Undo a Win XP installation

My situation is a client that had a Compaq system with WinXP Home installed.  The motherboard went bad & I transplanted their harddrive, etc. into a new box (same processor/differnet motherboard).  Hoping that starting up from any XP Home CD would redo the drivers, I borrowed a friend's 'upgrade' CD.  

But XP installed the Upgrade & required that serial number.  Since I can't use it, & it won't accept the original serial number, is there a way to 'undo' this installation?  The client is going to buy a new copy of XP.


Ted Swenson
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if above does not work then check this out to wipe out completely.
check out this article on wiping out hard drives and some free tools
Fatal_ExceptionSystems EngineerCommented:
You might try Last Known Good, but I do not think that would help since you already overwrote the original installation.  You should have just booted up with the new MB and let XP find the new hardware.  Then installed the MB drivers, and reactivated the OS with MS.

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Fatal_ExceptionSystems EngineerCommented:
I agree with shivsa here too.  Unless there is data that needs recovering, wipe the drive and do a clean install.  And why is your client purchasing another edition?  Did he loose the Compaq Recovery cd?  Does he want to upgrade to XP Pro?  The Product Key should be on the side of the case.  MS requires that all systems have this attached in some way, especially OEM editions.
tcswensonAuthor Commented:
Thanks, all.  My responses:
1. A clean install would be preferable, but I'm trying to preserve data if possible.
2. The Compaq Recovery CD wouldn't work without Compaq hardware.
3. Simple rebooting produced a Blue Screen, most likely associated with new IDE controllers.

I tried the original Product Key, but it wouldn't work with the version I was trying.
U can recover the data from CrazyOne recover tool list and then u can do the clean Install.
Fatal_ExceptionSystems EngineerCommented:
Yea, forgot about the restrictions OEM puts on their installations.  ARGH!!!  Good reason to build your own, eh?
your client would probably come out better if you bought a new harddrive and reload xp on it and contact microsoft about situation and they will give you a activation key. this way he can use old harddrive as slave and then transport old files to new hardrive, then when comfortable format old hardrive and then they will have more harddrive space. I had a mother board go bad so reinstalled xp on new system it prompted me that my activation would need a new number and gave me a number to call microsoft and it is still working
I haven't seen this suggestion yet.  And it is probably the best for getting your data.
Get a brand new hard drive when the new version of XP is purchased.  Put the new hard drive in as master and the other drive as slave.  Install on the master and all should work fine.  You will now have access to the files on the other hard drive and the data should be there.

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Fatal_ExceptionSystems EngineerCommented:
One thing to remember here though, you will/may have to take ownership of the files on the old drive (if NTFS).  Admin privelges a must.  And if any of the data was encrypted, well forget about retrieving it.  

Notice that it is XP Home.  Encrypted is impossible (I believe I remember that, at least).
I would not buy a new copy of xp until I had to use the one that came with computer the product key should be on side of case then contact microsoft when prompted. I had to do this but it was with a copy that I bought and when motherboard went bad all I did was reload wp home on new system and when it told me my activation was no good it gave me a phone number to call I did this and explained to tech they gave me a new number and it is working
Fatal_ExceptionSystems EngineerCommented:
When you activate XP, it creates a hash combined of your Key and HAL, then sends it to MS.  When you change out your MB, a new HAL is created and the Activation is enabled.  

Just FYI

Oh... and you are right.  Home does not have the encryption attribute.  :)

If I were at home at the moment I could have verified that one.  I had XP Home on my system until I won XP Pro at a MS seminar.  I put that on my machine and installed XP Home on my kids' system.  I don't use encryption, though.
tcswensonAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone.  I knew I could install a new OS on a new drive, etc. but I was hoping to simply install over the top: get updated drivers, but maintain installed program availabilty.  Didn't quite happen, though.

The solution (such as it was), was to install a new copy of XP, but to a new folder, e.g. Windows2.  XP saw this like a 'dual-boot' set up.  When all was done, I could get to the user's data, but had to reinstall programs.  Fortunenately, it was not too big a deal for this one.

Thanks again for all the input.

So who gets the points?
Fatal_ExceptionSystems EngineerCommented:
Thank you TC for the assist.

Happy Holidays!

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