How to tell if a registration key is valid RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am thinking about buying a copy of XP Home from someone who has uninstalled it from their machine.  I understand the only way this would be ok is if it's a full version and not OEM or Upgrade but he doesn't know which it is.  I do not want to go through the process of installing if this key is not going to work.  Is there any way to find out if the key is a valid Full Version?
    Friday, July 3, 2009 8:45 PM


  • Hello Don Lafferty,

    There is no product key "clearing house" that you can run a product key thru to see if it is genuine.  And, having a genuine Product Key does NOT necessarily mean that the installation of Windows is properly licensed.

    When buying a second-hand copy of XP, as an individual consumer you should be buying either a full retail or upgrade retail license for XP.  These come in nice pretty retail boxes that you would see on a store shelf.  The Certificate of Authenticity is affixed to the boxtop of the retail box.  Inside the box is a nice pretty CD holder folder.  On this folder is a yellow-orange label with the Product Key printed on it.  The most recent editions will have "Proof of License" printed on the product key label, and he label will have a security thread in it.  The CD will be a copper hologrammed CD.  The hologram is embedded within the plastic of the CD and is NOT a thin label on the top surface of the CD.  The upgrade license CD has Upgrade right on the CD.

    The seller is not permitted by the OEM EULA to sell the OEM Windows license separate from the computer onto which it was first installed.  So even if the Windows in question was fully genuine on the seller's computer, the EULA prohibits the seller from selling it to you without the computer.
    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    Saturday, July 4, 2009 4:16 AM