Windows 8 computers, you can just disable Secure Boot in your BIOS and Linux should work. But to have a dual-boot, please ensure Mint boots in UEFI mode, and not in legacy mode. You can select this in the computer's boot menu after disabling Secure Boot.


And Linux Mint KDE will boot with UEFI turned on? :s I thought it didn't support UEFI :s
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby AlbertP on Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:48 pm

iamfilipe wrote:Once happened to me that Windows boot got corrupted and I have to re-install it. Fortunately, it was on a Windows 7 computer and I had the stick with the key attached :D

What key would you need to restore the boot sector of Windows? You shouldn't need to reinstall just to repair a boot sector. And the product key should be on a sticker on your computer.

iamfilipe wrote:And Linux Mint KDE will boot with UEFI turned on? :s I thought it didn't support UEFI :s

Booting with UEFI can be done with any modern Linux distro. This is in no way related to the desktop environment used. E.g. Mint 15 KDE works the same as any other Mint 15 (such as Cinnamon), in this regard.
What you might need to disable, is Secure Boot.
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby JosephM on Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:39 pm

iamfilipe wrote:So if I just use recovery to create the recovery disk (it must be on a usb hard drive or it can be in a DVD?) then I can safely reinstall Windows using that image without having to put the key or any other certification? :/


I did mine to DVD. Your machine should have an application to create the recovery discs. Mine actually took 7 of them. They restore your computer back to the exact same condition it was in when you purchased it new.

AlbertP wrote:And the product key should be on a sticker on your computer.


Actually that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. I bought a new HP laptop a few months back and it doesn't have the sticker with the Windows key either. The first thing I did when I brought it home was to create recovery discs and wipe Windows so I could install Linux. I just restored Windows from the discs a couple of days ago and when it was finished Windows was already properly activated.
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Postby Dngrsone on Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:47 pm

Mint can be installed alongside Windows, if you would like to have both operating systems available; you just need to shrink the Windows volume and create a couple partitions for Mint.

Mint will also work with secure boot enabled if you use a tool such as rEFInd, but there is some work involved...

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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby AlbertP on Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:53 pm

JosephM wrote:Actually that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. I bought a new HP laptop a few months back and it doesn't have the sticker with the Windows key either. The first thing I did when I brought it home was to create recovery discs and wipe Windows so I could install Linux. I just restored Windows from the discs a couple of days ago and when it was finished Windows was already properly activated.

Those computers have the activation information written into their BIOS (I just read a few days ago that such a thing is possible). Any computer that doesn't do it that way, must have a sticker. It may be hidden under some kind of cover on the laptop's downside or under the battery. I also read about laptops that have the sticker on the charger.
Either way it should still be possible to get Windows working, in case it ever needs to be reinstalled.
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby JosephM on Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:08 pm

I did not know that. Thank you for the info. I actually really don't use Windows anymore. I only re-installed it on the laptop because my daughters old desktop machine crapped out so I was passing the laptop over to her. She needs the use of MS Office for school work and she is much more comfortable with Windows.
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby iamfilipe on Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:42 pm

AlbertP wrote:Those computers have the activation information written into their BIOS (I just read a few days ago that such a thing is possible). Any computer that doesn't do it that way, must have a sticker. It may be hidden under some kind of cover on the laptop's downside or under the battery. I also read about laptops that have the sticker on the charger.
Either way it should still be possible to get Windows working, in case it ever needs to be reinstalled.

Well, I read something about that some time ago, but I also saw some people saying that the key was hidden in the same partition as the Windows boot manager, witch is in an ocult partition, but formatting or so will make the key disapear... Don't know, but I gess I will go through the recovery process, it seems more legit and safe :D but thanks to all for your answers, they were really helpfull and I'm more confiant to install Linux in dual boot :D
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby Mark Phelps on Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:10 pm

Win8 changed the game several ways from Win7, two of which seriously affect reinstallation and dual-booting.

First, with Win8 PCs, the COA no longer includes the printed key; instead, that is written into the BIOS on the machine's motherboard. Unlike with Win7, in Win8, each OEM key is unique to the PC; no generic OEM key is used. When you go to reinstall, using the same OEM version of Win8, it is automatically activate using the key in the BIOS.

Second, unlike with Win7, in Win8, when you shut it down, it AUTOMATICALLY goes into hibernation, and in this case, the partitions remain MOUNTED -- which prevents access to them from Linux in any way. So, if you want to share an NTFS partition between Win8 and Linux, you have to disable fast startup and hibernation in Win8 -- which will then force it to take a lot longer to reboot into Win8.

On the other hand, something that has not changed since Win7 is partition management for dual booting. Do NOT, repeat NOT, use the Linux installer slider to adjust the size of the Win8 OS partition. Doing this risks seriously corrupting the filesystem and rendering Win8 unbootable. Instead, use the MS Disk Management tool to do any shrinkage.
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Re: Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 Licens

Postby Dngrsone on Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:20 pm

Mark Phelps wrote:Win8 changed the game several ways from Win7, two of which seriously affect reinstallation and dual-booting.

First, with Win8 PCs, the COA no longer includes the printed key; instead, that is written into the BIOS on the machine's motherboard. Unlike with Win7, in Win8, each OEM key is unique to the PC; no generic OEM key is used. When you go to reinstall, using the same OEM version of Win8, it is automatically activate using the key in the BIOS.

Second, unlike with Win7, in Win8, when you shut it down, it AUTOMATICALLY goes into hibernation, and in this case, the partitions remain MOUNTED -- which prevents access to them from Linux in any way. So, if you want to share an NTFS partition between Win8 and Linux, you have to disable fast startup and hibernation in Win8 -- which will then force it to take a lot longer to reboot into Win8.

On the other hand, something that has not changed since Win7 is partition management for dual booting. Do NOT, repeat NOT, use the Linux installer slider to adjust the size of the Win8 OS partition. Doing this risks seriously corrupting the filesystem and rendering Win8 unbootable. Instead, use the MS Disk Management tool to do any shrinkage.


So, if one changes a motherboard, then they are SOL as far as Win 8 goes?

I defragmented the drive, then used Shrink Volume, but Win will only let you shrink your drive to half its capacity. Off you don't want Win 8 to own 500GB of your terabyte drive, then you are going to have to adjust the position some more from gparted or whatever.

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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby Mark Phelps on Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:07 am

So, if one changes a motherboard, then they are SOL as far as Win 8 goes?


If that is on a PC that came preinstalled with Win8 -- then yes.

OEMs used to use generic keys for activating the machines that came preinstalled with Win7. You could then replace the motherboard, and if you could obtain the info on that key, reuse it to reactivate with the new motherboard. With Win8, each key is unique -- and is licensed to that motherboard. Presuming you buy a different motherboard, it will not have a Windows 8 key in the BIOS and you will not be able to activate Win8 on that board unless you buy a retail version and use that.
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby Reorx on Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:53 pm

Mark Phelps wrote:
So, if one changes a motherboard, then they are SOL as far as Win 8 goes?


If that is on a PC that came preinstalled with Win8 -- then yes.

OEMs used to use generic keys for activating the machines that came preinstalled with Win7. You could then replace the motherboard, and if you could obtain the info on that key, reuse it to reactivate with the new motherboard. With Win8, each key is unique -- and is licensed to that motherboard. Presuming you buy a different motherboard, it will not have a Windows 8 key in the BIOS and you will not be able to activate Win8 on that board unless you buy a retail version and use that.
Mark;

I have been recently finding out some rather annoying features of Win8... and what you have written is in keeping with what I have heard from other sources... But I have to think that if you are running Win8 and you have a mobo meltdown and are forced to replace the mobo, that there must be some sort of work around... you might have to contact MS directly for assistance but as I said i want to believe that there is a way to change mobo without buying another Win8 License... There must be someone here who is a PC repair tech that has a definitive answer to this... (again, I want to believe...) :mrgreen: With a little luck, they'll chime in...

...maybe the answer is that, in addition to moving the CPU/fan assembly to the new mobo, you also have to move the BIOS chip! Of course, you would then be locked in to only using a mobo from the original manufacturer... those devious little rascals...
Procrastinate now!
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby Dngrsone on Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:25 pm

Unfortunately, since the advent of Flash-programmable EEPROMs, motherboard ROMs are no longer removable, so that idea is a wash.

There is probably a way to dig the code out of the firmware, but I am thinking there is probably some kind of link between the key and the motherboard serial number preventing one from just flashing the pertinent data from one board to another will not work.

All the more reason to dump Microsoft completely and go LInux or BSD.
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby Reorx on Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:09 pm

Dngrsone wrote:... All the more reason to dump Microsoft completely and go LInux or BSD.
Yeah boy howdy!... met a linux guy at a local office supply store that also sells computers... Wanted to show him a copy of mint that I have installed on a USB stick... had to do a fair amount of work just to boot the stick on a win 8 machine... in the process he gave me a walk through of Win8... OMG what an abomination!

Of additional interest - I asked my contact "why are we fiddling with Win8 machines? - let's just get a win 7 machine..." He replied that there weren't any in the entire store! This is how MS is jamming this POS OS down the throat of the public - by yanking Win7 from the shelves of retail stores. Walk in customers are given the choices you can buy Win 8 or Win 8!!! You can still get Win 7 machines online but I don't know for how much longer! <For the record, I haven't ckecked the availability of Win7 machines at other retail stores.>
Procrastinate now!
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Re: Installing Linux Mint will break my Windows 8 License Ke

Postby AlbertP on Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:30 pm

Microsoft indeed does not allow the computer manufacturers to sell Win7 computers, a year after Win8's introduction. And that date is nearing.
Last edited by AlbertP on Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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