Aug 22, 2020
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I have a somewhat bizarre problem wherein I have an old Toshiba laptop from about 2007-2008 that has Windows Vista 32-bit version on it, but apparently it's always had a 64-bit motherboard in it. It was apparently assembled at that time when 64-bit CPUs and motherboards were released, but Microsoft had not yet released a 64-bit OS for it, and so they put a 32-bit OS on it instead.

And so when I found out it was a 64-bit architecture all along, I installed the new Windows 10 OS in the 64-bit version by way of an old DVD boot-up install, and it did work, but I couldn't update from within the 32-bit OS because it said I could only do a 32-bit to 32-bit upgrade, which couldn't have allowed me to fully exploit the 64-bit architecture. And so now I have a product key on the bottom of this laptop that now the activation process won't accept as valid. But yet I want to activate this thing, and I feel like I shouldn't have to be penalized for Microsoft having put a 32-bit OS on a 64-bit architecture way back in 2007 or whenever.

Can you guys give me any feedback or guidance on this? Thank you.
 

DSzymborski

Polypheme
Moderator
Your beef is with Toshiba. Vista x64 editions were available at release, it's on Toshiba if they decided to pre-install a 32-bit version. Microsoft started releasing x64 OS versions in 2003 and by the time Vista came out, only the ARM releases and Microsoft Thin PC didn't have x64 options.

As for activation, it's hard to guess as your description is a bit vague. What is the exact message you're getting? What have you tried to do? Have you tried the automated telephone service?
 
Aug 22, 2020
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Your beef is with Toshiba. Vista x64 editions were available at release, it's on Toshiba if they decided to pre-install a 32-bit version. Microsoft started releasing x64 OS versions in 2003 and by the time Vista came out, only the ARM releases and Microsoft Thin PC didn't have x64 options.

As for activation, it's hard to guess as your description is a bit vague. What is the exact message you're getting? What have you tried to do? Have you tried the automated telephone service?
What I've tried to do so far is enter the product key on the bottom of the Toshiba, but there was no error code, the system just said the key wasn't valid. And I did double-check the key and I did enter it correctly.

And so what I'm trying to do is activate this 64-bit Windows 10 OS that I just installed over the old 32-bit Windows Vista OS that had been on there for years, but which Toshiba apparently installed upon what was, completely unbeknownst to me, a 64-bit architecture all along. Truth be told, I had no idea that's what they'd done with this machine -- and I was new enough to computers that I didn't even know such a thing was even possible at the time, along with a great many other things I didn't know were possible, much less actually done.

Does that make sense now?
 

DSzymborski

Polypheme
Moderator
And was this the internet or the phone service? And what is the exact wording of the error you got when you tried to activate? Not the gist, not a summary of what happened, the exact wording. Nobody here is at your PC, so it's important to be as detailed as possible since you have to act as our eyes.
 
Aug 22, 2020
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And was this the internet or the phone service? And what is the exact wording of the error you got when you tried to activate? Not the gist, not a summary of what happened, the exact wording. Nobody here is at your PC, so it's important to be as detailed as possible since you have to act as our eyes.
No, no, no -- there was no "error", and therefore no error code. All it said was that the product key I typed in was not valid. And I did all this within the Windows 10 install, after it did in fact completely install, but before any activation.

Also, I don't know what you mean by "the internet or phone service" -- all I did was install the OS over the old OS; there hasn't been any "internet or phone service". All I did was download the Windows 10 installer ISO and burn it to a DVD, then do a boot-install to the Toshiba using it that way, because doing it via USB was not an option at the time this computer was engineered.

Does this make more sense?
 
Aug 22, 2020
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And was this the internet or the phone service? And what is the exact wording of the error you got when you tried to activate? Not the gist, not a summary of what happened, the exact wording. Nobody here is at your PC, so it's important to be as detailed as possible since you have to act as our eyes.
Oh, wait -- by "internet or phone service", do you mean ways I might have gotten help from Microsoft? Because I haven't tried that yet. Do you think they might somehow supply me with a product key, given my situation?
 

DSzymborski

Polypheme
Moderator
No, no, no -- there was no "error", and therefore no error code. All it said was that the product key I typed in was not valid. And I did all this within the Windows 10 install, after it did in fact completely install, but before any activation.

Also, I don't know what you mean by "the internet or phone service" -- all I did was install the OS over the old OS; there hasn't been any "internet or phone service". All I did was download the Windows 10 installer ISO and burn it to a DVD, then do a boot-install to the Toshiba using it that way, because doing it via USB was not an option at the time this computer was engineered.

Does this make more sense?
I was hoping to get all the things you tried, which is why I asked the question. I don't like commenting until I get the totality of the situation.

Anyway, a Windows Vista key can not be used to activate Windows 10. You can use the Windows Vista key to activate a 64-bit version of Windows Vista. Even with a valid Windows 10 key, you're likely to run into significant driver issues on a 12-13 year-old laptop.
 

DSzymborski

Polypheme
Moderator
Oh, wait -- by "internet or phone service", do you mean ways I might have gotten help from Microsoft? Because I haven't tried that yet. Do you think they might somehow supply me with a product key, given my situation?
There are two ways to activate a Windows Vista key: automatically over the internet or using their automated phone service. There is no longer any consumer support for Windows Vista activation or anything to do with Windows Vista really, nor has there been for a long time.

They will not supply you with a Windows 10 key as you are not a licensed user of Windows 10. There was a free upgrade path from Windows 7 and beyond, which is still open even if Microsoft advertises it, but Windows Vista predates Windows 7.
 
Aug 22, 2020
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I was hoping to get all the things you tried, which is why I asked the question. I don't like commenting until I get the totality of the situation.

Anyway, a Windows Vista key can not be used to activate Windows 10. You can use the Windows Vista key to activate a 64-bit version of Windows Vista. Even with a valid Windows 10 key, you're likely to run into significant driver issues on a 12-13 year-old laptop.
Actually, no, no -- I'm not running into any issues whatsoever with this 64-bit Windows 10 I just installed yesterday. Well, actually, the only issue I'm running across is the fact that there's only 2 GB of RAM on this machine, which is the A205-S5831.

And even though I am reading in the Toshiba specs that it's only capable of maxing out its RAM at 2 GB, the specs listed on the CNET website and a RAM vendor website out there, both said that the maximum RAM on this machine is actually 4 GB, not 2 GB. And so I've already purchased two 2 GB RAM cards to see what the actual truth is when I pop them in and start things up.
 
Aug 22, 2020
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There are two ways to activate a Windows Vista key: automatically over the internet or using their automated phone service. There is no longer any consumer support for Windows Vista activation or anything to do with Windows Vista really, nor has there been for a long time.

They will not supply you with a Windows 10 key as you are not a licensed user of Windows 10. There was a free upgrade path from Windows 7 and beyond, which is still open even if Microsoft advertises it, but Windows Vista predates Windows 7.
Well, damn.
 

DSzymborski

Polypheme
Moderator
Actually, no, no -- I'm not running into any issues whatsoever with this 64-bit Windows 10 I just installed yesterday. Well, actually, the only issue I'm running across is the fact that there's only 2 GB of RAM on this machine, which is the A205-S5831.

And even though I am reading in the Toshiba specs that it's only capable of maxing out its RAM at 2 GB, the specs listed on the CNET website and a RAM vendor website out there, both said that the maximum RAM on this machine is actually 4 GB, not 2 GB. And so I've already purchased two 2 GB RAM cards to see what the actual truth is when I pop them in and start things up.
As I said, all the information is helpful since I'm not at the computer. I had no idea that Windows 10 was running since you didn't actually mention that part at all! Unless I missed it, of course, as it's late. If you're running it and not running into issues, that's at least good news because updating an old laptop's OS by generations tends to be a giant nightmare. If you're not running into any issues there, that's a good sign.

Another thing to note is that the only consequence of running Windows 10 unactivated is that you have the watermark and limited personalization. Technically, Microsoft could be more severe about the unactivated Windows 10 consequences at any time, but it's unlikely they'll crack down on that; they prefer people pay for Windows 10, but all else being equal, they rather someone who doesn't pay be up-to-date and in the Windows 10 ecosystem than using really old OSs.
 
Aug 22, 2020
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As I said, all the information is helpful since I'm not at the computer. I had no idea that Windows 10 was running since you didn't actually mention that part at all! Unless I missed it, of course, as it's late. If you're running it and not running into issues, that's at least good news because updating an old laptop's OS by generations tends to be a giant nightmare. If you're not running into any issues there, that's a good sign.

Another thing to note is that the only consequence of running Windows 10 unactivated is that you have the watermark and limited personalization. Technically, Microsoft could be more severe about the unactivated Windows 10 consequences at any time, but it's unlikely they'll crack down on that; they prefer people pay for Windows 10, but all else being equal, they rather someone who doesn't pay be up-to-date and in the Windows 10 ecosystem than using really old OSs.
Yes, and thank you for your patience here -- sorry I didn't make myself more clear in the first posts.

I have read tonight that Windows 10 activates on its own somehow after a few days, and so I'm hoping that maybe that will happen to this installation I've just done, but possibly it won't. And so if I want full features I may then have to buy a secondhand product key off Newegg.com, perhaps, or somewhere like that.

All in all, though, I am very impressed that it even installed and that it's running so well, so far -- knock on wood.
 
Aug 22, 2020
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As I said, all the information is helpful since I'm not at the computer. I had no idea that Windows 10 was running since you didn't actually mention that part at all! Unless I missed it, of course, as it's late. If you're running it and not running into issues, that's at least good news because updating an old laptop's OS by generations tends to be a giant nightmare. If you're not running into any issues there, that's a good sign.

Another thing to note is that the only consequence of running Windows 10 unactivated is that you have the watermark and limited personalization. Technically, Microsoft could be more severe about the unactivated Windows 10 consequences at any time, but it's unlikely they'll crack down on that; they prefer people pay for Windows 10, but all else being equal, they rather someone who doesn't pay be up-to-date and in the Windows 10 ecosystem than using really old OSs.
Finally, thanks for all your feedback -- I guess I just missed the cutoff by having Vista instead of 7
 

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