Question does ransomware "destroy" the windows 10 license key "imbedded" in an acer laptop?

andrepartthree

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Jan 1, 2014
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Hi guys :) ... apologies if this is a dumb question and also if it's already been answered and to be honest it's more of a "what if" question in that this hasn't actually happened yet (trying to prepare myself for when and if it does :) ) .

Sadly my spouse is not as computer literate as I am and is far too impatient to listen to my dire warnings about what to do and what not to do online, re: cyber security in general and so forth. I do my best to protect her laptop anyways with secure "nonsense" string-of-gibberish passwords stored using lastpass, paid Norton security and keeping Windows 10 up to date with security patches.

Still I dread the day when her computer becomes so corrupted that I have to reinstall Windows 10 ... what makes me particularly nervous is this whole ransomware thing where the drives all become encrypted...I also have Acronis Backup going and the image files saved onto a separate " D " drive within her acer laptop but I've been told by someone who works in the computer field this won't do much good since ransomware locks all the connected drives in Windows whether it's the " C " drive or not.

I know there are people who will deliberately reinstall Win 10 on a laptop to get rid of "bloatware" and I know that Win 10 normally automatically "sees" the Win 10 product key that is "imbedded" into a laptop and you're not prompted for a product key as a result .... I've already downloaded all the Win 10 drivers for this particular laptop from the acer website and I know how to download Win 10's iso (have that particular iso saved on my PC actually).. what I'm wondering is if ransomware "wrecks" that imbedded product key such that you're in trouble even if you do a fresh install of Win 10?

Thanks in advance to anyone who reads this and responds :) ... I tried posting this in the acer community forum before bugging you guys about it but something strange is going on (for me at least) at the acer forum it won't let me progress past the standard user agreement boilerplate on the website.
 

Barty1884

Retired Moderator
Ransomware can only target the drive/data, without physical access to a device of course.
The license is imbedded in the BIOS/firmware, so impacting the drive cannot (to the best of my knowledge) impact that key.

The only way I could see 'losing' your W10 license to unauthorized access would be if someone got in, changed or added a MS account and linked the W10 license to it. Not really something ransomware would target, as the payoff just isn't worth it (nor can it be 'returned', as far as I know).

A full Windows reinstall should be an easy 'fix' should the worst occur. The only recommendation I have for you, is that these full system backups are not stored to a drive within the same device. Those backups should be stored off the device, preferrably utilizing the 3-2-1 backup method if there's anything critical involved.
 

andrepartthree

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Wow that was a quick reply thanks Barty1884 :) ... that's some great advice ... makes me pretty upset with those hackers who are just waiting to encrypt your PC and lock you out of it because now it forces me into a situation where I have to connect an external hard drive (fortunately I have old hard drives and a couple of usb 3.0 docks sitting around), run Acronis Backup of the C drive and D drive, disconnect said hard drive and just hope acer's BIOS "sees" the external hard drives when I run Acronis off the bootable dvd (yep , old school laptop with a dvd/cd drive :) ) ... thanks again and thanks for clearing up that bit about the product key being imbedded in the BIOS such that the ransomware can't get to it that's great news :)
 

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