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Lenovo Think branded systems shipped with Microsoft Windows 8/8.1 Pro preload does not contain a Microsoft Windows 7 COA sticker

Symptom

Upon attempting to activate a Microsoft Windows 7 retail install on a Lenovo Think branded system with Windows 8/8.1 Pro preload and Windows 7 downgrade rights, the Windows 7 install requires a Windows 7 Product Key.  In previous generations of Think branded systems, the Windows 7 Certificate of Authenticity (COA) sticker was present on the system. With Windows 8/8.1 Pro preloads, the Windows 7 COA sticker is not required for operating system licensing and is not physically present on the computer.

Affected configurations

The above symptom is associated with, but not limited to, the following systems:

  • ThinkCentre
  • ThinkStation
  • ThinkPad

Applies To:

  • All Operating Systems
  • Microsoft Windows 7
  • Microsoft Windows 8/8.1 Pro

Additional Information:

The only way a user can reload the system is from one of the following:

  • Use the preload Recovery Media from the OEM.
  • Purchase the retail media.
  • Use the Volume License media.

This is not a change, but is the result of the use of Digital Product Keys (DPK’s) for Windows 8/8.1.

The "Licensing Brief – Reimaging Rights" document is located at the following URL:

        http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/briefs/reimaging.aspx

Click here to view the document on "How to determine if you have Genuine Microsoft Windows 8"

Q&A NOTES:

1) Are there actions that I am not allowed to do with the software?

Yes.  Because the software is licensed, not sold, the manufacturer or installer and Microsoft reserve all rights (such as rights under intellectual property laws) not expressly granted in this agreement.  In particular, this license does not give you any right to and you may not:  use or virtualize features of the software separately; publish, copy (other than the permitted backup copy), rent, lease, or lend the software; transfer the software (except as permitted by this agreement); attempt to circumvent technical protection measures in the software; or reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the software, except if the laws where you live permit this even when this agreement does not.  In that case, you may do only what your law allows.  When using Internet-based features or Microsoft Family Safety, you may not use those features in any way that could interfere with anyone else's use of them or to try to gain access to any service, data, account, or network in an unauthorized manner.

2) What does the Windows 8/8.1 Pro license agreement provide me?

The Windows 8 license agreement covers downgrade rights to Windows 7.  There is not a "Windows 7 license".

3) What if I want to build a custom image?

Users building images for their company should have a Volume License from Microsoft appropriate for the Windows 7 version.  Users are not permitted to use the Sysprep tool to create custom images based on a Lenovo preload.

4) How do I obtain Windows 7 install media and licenses?

Users with a Volume License should use their Volume license media to create a downgrade image

Solution

Use the Lenovo supplied Windows 7 Recovery media or purchase Windows 7 licenses from Microsoft.

Additional Lenovo Support Information
Additional Microsoft Information