Xp Activation problem.

Posted on 2004-11-11
Last Modified: 2011-04-14

I have a machine in which basically everything is changed out hardware wise.  At bootup it says that my installation ID is invalid.  Call Microsoft and go through the phone activation with voice response agent same thing.  Is there anyway to get around the activation process?  My customer still would like to save the contents and settings of the current drive without reformatting.  There must be a better way.  Iappreciate any and all responses to my question.


Question by:compucharley
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Hi compucharley,
    here's my experience:
    1-i have a legal copy of windows xp with COA
    2-i have frequently changed hardware, reinstalled xp, and had to call microsoft activation by phone
    3-i explain the situation to them
    4-they say okay, here's your new id

    did any of these steps not happen in your case?

    Expert Comment

    Before formating backup the activation files

    as long as the HW is still the same between reinstallations it works flawlessly. When changing HW it won't work....

    I suggest trying the activation over the net instead of the phone. They really won't hassle you. I've reinstalled 4 times in a single year on one of my licenses without running into any problems.
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    there is a way to get around the activation process but i think its illegal and therefor can and will not discuss it here.

    i will however point you to your best buddy google...

    But the easiest way is to call MS ( its automated ) or activate thru internet.

    Calling takes only 5-10 minutes.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment


      Hi compucharley,

      This article explains why the ID has changed and alot about the Windows XP
      installation and what is checked as well as alot more.

     As previously mentioned call the Microsoft Customer Support Representative and tell
     the what's up and they'll give you the long number to type in to activate WinXP.
    This is the MS support article on activating by phone

      Good Luck.
    LVL 69

    Accepted Solution

    hello compucharley, sad news I am afraid,
    from experience when you change more than 3 components in a machine you have to purchase a new xp cd.. Micrososft classifies this as a new machine and therefor the specs of her bios which is what is stored at Microsoft as a database regestration no longer matches her system. True true..

    Other option to save her stuff.
     slave her hdd to your spare machine  ( both have compatible windows of course)using your cdrom ide cable and power plug, plug them into her hdd instead oh do make sure the pin is set to either slave or cable select and you unplug your power before doing this, I have done this many times and can just let the hdd hang.. reboot your machine, it will now detect hers as a spare drive. You could back up her hdd entire drive if its not too big.
    Now while her hdd is slaved run a few chkdsk etc and make sure its not infected, etc.
    Here is a great little tooll called magic jellybean, Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder v1.41
    it will search her hdd for her xp cd key. I recomend it and then write it down..
    once done and all her precious stuff is safe, you could safely reformat her machine.
    But after reading your post fully a format will not solve your problem.
    Howeveryou can install xp without regestering it but she will have no updates and no warranty. You can still activate it..
    Regards Merete

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    about meretes comment ...

    this must only be valid for OEM licenses??

    I have done this a few times myself and a call to MS has always cleard things up.
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Mikho have you actually replaced the mainboard and processor video card in a machine that had a xp cd before the up grade and still used the same xp cd?
    Would be interested in reply. As I have built a few machines and changing these components does render that one copyof xp obsolete and have had to purchase a new cd.
    Changing things like hdd or cd roms etc does not invalidate the cd.
    Look forward to hearing your response.
    Regards m

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    my response ..

    with a few i ment twice ...

    once because the computer burnt...
    we replaced it with a complete new parts, mainboard (incl. new cpu)
    almost everything except the case, harddrive and floppy.

    had to call MS customer support and explain what happened and after a talking with them ... no problem.

    second time same solution ... called MS customer support ..explained the problem and we worked out a solution.

    The other 56823856 times ive installed XP has been with a coorporate cd that I admit .. therefor my question about the OEM license since that is very closely connected to exactly that computer.

    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    thanks lol 56823856 times  busy lad ehehhe, in my case it was when upgraded a machine replaced most parts accept for tower rendered the xp pro cd obsolete and the customer had to purchase a new cd even though he did not intend to use the cd on any other machine.
    The other time I did replace a burnt mainboard and processor power pack etc and even ringing MS did not solve the situation. I even quoted the key on the original cd as a reference point,, I do however live in Australia maybe the services are different here. They will only provide a new key if the machine has not had more than 3 main components changed or the  key has been lost.. or I am guessing depends who the computer tech is ;)  I am just one person lol..
    Yes I have a corperate cd I use to repair machines but if the customer does not own a cd then it does cause problems for them if they wish to do there own work. Re-installs etc..
    At the time I was most outraged and felt it was unfair to customers who have just had unfortunate problems and upgraded everything..
    Interesting hey.. Thanks again Regards M


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