[SOLVED] how to reinstall windows with product key I paid for

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Nov 8, 2021
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I have a dell inspiron 15 (3521) laptop. The HD crapped out on me. I bought a new one and proceeded to re-install windows 8.1 pro on it. During the re-installation, I was not prompted for the product key which I paid for several months back. I am worried that (like my desktop) all of a sudden I will get the message "product key expired". No matter what I have tried, i cannot get this new installation to accept the key I bought. Why?
 

USAFRet

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I have a dell inspiron 15 (3521) laptop. The HD crapped out on me. I bought a new one and proceeded to re-install windows 8.1 pro on it. During the re-installation, I was not prompted for the product key which I paid for several months back. I am worried that (like my desktop) all of a sudden I will get the message "product key expired". No matter what I have tried, i cannot get this new installation to accept the key I bought. Why?
Reinstall on that same system should not incur any license issues

Does it currently report 'activated'?
 

NightHawkRMX

Polypheme
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If it didn't prompt you for a key it's because windows detected the key attached to your hardware and automatically activated with it. It won't just go unactivated randomly, assuming the key attached to the board is a genuine key.
 
Nov 8, 2021
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Ok, I found out what it was. I had used Belarc Advisor on the old hard drive to get the product key that I paid for. Then I installed the new drive and used an ISO from Microsoft to re-install what I thought was 8.1 Pro. Just after I posted the above issue, I went into settings and system ,and learned that the ISO had only installed 8.1 NOT PRO. I finally found the spot that I could enter the old product key and get my OS updated to PRO without issue.
 
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