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Windows XP SP1 Activation Change Product Key RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am trying to activate windows (30 days expired), with a different product key than the one I installed it with. The lab computer that I am using is old and has many problems. Some of which are the firmware/software that is used conflicts with Windows and sometimes we need to re-install Windows altogether. Its a really big hassle, anyways we just got done re-installing Windows yet again. I use the same Product Key everytime I re-install, but last time I couldn't find it anywhere so I decided to use another Product Key just for installation. Now that my 30 days are up and the activation window pops up, I go to Change Product Key, enter the old key and I keep getting invalid Product Key. The old key is Windows XP SP2 by the way. The other one that is installed is XP SP1. Anyways, I really don't want to re-install Windows again, its not the installation itself that bothers me, I've done it close to 30 times. Its the fact that I have to re-install all the lab software, i.e. LabVIEW. My point is that I can't seem to change my product key, and yes it is a genuine product key. Does it seem like there really is no way around this and that I will have to re-install Windows with my old key again?

    Monday, October 19, 2009 2:18 PM

Answers

  • Hello RedShift31,

    If you have the pretty retail box and the CoA that is on the boxtop of the retail box, do you have the inner folder that has the Product Key yellow-orange label?  I think having the CoA will let you at least get a replacement CD if not a product key, too.

    You should contact Microsoft to see if they can replace at least the missing CD, if not both the CD and the Product Key.  Assuming you are in North America, see this MS KB to get the phone number for the MS Supplemental Parts Team http://support.microsoft.com/kb/326246.  In order to get a replacement product key, you have to go thru normal support channels as described further down in the MS KB article.

    The product key updater http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=45668 can change Volume Licensing installations to OEM or retail installations, but the catch is that you need to have access to the console to run the updater.  Since you can't log on at the moment, I don't think it will help.  Have you tried to log on is Safe Mode?  I think if your Activation grace period is up you can still log on in Safe Mode.....


    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    Monday, October 19, 2009 5:30 PM
  • Hello h351,

    According to the terms of the End User Licensing Agreement, you are not permitted to move an OEM license for Windows XP from one computer to another.  By installing a new motherboard (which MS considers to be the base or foundation component of a computer) you have created a new computer.

    To read the EULA (assuming the computer is working, of course) click Start>Run, type winver and clik OK.  In the resultant Window, click on the Linkto read your EULA.

    You will need to purchase a new license for the version and edition of Windows you want to run on the computer.  The old license from HP that came with the computer is still "married" to the motherboard that came with the HP.

    Not what you wanted to see, but the truth nonetheless.

    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    Friday, October 23, 2009 12:17 PM

All replies

  • To help us analyze and troubleshoot the issue you are experiencing, please download and run the Microsoft Genuine Advantage Diagnostics Tool

    Once you run the tool, click on the Continue button, then click on the Copy button and paste the report into your post. 

    Thank you!


    Carey Frisch
    Monday, October 19, 2009 2:39 PM
    Moderator
  • Yea... I can't download and run that because I can't login to Windows. The activation window blocks me since my 30 days are up.
    Monday, October 19, 2009 4:09 PM
  • Hello RedShift31,

    If you can't log on to Windows then you are limited to options that don't require user interaction, like a repair reinstallation from CD or by a remote registry edit:

    http://michaelstevenstech.com/xpfaq.html#018
    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    Monday, October 19, 2009 4:24 PM
  • I'm hoping I don't have to repair install, like I said I would then have to reinstall all my software. Anyways, the product activation window shows up, and I click activate by phone, then Change Product Key, I enter my other product key and it keeps saying invalid product key. Does your remote registry edit actually allow you to change the key or just pops up activation window and you enter key there? Because obviously I can see the change product key screen.
    Monday, October 19, 2009 4:43 PM
  • The product key must be of the correct type.  For example, if you installed Windows XP using a Retail Full License installation disc, then you must have a Retail Full License product key and not an Upgrade or OEM product key.  Please describe the disc you used to install Windows XP.
    Carey Frisch
    Monday, October 19, 2009 4:48 PM
    Moderator
  • RedShift31,

    The problem is that the type of Product Key you are trying to enter does not match the type of Windows installation that is now on the computer.

    XP Pro comes in many different "flavors" and the flavor of the product key has to match the flavor of the installation media.  That means if you use a Volume Licensing CD to do the installation, to change the key at that particular screen you have to use a Volume Licensing Product Key.  If the CD was an OEM CD, then you need an OEM key.  If the CD was retail upgrade, then you need a retail upgrade key.  If the CD was full retail then you need a full retail key.

    The remote registry edit is described in the link I posted.  It works for Volume Licensing product keys, but if the issue is mismatched keys, I doubt it will have any more effectiveness that what you are doing now.

    Does the computer have a Certificate of Authenticity affixed to it?  If so what version and edition of Windows is listed on it?  Does it have a manufacturer's name on it, or does it read "OEM Product" or "OEM Software" on the CoA? Don't post the product key.
    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    Monday, October 19, 2009 4:53 PM
  • The computer doesn't have anything on it, its custom built by my supervisor and I. We have the original Windows XP box if that's what your talking about and yes it has a CoA. It is Windows XP Pro SP2, while the installation along with the Product Key being used right now is Windows XP Pro SP1. I doubt its OEM Since the CD and manuals and everything all came in a Microsoft box. As for the other Product Key. That CD came with some parts bought from another company, so I'm guessing I'm out of luck since that probably is OEM meaning I will have to re-install Windows, AGAIN. Unless there is some hidden way to change OEM key to Retail...Thanks for the help.
    Monday, October 19, 2009 5:17 PM
  • Hello RedShift31,

    If you have the pretty retail box and the CoA that is on the boxtop of the retail box, do you have the inner folder that has the Product Key yellow-orange label?  I think having the CoA will let you at least get a replacement CD if not a product key, too.

    You should contact Microsoft to see if they can replace at least the missing CD, if not both the CD and the Product Key.  Assuming you are in North America, see this MS KB to get the phone number for the MS Supplemental Parts Team http://support.microsoft.com/kb/326246.  In order to get a replacement product key, you have to go thru normal support channels as described further down in the MS KB article.

    The product key updater http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=45668 can change Volume Licensing installations to OEM or retail installations, but the catch is that you need to have access to the console to run the updater.  Since you can't log on at the moment, I don't think it will help.  Have you tried to log on is Safe Mode?  I think if your Activation grace period is up you can still log on in Safe Mode.....


    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    Monday, October 19, 2009 5:30 PM
  • I'll try the product key updater in safe mode and if that doesn't work I'll just re-install Windows. I have both CD's, its not that I lost them or need to replace them.
    Thanks

    Monday, October 19, 2009 6:48 PM
  • By the way, I can't boot to advanced menu. F8 doesn't work, neither do any of the other function keys (just in case heh).
    Monday, October 19, 2009 8:00 PM
  • Hi sorry I have a question regarding your prior point about mismatching version of XP:Users Medals

    I have a PC (with XP Home) that's about 5-year old and it's running slow, so I bought a new motherboard and processor and RAM to upgrade the PC. I thought I could just replace the motherboard and CPU and use the same hard drive (with the OS installed). But after I replaced the hardware it no longer boots. My friend told me my only option is to re-install XP but I don't have the original CD (it's a retailed HP computer), he let me use his CD (XP Professional) but when I enter my product key it kept saying it's an invalid key. I think it's probably because the original version is Home but I'm reinstalling from Pro. Is it a way to get a XP Home CD from somewhere then re-install it using my original product key? Thank you.
    Friday, October 23, 2009 5:06 AM
  • Hello h351,

    According to the terms of the End User Licensing Agreement, you are not permitted to move an OEM license for Windows XP from one computer to another.  By installing a new motherboard (which MS considers to be the base or foundation component of a computer) you have created a new computer.

    To read the EULA (assuming the computer is working, of course) click Start>Run, type winver and clik OK.  In the resultant Window, click on the Linkto read your EULA.

    You will need to purchase a new license for the version and edition of Windows you want to run on the computer.  The old license from HP that came with the computer is still "married" to the motherboard that came with the HP.

    Not what you wanted to see, but the truth nonetheless.

    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    Friday, October 23, 2009 12:17 PM