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Dell Computer w Windows XP Home Edition installation failure

    Question

  • Moderator, please feel free to repost.  I could not find a Windows OS or Product Key or XP Installation Forum.  

    Hard drive crashed bought a new one.  I already had Windows XP Home Edition CDROM from Dell - which is what the tag on the box and what the preinstalled os is.    

    Inserted the CDROM and it auto started installation.  I choose new installation and it requested the product key.  Got "The CD Key which you entered is invalid.".  Called Dell, they said it should have worked and suggested I go to Microsoft.  I spent 4 hours on the phone and online with Microsoft.  I spoke with Customer Support who sent me to the Product Activation Team.  I spoke with the Product Activation Team - who expected that the product was already installed - they don't deal with Product Keys.  They transfered me to Jade in some Technical Support Team.  She told me to go to Dell - until I told her that Dell sent me to Microsoft already.  She gave me 3 options:  1.  Contact Dell   2.  Go to www.microsoft.com (ARGH - no more detail other than the home page.  WHAT????)   3.  Pay MS technical people $59? an hour for support.  She said outright that I did not understand computers.  I told her I am technical and have been using computers for over 40 years.  What I don't understand is how I could buy a license (from Dell) and then find that it is invalid.  This is the second time that I can remember that I had to re-install the XP OS on this box and I was assuming that MS was indicating that I installed it too many times - but that wouldn't occur until activation time.  After all this, she said that she would transfer me to Software Support and they would assist in resolving my problem.  After a long pause an auto-operator answered that if I wanted DELL(????) software assistance I would have to pay as your need support.  Real nice treatment Microsoft.  If I buy a MS OS license - aren't I a Microsoft customer?  

    Anyway, what good is buying an XP CDROM and having a valid Product Key if the software won't install and neither Dell nor Microsoft cares?  

    Dave

    Monday, July 26, 2010 6:37 PM

Answers

  • Hello bornleader,

    OK we have discovered the problem!

    Your installation disc seems to be genuine and we know from what you posted it is a retail disc.

    As I noted, trying to install the contents of the retail disc with an OEM product key (and vice versa) will always generate the error you received.

    The reason is that the retail product's license allows much more flexible installation and support terms to the license holder as compared to the OEM license, and such additional usage rights of course are sold at a higher price than the lesser and less expensive rights conveyed with an OEM license.  It would be self-defeating if Microsoft allowed the higher end product to be activated with the lower end product key.  Kinda like an airline permitting coach passengers to sit in first class without paying first class prices.

    So what you need is a Dell OS Reinstallation disc.  Please fill out this Dell form to request such:  http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dellcare/en/backupcd_form?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&redirect=1


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    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 11:48 AM

All replies

  • Hello bornleader,

    Most of the time the Dell Operating System Reinstallation Disc for XP does not ask for the Product Key because of the OEM SLP activation scheme used.  If it does, the PK on the Certificate of Authenticity (CoA) should be accepted by XP Setup as long as the editions match---IOW, if the CoA is for XP Home, that means you need to use an XP Home installation disc.

    Dell OS Reinstallation discs in the XP era were a light green silk-screen for XP Pro and a maroon silk screen for XP Home.  They are NOT hologrammed Microsoft discs.

    Since the hard disk drive died and you replaced it, the assumption is that this is a bare-metal disk, and that you physically installed the new disk, physically removed the old disk, and are starting the computer from the Dell OS Reinstallation disc.

    So you have a Dell, with a CoA affixed to it, and the CoA says XP Home Edition and Dell on it, and you are using a real Dell OS Reinstallation disc.  If it wants a Product Key and after entering the PK it says that this PK is invalid,  there is only one other explanation----that you entered the PK incorrectly.  Microsoft product keys do not have the letter O or the numeral zero, then do not have the letter I or the numeral one.  The letter B and the numeral 8 are often confused with each other.


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    Monday, July 26, 2010 6:56 PM
  • Thanks for the tips.  I checked the Product Key again with a magnifier glass.  There are no letter Is or Os (or zeroes).  Pretty straightforward letters, very clear.  Entered again carefully one character as a time.  No Joy.  

    But...  now that I look more closely - the CDROM is not Dell branded.  It is only Microsoft branded.  It is original, all hologrammed and branded original.  That must be the problem.   I have a CDROM from MS and an OEM Product Code.  I don't see the problem with that.  OS software is OS software.  I have an OS license and OS software.  Seems like a match made in heaven to me.  

    Dave

    Monday, July 26, 2010 8:33 PM
  • Hello bornleader,

    Aha!  We are getting somewhere. :-)

    The only genuine hologrammed Microsoft XP Home installation discs that will accept the product key from the Dell Certificate of Authenticity for XP Home are from the systembuilder/OEM/small manufacturer sales/distribution channel.  This disc will have "For distribution with a new PC only.  For product support, contact the manufacturer of the PC" or very similar words, embedded within the hologram in the upper left quadrant.

    If the Microsoft hologrammed disc for XP Home does not have the above wording, it is from the retail channel and will be either an Upgrade installation disc (which will have the word "Upgrade" embedded in the hologram) or a full license product installation disc.  These two retail discs will NOT accept a product key from a CoA, and will throw the invalid product key error message.

    There is a third possibility, that of a counterfeit OEM disc.  This disc will have the OEM wording "For distrbution with a new PC only etc etc" but in reality the disc contents are not OEM but Volume Licensing contents.  So if the disc has the OEM wording but still rejects the CoA product key, then here's what to look for to screen it for the possibility of being a counterfeit:

    1.  Is the hologram embedded within the plastic of the disc or is it a thin label affixed to the top surface (genuine=embedded)?

    2.  Navigate to the \i386 folder on the CD and locate the setupp.ini file.  This is a small text file with two sections.  In the second section the last line is similar to this:  Pid=XXXXX-XXX.  A genuine OEM CD would have the letters "OEM" where the last three Xs are.  A counterfeit OEM CD usually has the values associated with Volume Licensing where the three Xs are, such as the number "270" or any value between "640" and "649" inclusive.


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    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 2:37 AM
  • The CDROM has no printing in the upper left quad - just images like a briefcase, two people, a mouse.  

    1.  The hologram is embedded, there is nothing on the surface other than the hologram and printing.  It states Windows XP Home Edition and has a very fancy box underneath which has a bunch of 1s and zeros on the perimeter and Microsoft in the middle.  Very high speed looking.  

    2.  Here is the info from the setupp.ini file.  

    [Pid]

    ExtraData=786F687170637175716954806365EF

    Pid=76477000

    So I take it that this is a CDROM that was purchased retail and the OEM source is Microsoft.  Then why won't the Dell Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Product Key work with it?  }:-(  

    Dave

     

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 5:29 AM
  • Hello bornleader,

    OK we have discovered the problem!

    Your installation disc seems to be genuine and we know from what you posted it is a retail disc.

    As I noted, trying to install the contents of the retail disc with an OEM product key (and vice versa) will always generate the error you received.

    The reason is that the retail product's license allows much more flexible installation and support terms to the license holder as compared to the OEM license, and such additional usage rights of course are sold at a higher price than the lesser and less expensive rights conveyed with an OEM license.  It would be self-defeating if Microsoft allowed the higher end product to be activated with the lower end product key.  Kinda like an airline permitting coach passengers to sit in first class without paying first class prices.

    So what you need is a Dell OS Reinstallation disc.  Please fill out this Dell form to request such:  http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dellcare/en/backupcd_form?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&redirect=1


    Buy Office 2007 Now, Get Office 2010 Free http://office2010.microsoft.com/en-us/tech-guarantee/microsoft-office-2010-technology-guarantee-FX101825695.aspx?CTT=97
    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 11:48 AM
  • Aha!   So not all OS CDROMs and Product Keys are created equal.  What a shame to make it so complicated.  Well I searched through my stack of CDROMs and found the OEM HP branded OS reinstallation disc.  It got past the Product Key and then failed with a fatal exception 0D at 00E8:000054BC.  

    Seems like I could save myself a lot of time and just junk this previously working fine box.  This is taking way too long to restore.  

    Dave

     

     

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 5:04 PM
  • Aha!   So not all OS CDROMs and Product Keys are created equal.  What a shame to make it so complicated.  Well I searched through my stack of CDROMs and found the OEM HP branded OS reinstallation disc.  It got past the Product Key and then failed with a fatal exception 0D at 00E8:000054BC.  

    Seems like I could save myself a lot of time and just junk this previously working fine box.  This is taking way too long to restore.  

    Dave

     

     


    HP is not Dell and won't work.
    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 8:44 PM