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Valid Keys - No Install Media - How? RRS feed

  • Question

  • can anyone please confirm the extent to which OEM Product IDs are "tied" to differing versions of XP? Obviously, I mean the differing versions of same-edition XP install, OEM/Corporate/"Normal" etc. rather than different XP versions, Pro/Home, etc.

    To clarify, recently purchased a number of laptops from a company, all with XP Pro Product ID stickers/XP Pro IDs, these are in some cases less than a year old.  Naturally, as part of my agreement the drives have to be completley wiped, I thought (in my naiveté..) that I could then simply reinstall XP using the given Product IDs.  3 installs later, (Corporate/Normal XP Pro, multiple attempts at keychanging, etc.) - none of these will accept these original keys as valid.  Happily admit that availabilty of either the original OEM install media or access to the "recovery" partitions would be advantageous (which I obviously do not have), but my question is how to resolve this issue without these, seems to me that Microsoft wanted to tie individual Product IDs firstly to an original copy of Install Media (that could be used multiple times), then to individual OEM machines ("allowing" a limited number of hardware changes/reactivations, etc.) and the situation now, whereby it seems impossible to run a valid copy of XP on machines for which you have entirely valid IDs (and they have received loyalities for..) as soon as you change owner/format.  Cant have it all ways, if a license is indeed tied to a particular machine nowadays (as seems to be the case), surely I must be able to "reuse" my valid keys on the same machine, even without access the original media?

    Any sensible advise regards this would be greatly appreciated, however, I would point out the following:

    1. I am *not* paying 150$ per machine (or however much it is these days) to "relicense" machines on which you have received loyalities less than a year ago.

    2. No, I do not know (or care..) exactly what the current licensing smallprint says regarding change of ownership, etc.

    3. I am getting very fed-up with this whole nonsense now, if I do not resolve this in the next few days, I am simply switching to Linux, end of problem, and I am probably not alone regards this. The efforts of MS to ensure compliance are, while understandable, simply becoming such a pain for those of us trying to run at least halfway legal systems that it is no longer worth the time and effort even bothering with all of this nonsense, high time to at least loosen the net a little methinks..

    Thursday, March 22, 2007 4:58 PM

Answers

  • Fedup_now,

    Assuming the Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) on the laptops are genuine, the Product Keys (PK) printed on the Certificates of Authenticity on the bottom of the laptops are OEM keys and will work with OEM installation media only.  They will not work with Volume Licensing media nor with retail media.  During the first part of XP Setup where you are to type in the PK, you should see an "invalid product key" message if the PK is not the correct "flavor" to match the type of installation media being used.

    Ideally the laptops should have been provided to you with the manufacturer's Recovery / Reinstallation media.  In many cases the manufacturers only supply a hard-disk based recovery solution so wiping the disks will of course wipe out your option to run a recovery.  In those cases the best option is to contact the manufacturer and get copies of the correct recovery/reinstallation media for each the laptops.  If you plan to use the computers for a while then sell them at some point, having the correct recovery CD for each computer enhances their resale value.

    Especially with laptops, there are many reasons why using the manufacturer's recovery media is a better option, but in a pinch, you can use a genuine MS generic XP OEM CDROM.  This media will accept the OEM PK from the COA and will install, but will not automatically activate online----you have to do a manual telephonic activation.

    Thursday, March 22, 2007 6:52 PM

All replies

  • Fedup_now,

    Assuming the Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) on the laptops are genuine, the Product Keys (PK) printed on the Certificates of Authenticity on the bottom of the laptops are OEM keys and will work with OEM installation media only.  They will not work with Volume Licensing media nor with retail media.  During the first part of XP Setup where you are to type in the PK, you should see an "invalid product key" message if the PK is not the correct "flavor" to match the type of installation media being used.

    Ideally the laptops should have been provided to you with the manufacturer's Recovery / Reinstallation media.  In many cases the manufacturers only supply a hard-disk based recovery solution so wiping the disks will of course wipe out your option to run a recovery.  In those cases the best option is to contact the manufacturer and get copies of the correct recovery/reinstallation media for each the laptops.  If you plan to use the computers for a while then sell them at some point, having the correct recovery CD for each computer enhances their resale value.

    Especially with laptops, there are many reasons why using the manufacturer's recovery media is a better option, but in a pinch, you can use a genuine MS generic XP OEM CDROM.  This media will accept the OEM PK from the COA and will install, but will not automatically activate online----you have to do a manual telephonic activation.

    Thursday, March 22, 2007 6:52 PM
  • Hey Dan,

    re: "..Assuming the Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) on the laptops are genuine.." - :-)) - forgot this was a Microsoft Forum.. ;-) - put it this way, if the company I bought them from were using forged COAS, theres no trust left in the world at all these days, I tell yer.. No, Genuine, no question whatsoever in this case.

    That cleared up, many thanks for quick and helpful response otherwiswe, so basically you are saying any OEM install should accept the PKs (ta also for terminology correction ;-), with the then additional Joy of having to phone MS and argue each Validation case seperately, who then may (or may not, depending upon how nice lunch was..) agree that I actually have the right to buy and use a reformatted laptop for which they have already received their OS license fee?

    Hmmm..

    No, thanks, seriously, thought I had already tried an OEM version install (obviously, I hadn´t, getting my XP flavors in a muddle myself now) - will attempt this again, my original (badly-phrased) question should have been "Can I use an OEM or Recovery CD from *any* manufacturer with these PKs?"  The answer would appear to be yes, as you stated - after checking on this (correct me if I am wrong) it seems to be illegal to supply OS discs that are tied to/will install only on a specific OEMs machine, or at least that seems to be the legal situation in my part of the world at any rate.  As such, I would be correct in assuming that *any* OEM XP is a "genuine MS generic XP OEM CDROM", remains only the minor problem of manual activation (sigh..) - I would appreciate it if anyone in a similar situation has had good/bad experience with this (Phone Activation on non-original CDs) that they would care to share.

    As you stated, the "original OEMs OEM CDs" would be advantageous, however, should anyone from MS reading this care for a challenge, I suggest they spare an hour or sixteen from their current anti-piratery crusades and test exactly how long it takes them on various $5 a minute "Hotlines" to obtain "original replacement media" from their various OEMs, and at what cost.  Life, especially if you are attempting this feat from differing manufacturers, is simply too short.  As most normal customers with the misfortune to have a re-formatted drive would sensibly give up and simply go buy a retail XP, this probably explains the rationale behind MS attempts to insist that no CDs should be provided with the PCs either, why re-invent the wheel when you can resell the old one 50 times anyway.

    Just to sum-up then, in case you have lost your recovery partition (for whatever reasons), and you have no recovery CDs (most probably because there never were any in the first place), your options are then as follows:

    1. Phone your manufacturer (much fun with that), buy new OEM CDs.
    2. Buy a retail XP (although you already paid for your original XP license)
    3. Try another (OEM..) XP CD, then personally beg MS to activate after 30 days, they may even agree.
    4. Haxor Windows Genuine Advantage (or whatever is called), update everything, 127.0.0.1 *.microsoft.com
    5. Linux

    - In my case, had no intention of re-selling the laptops (doubtless another legal can of worms there ;-), they were intended for usage by a friend who had inherited a small engineering firm.  As the sole concession to the Wonderful World of IT from said firm for the last 30 years has been a fax machine and a few typewriters (beginning to believe they had the right approach actually..), the learning curve involved anyway means 5. is slowly becoming the easiest option, given the sheer hassle that MS causes its customers nowadays in the name of "compliance".  No offense either, they did (and still do) make great software, but at some point, enough is enough, there is a limit to how much interference and hassle customers will accept in the simple pursuit of being able to type a letter without having to pay through the nose/phone MS/trawl through endless internet sites for advise, all just to keep there OS running (and "legally compliant", of course).

    Anyway, sorry for the rant ;-) cheers for the advise, will try the OEM install, and hope for the best.. Now where did I put that Red Hat Installation Media again.. ;-) 

    Thursday, March 22, 2007 10:35 PM
  •  fedup_now wrote:

    Hey Dan,

    re: "..Assuming the Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) on the laptops are genuine.." - :-)) - forgot this was a Microsoft Forum.. ;-) - put it this way, if the company I bought them from were using forged COAS, theres no trust left in the world at all these days, I tell yer.. No, Genuine, no question whatsoever in this case.

    That cleared up, many thanks for quick and helpful response otherwiswe, so basically you are saying any OEM install should accept the PKs (ta also for terminology correction ;-), with the then additional Joy of having to phone MS and argue each Validation case seperately, who then may (or may not, depending upon how nice lunch was..) agree that I actually have the right to buy and use a reformatted laptop for which they have already received their OS license fee?

    Most people who have reported back on this forum say it takes about 7 minutes to do a Telephone Activation.  That's not too awfully bad, considering.

    No arguments are necessary.  All you have to say is, "I had to reinstall XP on my [insert manufacturer's name here] laptop but I lost my recovery CD, so I used a generic XP CDROM."

     fedup_now wrote:
    Hmmm..

    No, thanks, seriously, thought I had already tried an OEM version install (obviously, I hadn´t, getting my XP flavors in a muddle myself now) - will attempt this again, my original (badly-phrased) question should have been "Can I use an OEM or Recovery CD from *any* manufacturer with these PKs?"  The answer would appear to be yes, as you stated - after checking on this (correct me if I am wrong) it seems to be illegal to supply OS discs that are tied to/will install only on a specific OEMs machine, or at least that seems to be the legal situation in my part of the world at any rate.  As such, I would be correct in assuming that *any* OEM XP is a "genuine MS generic XP OEM CDROM", remains only the minor problem of manual activation (sigh..) - I would appreciate it if anyone in a similar situation has had good/bad experience with this (Phone Activation on non-original CDs) that they would care to share. 

    Genuine systembuilder/OEM Microsoft XP CDROMs will accept PKs from the OEM COAs on branded computers.  However, manufacturer recovery CDs and reinstallation CDs are designed to work only on that manufacturer's hardware.  That means you can install XP onto any manufacturer's computer using a genuine MS systembuilder/OEM CD and the PK on the COA affixed to the computer, BUT you can only use a manufacturer recovery/reinstallation CD on that manufacturer's computers and no one else's.  The manufacturer's CD is programmed to look for special bits in the system's BIOS; if the bits are not in the BIOS, it concludes that you are trying to install (for example) a Dell OEM XP onto a non-Dell computer.  This is called SLP for system lock preinstall.

     fedup_now wrote:
    As you stated, the "original OEMs OEM CDs" would be advantageous, however, should anyone from MS reading this care for a challenge, I suggest they spare an hour or sixteen from their current anti-piratery crusades and test exactly how long it takes them on various $5 a minute "Hotlines" to obtain "original replacement media" from their various OEMs, and at what cost.  Life, especially if you are attempting this feat from differing manufacturers, is simply too short.  As most normal customers with the misfortune to have a re-formatted drive would sensibly give up and simply go buy a retail XP, this probably explains the rationale behind MS attempts to insist that no CDs should be provided with the PCs either, why re-invent the wheel when you can resell the old one 50 times anyway.

    Dell sells their reinstallation CDs for about $15 postpaid.  eMachines charges $25.  Sony varies widely, some as low as $12 and as high as $75.  There is a small cottage industry in brokering recovery CDs at http://www.restoredisks.com.

    In August 2005, MS changed the agreement it has with major manufacturers based on many complaints MS received from customers who did not get a recovery CD when they bought their computers.  The hard disk based recovery solutions typically provided worked just fine until the hard disk drives went south.  The change now requires that the manufacturer either supply the end user with recovery CDs with the purchase of the computer, or provide a utility installed on the computer that when run by the end user will generate a set of recovery CDs.

     fedup_now wrote:
    Just to sum-up then, in case you have lost your recovery partition (for whatever reasons), and you have no recovery CDs (most probably because there never were any in the first place), your options are then as follows:

    1. Phone your manufacturer (much fun with that), buy new OEM CDs.
    2. Buy a retail XP (although you already paid for your original XP license)
    3. Try another (OEM..) XP CD, then personally beg MS to activate after 30 days, they may even agree.
    4. Haxor Windows Genuine Advantage (or whatever is called), update everything, 127.0.0.1 *.microsoft.com
    5. Linux

    - In my case, had no intention of re-selling the laptops (doubtless another legal can of worms there ;-), they were intended for usage by a friend who had inherited a small engineering firm.  As the sole concession to the Wonderful World of IT from said firm for the last 30 years has been a fax machine and a few typewriters (beginning to believe they had the right approach actually..), the learning curve involved anyway means 5. is slowly becoming the easiest option, given the sheer hassle that MS causes its customers nowadays in the name of "compliance".  No offense either, they did (and still do) make great software, but at some point, enough is enough, there is a limit to how much interference and hassle customers will accept in the simple pursuit of being able to type a letter without having to pay through the nose/phone MS/trawl through endless internet sites for advise, all just to keep there OS running (and "legally compliant", of course).

    Just think, all this agita could have been avoided if the people who sold you the laptops did not carelessly throw out the CDs that came with the computer, or that could have been made with the recovery CD maker utility that originally came with the laptops.

     fedup_now wrote:
    Anyway, sorry for the rant ;-) cheers for the advise, will try the OEM install, and hope for the best.. Now where did I put that Red Hat Installation Media again.. ;-) 

    Friday, March 23, 2007 4:22 AM