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How to change Win98 License Key without reinstalling

Posted on 2004-04-05
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
Hello!
I´m taking over the IT management of a small College, and althought the College has all licenses of Win98 that it´s using, the old management had installed it with wrong CD Keys..
So to make everything stand on the law I need to change these keys to the correct ones (that I already have)... Is there a way to do this without reinstalling all windows 98? There a quite a few machines... and will give me a lot of work to do so.....


Thanks in advance...

Ps.. Would like to give more points, but only have a few....

Fernando Dallabeneta
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Question by:corposemalma
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Accepted Solution

by:
NWCS earned 20 total points
ID: 10760733
CLICK ON START
RUN
TYPE REGEDIT AND HIT ENTER
NAVIGATE TO THIS LOCATION

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version


in the current version folder you will find the product key, simply double click on the key
and edit the key to be what you want.

Make sure to use the Dashes betweek each section of letters and numbers
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Assisted Solution

by:blue_zee
blue_zee earned 40 total points
ID: 10761058
All the above and much more with WinGuides Tweak Manager (and no need for registry editing):

http://www.winguides.com/tweak/

Scroll down for the free trial download.

Zee
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10761637
" WinGuides Tweak Manager " program doesnt have an opinion to change Windows License key at all... Or I didnt found it

And changing ProductKey on registry doesnt change the key at all (if a use a program like AIDA32, I still get the old key...)
When you mean dashes, you say it would be like that: ( 'xxxxx'-'xxxxx'-'xxxxx'-'xxxxx'-'xxxxx' )   ???
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Expert Comment

by:NWCS
ID: 10762048
Yes you are doing it correctly!

You could always try searching the registry for the actual product key that you are trying to get rid of and if you can locate it elseware then change it there.

I have used the method i gave you 100's of times and it works fine for me each time.

If you are uneasy about editing the registry then back it up before you change anything.

If you have the certificate of authenticty for each PC that you are putting the product key onto then as long as it is in that string of the registry you will have no problem. I have never had it come up as  a different key once i changed it over to the modified key.

Microsof is going to stop supporting windows 98 in 2006 so as long as you put the product key sticker on the side of the case so when someone calls to get MS support they give them the right number, you wont have  a problem. And if they do decide to look in the registry for the key, which out of the 200 times a called them for windows 98 they never did, it will show up as the product key you changed it to.

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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10762450
I don´t  have any sticker to the cases (its an open contract), neither need support too.. but still its important to the key stay correct...

It´s strange because, althougt I had change the key in that way, and had rebooted, still AIDA32 give-me the old key...

It´s like Windows has a Hidden place to store the real key...
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Assisted Solution

by:rayt333
rayt333 earned 20 total points
ID: 10762644
maybe AIDA32 stored the key in itself when it was first installed and doesn't check for new key when it is ran.
Try removing (uninstalling) AIDA32 and then change the Key then install AIDA32 again and see what it finds.

As a side note as well, the old key will be stored in the backup copies of the registry and if the registry is restored then then the old key will be back.  So be sure to delete the back-up copies of the registry and make new copies as well.
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Expert Comment

by:blue_zee
ID: 10763546

You are correct regarding CD Key, I was thinking owner and organization.

I don't think it is possible to hack the CD key inserted in the registry, but I stand to be corrected.

Zee
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10767418
Reinstalling Aida32 didnt help at all..

Just guess that I´ll be needing to reinstall all the machines with win98....

Damn, old management !!! : P
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by:blue_zee
ID: 10767469

>>Damn, old management !!!<<

ROFL

Zee
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Expert Comment

by:NWCS
ID: 10767604
Corposemalma, maybe try getting a different utilty to check the product key in windows 98


Try this one
http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html

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Expert Comment

by:rayt333
ID: 10770024
Go to the following key in the registry:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
then find the "ProductID" and delete the whole key
If you remove the "productID" then it will require one to be added before Windows will start and run
Just put the new product key when prompted on next boot.

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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10771225
HAHAHAHA!!!!!

Very funny, look at this:

* Deleting the ProductKey from registry only Works on OEM instalations
* Belarg got the Key I´he typed in ProductKey ('XXXX'-'XXXXX' and so on, the problem are the " ' " quotes : P )

So I deleted the productkey and run Belard again, and I got the old cracked Key (althought ProductKey is deleted from registry, and there are no other traces of the invalid Key on the registry too).
Went in a Content search(find text in files tool found on TotalCommander), in all C: and found the bastard Key on \windows\System.dat  but changing System.dat will give-me a bad windows registry, and windows will come um with a backup again :P...
AH ha! It gets even worst... I´ve discovered that the original key generated by Microsoft that I have doesnt work with normal Win98 installation CDs, and I´ll need to buy the Media from Microsoft!  : O

Now I need to:
Call Microsoft
Pay for replacement CDs (that the College never received at all, Software retailer FAULT!)
Wait for a week or more
Reinstall all the machines : (

Well, just updating the list:
Damn, old management !!!
Damn, Software retailers!!!
Damn, Win98SE !!!
Damn, Microsoft !!! : P
Damn, crakers that cant do a good utility to change License keys !!! : P

See ya next month (when I finish all this and have time to spare :P)
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Expert Comment

by:blue_zee
ID: 10772429

Glad you're still laughing...

Zee
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10773894

 >>>Glad you're still laughing...<<<

HEHE
Well, there are only two options avaliable:

* Laugh and start working..
Or
* Cry and run to mother´s arms..

HEehe : D
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Expert Comment

by:NWCS
ID: 10775666
You should compare the price of windows 98 against windows XP Pro

If it is not that much and your systems can handle XP then is would go that route and get a little more up to date then windows 98

Of course you may have a specific reason for running 98 in which case best of luck
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10778290
Well... The hardware will not handle it...

Will left the question open, so if somebody find a way to do it until I finished reinstalling all machines, I´ll be glad hear from you : P
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by:rayt333
ID: 10778387
<<  I´ve discovered that the original key generated by Microsoft that I have doesnt work with normal Win98 installation CDs >>

You do of course know the product key will only work for the correct type of install disk.
As in a key for an OEM version will not work for an upgrade version or a full version. Also a Win98 key will not work with a Win98 SE installation. So you just need to find what the type of install disk does your KEYS you already have goes to, then find one copy of that installation CD and use the different keys when installing on different computers.
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Assisted Solution

by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 20 total points
ID: 10779033
Back to the same registry location:
Version Number will give you Win98 or SE
Product Type will let you know if it's OEM (115)
(in this case RegistrationExtDll value is a give away!)

But if you have valid licences for all the machines & just haven't installed them no-one short of BSA are going to complain - are they?

Just keep the valid licences safe, make sure you don't exceed the number of workstations the licences cover & find the next thing to worry about :)

BTW changing the Product Key in the registry doesn't affect the displayed registration number in System, you can either recalculate it from the number below the barcode on the Auth Cert or delete the Key from the registry & wait for Win98 to prompt you on reboot when it will do it for you in exchange for the appropriate Product Key for that installation
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10779414
>>> But if you have valid licences for all the machines & just haven't installed them no-one short of BSA are going to complain - are they? <<<

Don´t know... Dont wanna risk         : b

About working or not... Microsoft had  email-me the wrong key : P


Product Type will let you know if it's OEM (115)
(in this case RegistrationExtDll value is a give away!)  <-  ??????????????????

The versions arent OEM...

Deleting the key doesnt makes windows 98 ask fot it
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Assisted Solution

by:Boycer
Boycer earned 20 total points
ID: 10789307
Hi corposemalma

You may have to delete both the product key entry and the product ID# entry above it. The product ID #  is generated or computated when you input the product key. The product ID # is the one you see when you look at system properties.

Deleteing only the Product Key and replacing it will probably not have any effect on the existing product id #.

But, if you delete both, then you should be prompted for a product ID or Product key and then you can type in the correct one.


It is worth a shot.

Boycer
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10792183
Delelting Product Key and Product ID didnt help...

Found in Current version a option (REGDONE) wonder if changing this value would askme to redo The registration, but the value is 01 00 00 00 dont know to what value should I change it....
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 10792369
I think this value is for online registration with the update site.  As far as I know it is either on (01) or off (00).  Set at zero the javascript on the update page stops you downloading Windows updates.  Good luck with it but I don't think this is the answer :(
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10809437
Changing it doesnt help, and doesnt block windowsupdate system
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Assisted Solution

by:kabaam
kabaam earned 40 total points
ID: 10813527
try this little app.  It has an option to view and change the product key
http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder.shtml
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10816851
Must be kidding me... Bandwitch exceeded.. will need to try latter :'(
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10817376
Nah! Didn´t help... only change Windows XP Key, not Win 98...

: (


Does anyone one knows any other utility or tweak to do this?
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Expert Comment

by:NWCS
ID: 10817547
http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/repair_xp.htm#View%20Product%20Key%20XP

Try this link,
Scroll down to the How To Uncover Windows XP Product Key and click on that link
***it works on 98 to, i tried it***

Click and save the file from the link in this new window
Run the program
It will pull your product key and allow you to change it in this utility!

Good Luck!!!
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10822394
That program only change the ProductKey on registry... Doesnt help me...
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10822524
IIHUUUULLL!!!! I´ve discovered how to do it! : D

Just change ProductKey and delete DigitalProductID

And you´re ready to go!!! : D  Thank godness!!

Will split points later to all whom helped me!          ; )

Thank you all !!!

And may the force be with you...
Fernando Dallabeneta
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10824505
Heheh... Deleting both DigitalProductID and ProductKEY will leave Windows with no KEY at all... : D
None program found Windows Key after it (  UNKNOW KEY ; )   )...

So I guess (almost sure), that DigitalProductID is the encripted KEY (its on registry in a HEX value : D )

The solution will be either delete DigitalProductID (because you cant change it, its a HEX value) and change the ProductKEY mannualy or use the KeyChanger from here:

http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/keyfinder.exe

I´m closing, so
IF Someone knows how to change the HEX value: Corposemalma@bol.com.br will be nice to hear from you ; )
Or post here and send me a mail about it : P

Enough talking!  See ya! And Thanks Again!
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by:blue_zee
ID: 10824667

Não tem que agradecer.
;-))

Zee
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Author Comment

by:corposemalma
ID: 10828681
EPA!!!  Hehe

: -D
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by:gurmeete
ID: 11152215
Can somebody help me. My PC runs win XP home edition. Lately it slowed down takes long time to open files etc. Scan with PCcilln antivirus and cleaned the virus from the system. The virus was SPYW_PPNETWORK.A and SPYW_GATOR.A  The probles now is I cannot send e-mail but can receive them. I receive error "Netscape is unable to open the temporary file. Check your "Temporary Directory" setting and try again". I tried to configure my outlook express as alternative but I still cannot send emails but can receive them.
Thank you
Gurmeete.
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by:rayt333
ID: 11157777
gurmeete
Welcome to the site, before you go any further please take the time to read the FAQ's for the site and see the proper way to ask questions. The following link has many of the help files that will explain how the site works.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp
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