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Walker News

A capsule of walker's experience in life...

Updated: 2016-10-03T09:00:12Z


Backup Windows Image And Extend Free Space To Unallocated Disk Space


Using native Windows program to clone a Windows image for restoring on a bigger disk and extend Windows free space to unallocated disk space.My Windows is running out of free disk space on a small, fixed size virtual disk. Without reinstalling Windows afresh as well as retaining current Windows environment, what should I do?

In short, I will create a Windows image (clone the Windows) to restore on a bigger virtual hard disk and extend Windows free space to take up those unallocated disk space.
This guide is tested with Windows 7 running on virtual machine, but it should be applicable for the latest Windows 10 running on physical machine or virtual machine too.

In detail:

1) Go to Control Panel and open “Backup and Restore”. Alternatively, click Start button to type “Backup and restore” and click the shortcut appears in search list.

2) In left pane, click “Create a system image” for backup the Windows image to a secondary virtual disk or external USB disk.
This native Windows program is like Norton Ghost in good old day – clone the Windows! So, make sure the secondary disk or external hard disk is as big as or bigger than the running Windows size.


3) When cloning Windows image process complete, click NO for “create a system repair disc” if you’ve a bootable Windows installation disc / ISO image. Otherwise, create one repair disk.

4) Turn off VM and remove the small disk (as we’ve just created a working Windows image). Add a bigger virtual disk to VM and boot it up with Windows installation / repair disc attached to VM.

5) When the Install Windows dialog box appear, click “Repair your computer” (highlighted).


6) In the “System recovery options” dialog box, select “Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier”. Next, it will detect and prompt you to use the Windows image backup in secondary disk or USB disk. Follow the rest of steps with default value as it prompts you to complete the reimage process.

7) When reimage process complete, remove Windows installation disc as well as secondary disk that contains the Windows image backup.

8) Next, boot up to Windows as normal.

9) Open Command Prompt window or click Start button to run “diskmgmt.msc” (Disk Management program). You’ll notice the current Windows disk size capacity does not extended to use all disk space. So, let’s do it manually – right click on volume C: (the Windows partition) and select “Extend volume” option to use all unallocated disk space.


Job done when the extend volume process complete. Happy working!

Command To Get Toll Free Number and Installation Number For Windows 10 Activation Via Phone


Activate Windows 10 via phone service is still available!If you’ve problem to activate Windows 10 (or any Microsoft product) via Internet, the good old “activate by phone” service is still available.

As the name implies, the service provides automated phone system to activate Windows (or Microsoft Office). All you need to do is:

1. Open Command Prompt window or Run dialog box, i.e. click the Windows Start button and type “cmd” or “run” follow by clicking the shortcut of application shown in the search list.

2. Type slui 4 in the Command Prompt window or Run dialog box to bring up Windows Activation Client program in phone activation mode:


3. Select the country where you’ll make the phone call and it will show you the toll-free phone number (if available) or just toll number as well as the Installation ID.

4. Make the call and follow instruction to read it the Installation ID to complete Windows activation.

You may also try using slui program to get toll/toll-free number for activating Microsoft Office (or other Microsoft product) by speaking to the operator (human). Normally, when the activation by phone process fail to complete successfully, there will be an option to speak with customer service agent.

How To Identify A USB 3.0 Flash Drive In Windows File Explorer?


Windows 10 File Explorer can help to confirm or check if a USB 3.0 thumb drive is attached to USB 3.0 host port.Physically, you can easily identify a USB 3.0 flash drive by looking for label printed on chassis or the blue color of connector, with reference to Wikipedia.

If you cannot see it physically (during remote access), then you’ll rely on software to identify or confirm a USB 3.0 flash drive is attaching to USB 3.0 host port, in order to harness the SuperSpeed USB (SS) that can transfer data at up to 5 Gbit/s (625 MB/s).

How to check if there is USB 3.0 flash drive attaching to UBS 3.0 host port?

Open Windows 10 File Explorer:

1. Click on View tab and check if the “Detail Pane” is turned on (referring to highlighted boxes at the top end of image). If it’s off, click it to turn on.

2. Click “This PC” on left pane, highlight to select the USB drive (in middle pane) – then you will find the right pane (detail pane) showing either “Connected to USB 3.0” or “Device can perform faster when connected to USB 3.0”:

The Windows 10 File Explorer won’t show any connection related message for a USB 1.0/2.0 flash drive – FYI.

If you see that message shown in image, call someone who can approach to that computer and attach the flash drive to a “blue” host port.

How to check if a computer has USB 3.0 host port?

1. Click Start button, type “device manager”, click the Device Manager shortcut appears in the search list. Alternatively, go to Control Panel and click Device Manager.


2. Look for Universal Serial Bus Controller. There you will find an explicit item call USB 3.0 or “eXtensible host controller” or “xHCI” – that’s sign of USB 3.0 port existence.

Slmgr vs SoftWareLicensingService – Which one to use?


The value of OA3xOriginalProductKey will differ from slmgr after change product key during edition upgrade.As mentioned earlier, most branded computers like Dell have stopped attaching certificate of authenticity (COA) to chassis since Windows 8.

Instead, they embed genuine OEM product key into BIOS at factory. Windows 8/8.1/10 installer will automatically retrieve the product key from BIOS during installation and activation. Therefore, purchasers (end users) do not really need to see this OEM product key.

If you desperately want to see it, you can retrieve it from SoftWareLicensingService via wmic command:
wmic path SoftWareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey

Apparently, this key retrieved from BIOS will not match the product key you entered for edition upgrade:


As shown in the image, slmgr /dli will show the latest product key used for Windows activation (though only partial) and obviously it’s differ from the one embedded in BIOS.

How To Know You Are Using Windows 10 Education?


Referring to dism and Windows 10 edition upgrade matrix to determine which edition you are currently usingDo you know how to check which Windows 10 edition you’re using – Windows 10 Pro for Education or Windows 10 Education? For those who performed Windows 10 upgrade from Windows 7/8/8.1, how to find out which product key you used during the free upgrade?

After some research, it seems to me that there is no easy way to do this. Please let me know if you’ve better idea for these questions.

Anyway, here are some clues. With reference to Windows 10 upgrade paths, this is the Windows 10 edition upgrade matrix:


After executed this dism command in an elevated Command Prompt window, I believe that I’m using “Pro edition” and it can be upgraded to “Pro Education”, “Education”, or “Enterprise” edition. If memory serves me well, I used Windows 8 Professional product key during Windows 10 installation (via November Update version 1511 ISO image).
dism /online /get-TargetEditions | findstr Edi


I’ve confirmed with student who is using Windows 10 product key from DreamSpark, the dism command shows only one target edition for upgrade (i.e. Education) – so that’s actually a “Pro for Education” edition. Windows 10 Pro Education was introduced during Windows 10 Anniversary Update (version 1607).


As for the 2nd question – neither SoftwareLicensingService nor SlMgr can be used to find out which product key (of Windows 7/8/8.1) was used during free upgrade. The SlMgr /dli does show last part of the product key, but this is belong to the digital entitlement product key generated during free upgrade (apparently not the key you entered).

How To Change Windows 10 Product Key For Edition Upgrade


Few methods to change Windows 10 Product KeyYou’ll need to change product key if you want to upgrade Windows 10 edition (e.g. from Home to Pro).

There are few ways to do this in Windows 10:

Method 1 – type either one of these commands in an elevated Command Prompt window:


changepk.exe /ProductKey new_product_key_here

Method 2
Click Windows button > type Activation > click the Activation shortcut appears in searching list > click Change product key button.

Windows 10 edition upgrade matrix – with reference to Windows 10 upgrade paths.

Using Native Tool To Display Windows Product Key


If you're curios to find what is that key, the Windows 10 native wmic command can retrieve this OEM product key from BIOS too.You’ve just bought a new Dell computer came with pre-installed Windows 10 and there is no legacy COA (Certificate of Authenticity) attached to the chassis. In fact, Dell does not distribute COA since Windows 8.

So, where/how to find your genuine Windows 10 product key should you need to reinstall the OS afresh (not using recovery CD/image) to get rid of bloatware? Don’t worry – you don’t really need to know the key, because the Windows 10 installation and activation process will automatically refer to BIOS for OEM product key (if there is one) – according to Dell official knowledge base:
Starting Windows 8, the Windows product key is burnt into BIOS at factory. The Windows installation and activation processes will refer to the BIOS automatically.

If your curiosity is to find out that key anyway, Windows 10 does provide a native way to retrieve this OEM product key from BIOS too (if it’s there; otherwise, it shows empty value of this OA3xOriginalProductKey property):
wmic path softwarelicensingservice get /all /format:list | findstr OA3

wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey

NOTE: If you want to use a different Windows 10 edition product key during installation on a computer with OEM product key embedded in BIOS, you won’t find it prompt you for that. You can, however, change product key after installation, even it has activated automatically. Just go to Windows Settings app > System > About > look for option to change product key or upgrade Windows edition.