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Windows XP Product Key Not Valid

    Question

  • I'm working on a friends Dell Latitude D610 that came from the factory with Windows XP Pro installed. His system crashed and we couldn't recover no matter what we tried. He couldn't find the Dell OEM disc that came with the computer so we decided to reinstall XP from an XP Pro disc (SP1) that I have for my PC. When we entered the product key from the label on the bottom of the laptop we got an error message saying that the CD Key we entered is not valid. It appears to be a genuine MS label on the computer. My understanding is that CD's and the Product Keys are not matched pairs. In other words, as long as you have a valid Product Key, you can use any installation disc. Is this true? Is there any way to find out if the Product Key on the label is a valid Key? Does anyone have any suggestions on what we should try next? I can't seem to find anything on either the Dell or MS websites that is helpful. Any info we can get is greatly appreciated.
    Friday, June 19, 2009 11:28 AM

Answers

  •  

    Good Morning Mazda Man,


    Thank you for visiting us. There are different versions of Windows and each one has a specific product key. As a general rule, manufacturer recovery/reinstallation CDs uses the SLP method of installation/activation.  This method attempts to match bits in the computer's BIOS with bits on the manufacturer's CD and if they match, the installation goes forward and typically this kind of installation does not require that a Product Key be keyed in during Setup; instead the manufacturer's standard deployment PK is used.

    OEM-SLP:
    Computers built by large commercial manufacturers that come with Vista Pre-installed come with two (2) Product Keys; SLP and COA Key.  SLP stands for System Locked Pre-install. OEM manufacturer’s add an OEM identifier string to the system BIOS during manufacturing. Windows verifies this identifier during the boot process. In this way the end user will not be required to activate Windows. The OEM SLP Key is geared to work with the special instructions found on that Manufacturer’s computer hardware.  The Product Key is available on the COA sticker and not installed in the computer. For example all DELL OEM SLP Windows Vista systems use a single product key but the COA sticker on the machine contains the unique COA. The key located on the COA sticker should only be used in limited situations and requires telephone activation. Example should you require to reformate the computer the key from the COA sticker would be used.

    Please contact Dell and request the appropriate OEM Recovery Media for the laptop. 
    I have included their contact information here for your convenience. Since the telephone number and websites are not maintained by Microsoft we cannot make any warranty as to their validity.

    Welcome To Dell Support http://support.dell.com/support/index.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=gen

    Dell Community Forums

    http://en.community.dell.com/

    Request Backup Discs

    http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dellcare/en/backupcd_form?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&redirect=1

    Restoring Your Computer´s Software to the Factory Settings

    http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/en/document?c=us&l=en&s=gen&docid=3E48AE3870775D64E040A68F5B2877D4&journalid=42D67CDF2508563DE040A68F5A28695C&Query=&SystemID=&ServiceTag=&contenttype=&os=&component=&lang=&doclang=&toggle=&dl=


    Thank you,

    Stephen

     


    Attention All Forum Users: Please Do Not post your issue in someone else's Thread...Create your own which will help minimize confusion. If any post fixes your issue, please click the "Post was Helpful" button for that post. This will help us showcase the threads that best help our customers. Thank you, Stephen Holm
    • Marked as answer by Stephen Holm Friday, June 19, 2009 4:52 PM
    Friday, June 19, 2009 4:51 PM

All replies

  •  

    Good Morning Mazda Man,


    Thank you for visiting us. There are different versions of Windows and each one has a specific product key. As a general rule, manufacturer recovery/reinstallation CDs uses the SLP method of installation/activation.  This method attempts to match bits in the computer's BIOS with bits on the manufacturer's CD and if they match, the installation goes forward and typically this kind of installation does not require that a Product Key be keyed in during Setup; instead the manufacturer's standard deployment PK is used.

    OEM-SLP:
    Computers built by large commercial manufacturers that come with Vista Pre-installed come with two (2) Product Keys; SLP and COA Key.  SLP stands for System Locked Pre-install. OEM manufacturer’s add an OEM identifier string to the system BIOS during manufacturing. Windows verifies this identifier during the boot process. In this way the end user will not be required to activate Windows. The OEM SLP Key is geared to work with the special instructions found on that Manufacturer’s computer hardware.  The Product Key is available on the COA sticker and not installed in the computer. For example all DELL OEM SLP Windows Vista systems use a single product key but the COA sticker on the machine contains the unique COA. The key located on the COA sticker should only be used in limited situations and requires telephone activation. Example should you require to reformate the computer the key from the COA sticker would be used.

    Please contact Dell and request the appropriate OEM Recovery Media for the laptop. 
    I have included their contact information here for your convenience. Since the telephone number and websites are not maintained by Microsoft we cannot make any warranty as to their validity.

    Welcome To Dell Support http://support.dell.com/support/index.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=gen

    Dell Community Forums

    http://en.community.dell.com/

    Request Backup Discs

    http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dellcare/en/backupcd_form?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&redirect=1

    Restoring Your Computer´s Software to the Factory Settings

    http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/en/document?c=us&l=en&s=gen&docid=3E48AE3870775D64E040A68F5B2877D4&journalid=42D67CDF2508563DE040A68F5A28695C&Query=&SystemID=&ServiceTag=&contenttype=&os=&component=&lang=&doclang=&toggle=&dl=


    Thank you,

    Stephen

     


    Attention All Forum Users: Please Do Not post your issue in someone else's Thread...Create your own which will help minimize confusion. If any post fixes your issue, please click the "Post was Helpful" button for that post. This will help us showcase the threads that best help our customers. Thank you, Stephen Holm
    • Marked as answer by Stephen Holm Friday, June 19, 2009 4:52 PM
    Friday, June 19, 2009 4:51 PM
  • Hello MazdaMan,

    You wrote "other words, as long as you have a valid Product Key, you can use any installation disc. Is this true?"

    It is true, but only within product and license type.  For example, you friend's Dell has an OEM license for XP Pro.  You tried to install using a retail CD, and since the license types do not match, you received the "invalid product key" error.

    You have to match product and license type.  Assuming you match product and license type, any product key and any Cd will work together.

    Regarding the siutation with your friend, your best option is to have your friend order the replacement CDs from Dell, backup and offload his data from the computer, then do a clean installation.  That way his computer will have the right license and will not encounter any problems with WGA.

    If you go to http://www.bay-wolf.com/downloads.htm you can get the files you need to add the final finishing touches to the clean installation such as the Dell OEM logo and the Express Service Code program.

    Good Luck! :-)
    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    Friday, June 19, 2009 11:48 PM