In this article, I will discuss an error during the installation of Windows: “Something happened. Setup has failed to validate the product key“.

In what situations does this error occur?

This error may occur when you try to install Windows (or update it) from within an already installed system. Typically, the error occurs in the following situations:

When installing Windows 8.1 from within Windows 7

When installing Windows 10 from within Windows 7

When installing Windows 10 from within Windows 8.1

The order may vary. Also, the error will occur if you try to “downgrade” the system, for example, install Windows 8.1 from within Windows 10. It is not always possible to upgrade the system to a newer version, let alone downgrade to an older version of Windows. Unfortunately, there is no way to bypass this error, the only solution is to install the system from a bootable flash drive.

What to do in this case?

The only correct option is to install Windows from the BIOS on a bootable flash drive. That is, write the installer to a flash drive => Boot from it from the BIOS (UEFI) and install Windows. You can familiarize yourself with step-by-step instructions below depending on the version of the system you want to install.

Instructions for installing Windows 11

Instructions for installing Windows 10

Instructions for installing Windows 8.1

Instructions for installing Windows 7

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