Checking Hardware IDs:
The hardware IDs can be used to identify unique components to your system configuration such as graphic cards, sound cards and wireless and bluetooth cards.
There are several additional utilities you can use to gather information about your PCs hardware and/or Microsoft OS and Office software licenses before Reinstallation of Windows.
- Belarc Advisor ( XP Retail, Vista Retail, 7 Retail, 8.0 OEM/Retail and 8.1 OEM/Retail)
- RW Everything (8.0, 8.1 OEM)
- Windows 8 Product Key Viewer ( XP Retail, Vista Retail, 7 Retail, 8.0 OEM/Retail and 8.1 OEM/Retail however 8.0 → 8.1 upgrade wrong key)
- Speccy ( XP Retail, Vista Retail, 7 Retail, 8.0 OEM/Retail and 8.1 OEM/Retail however 8.0 → 8.1 upgrade wrong key)
- Activation Backup and Recovery Program (Vista OEM, 7 OEM only)
Belarc Advisor gives the software if WIndows is already installed alongside a great deal of hardware information and it is recommended you run this on your system before wiping it or attempting a reinstall.
For Windows Vista/7 OEM it is recommended to run Activation and Backup Recovery in addition to Belarc Advisor to backup your Vista/7 OEM product activation.
For Windows 8.0/8.1 OEM it is recommended to run RW-Everything, this should give the embedded OEM key regardless of Windows OS version currently installed.
BIOS Embedded Windows 8.0/8.1 Product Key Notes
Microsoft made Windows 8.0 and 8.1 product keys incompatible which has cause a mass of confusion and frustration for the end user.
When upgraded from Windows 8.0 to Windows 8.1 Belarc Advisor and RWEverything give the correct OEM BIOS Embedded SLP key whereas Windows 8 Product Key Viewer and Speccy give a different Windows 8.1 Product Key. It is reported that the key Belarc Advisor and RWEverything product keys can be activated with the correct Windows 8.1 .iso (Core or Professional) via the change key. This did not work in the case of my test with an RTM .iso however its possible I had the incorrect image.
Belarc Advisor, RWEverything, Windows 8 Product Key Viewer and Speccy are reported to give the correct product key for a Windows 8.0 install on factory settings or a clean install with a Windows 8.0 OEM disc.