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keithyboy
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Windows product keys

I'm confused.

The Dell laptop I'm on now was downgraded from Vista to XP by me a while ago using a Dell reinstallation disk from ebay. The ancient desktop next door came from the factory with XP installed.

The desktop is full of **** and running like a dog so I want to do a fresh install. I'm pretty sure it came with an XP disk but I've got two. My understanding is that I can't use any old XP disk so I attempted to find the product key for both computers and both disks.

I downloaded a bit of software to do this (keyfinder thing) but it's showing the same key on both computers and it doesn't match the key on either disk. This can't be right can it?
 
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Its not the disks that matter (they are all the same), its the licence keys.

You should have a licence sticker stuck on the side of the desktop case. Or a seperate licence key in with the CD if your PC was custom built. If not you might have to buy a new copy of windows.

The code readers usually show the same code on different machines, this is because all computer systems have a pre-activated image installed by the manufacturer to speed up the process.
The COA key (stuck on the side of the desktop or underneith the laptop) is only used when windows is reinstalled.

I can always tell if a laptop has been reinstalled before as the product key in windows read from the code reader matches the COA stuck under the laptop.

The Dell cd you bought automatically activates when you install it on a Dell laptop as it assumes that you have the licence key underneith, you probably have a Vista licence underneith (Put it this way, I wouldnt be able to get away with selling laptops like that)

Good luck with finding the Key :-)

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keithyboy
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Both the laptop and the desktop have the license sticker. Does that mean I can use one of my discs that don't match to reinstall?

Or iz I being fick?

Why is u on a truck innit?
 
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Yes as long as the Sticker matches the CD ie XP Home or Professional.

If you use the Dell disk on the Desktop it wont activate automatically as it knows that it is not running on Dell hardware. Instead, you will get a 30 Day trial of windows until you type in the licence key from the desktop and then activate windows by going online or by ringing the automated robot number.

To change the product key to the one on your sticker, during the activation process you need to click - 'Call Microsoft' and then an extra button appears 'Change Product Key'
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keithyboy
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As it happens, the desktop is a Dell too.

Cheers matey.
 
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Looks like may has already sorted you out but belarc is a good bit of software for finding all your product keys and other info. If you ever need to again.
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keithyboy
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XP reinstalled. Bit of an issue with finding drivers as the PC is quite old and not all the componts are factory ones. The display is still a bit wonky nut othereise it's running like a dream.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laptop_Matt View Post
Yes as long as the Sticker matches the CD ie XP Home or Professional.
Hi Matt,

That's not actually true.

There are 4 different media types available direct from Microsoft and you cannot use a activation key from another type with the different media sets.

MSDN - Developer Releases
OEM - System Builder
RETAIL - Off the shelf
VLS - Volume Licence Subscription

Some OEMs use various tools to create their own discs so these again will also have different criteria, the discs keithyboy may be talking about could be recovery discs not installation discs, or could be OEM discs which will work with his OEM licence Keys.

One thing to remember for Keithyboys knowledge. OEM licence keys can only be used on the machine they were originally installed on. It's a limitation of a having a nice cheap licence.

If you purchase a new 'to you' machine and decide you want to port your copy of windows across that would be illegal.

This may not worry you now, but a likely scenario could be that if at some point in the future you were looking to get a new computer and thought virtualising the existing one in it's current state would be useful in case of compatibility issues then you would not be able to do that, OEM windows detects the hardware change and will not allow you to logon.

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The Only likely disks that he would have had are OEM or Retail which are exactly the same. Both will accept his product key.

Dell don't use restore disks, they use Dell Branded Windows Setup disks which as you say have been modified by their own tools to add logo's etc. Doesn't stop him installing it on a non dell computer and activating it correctly with his legal product key. It will be a genuine legal copy of windows and much better than using an exploited VLS licence.
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EddieGTA
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As is often the case we had shed loads of OEM discs knocking about, and early OEM keys of XP and 2003 will not work with the later discs. I think ones which had later service packs included. Generally speaking I found as long as it wasn't a disc specific to a system such as Dell/HP and a Microsoft OEM disc it would work with any key from the same period it was made.
 
keithyboy
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I'm just happy that it works! Despite being ancient, it's running like a dream and the hard drive is now about 80% empty despite not having got rid of that much stuff.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laptop_Matt View Post
The Only likely disks that he would have had are OEM or Retail which are exactly the same. Both will accept his product key.
reinstall - Windows OEM vs retail difference - Super User

Guide to reinstalling Windows

Dunno what hooky media you use
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostyDog View Post
"...it will reject the key. An OEM key requires an OEM disk, and retail requires a retail disk."

Sorry but that is rubbish. There is no difference try it!

Laptops don't come with OEM disks (at least for over 5 years) so are you saying that no one can reinstall their windows with a genuine Retail Windows CD using their genuine licence key underneith?

Dont trust everything you read on the internet

And for your information I reinstall over 30 computers a week using genuine windows CD's and my phone bill is littered with calls to the Microsoft activation phone number.
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keithyboy
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My personal experience is as follows:

1. I installed XP on a Vista-equipped Dell laptop using an Dell OEM disk from ebay 2 years ago. At no point in that two year period has it asked for the product key.

2. I attempted to reinstall install XP on an HP desktop using another OEM Dell disk from ebay. It worked for 30 days but wouldn't accept the product key that came with the disk and the sticker on the PC was missing.

3. This week I reinstalled XP on my Dell desktop using a Dell disk that may or may not have come with the PC (or might have been one of the ebay ones). Again, it didn't ask for a product key and hasn't warned me that I've got 30 days/29 days/28 days..... to input the key.

The internet proved to be a completely useless source of information on the question I asked. I found probably 20 different and conflicting answers in 10 minutes. Matt's advice was absolutely 100% spot on.

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laptop_Matt View Post
"...it will reject the key. An OEM key requires an OEM disk, and retail requires a retail disk."

Sorry but that is rubbish. There is no difference try it!

Laptops don't come with OEM disks (at least for over 5 years) so are you saying that no one can reinstall their windows with a genuine Retail Windows CD using their genuine licence key underneith?

Dont trust everything you read on the internet

And for your information I reinstall over 30 computers a week using genuine windows CD's and my phone bill is littered with calls to the Microsoft activation phone number.
I have tried it, i've done literally thousands of installations of various media types from Windows NT to 95 all the way to XP and in my experience there is a difference between media that MICROSOFT produces.

If they have changed the discs for newer OS then fair play. That said i haven't installed a machine from scratch in years, i use a custom images and MDT, much much faster. Makes repurposing much faster and n worries about activation or ****ing about with keys.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downl....aspx?id=25175
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