Install XP on HP Pavilion 533w using Dell CD

A customer has a Pavilion 533w that came with Windows XP.  No recovery CDs were provided, instead it's got the recovery software on a partition.  There is a sticker with their XP Product Key on the machine.  Well, you guessed it -- the hard drive failed.

I have a Dell XP Home CD that I slipstreamed to SP2 using nLite.  I was able to install XP onto this machine without issue.  I was never prompted for a product key.  Shortly after boot I was presented with the Activate Windows dialog.  I closed it because I wanted be sure I did this right.

Tried to launch the Activate Windows program again later and it's not there.  The first time I saw it it was waitng for me in the system tray.  I tried finding it in the Start menu but it's not where Windows Help says it should be (All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - Activate Windows).

Next, I tried to download Microsoft Antispyware because I knew it would validate my install before downloading.  I tried the method where you plug in your key, but it didn't match.

So, can I use the techniques explained elsewhere to replace my product key?  Is there another way to make this work?

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DrDamnitConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Well, I'm no lawyer, and this is more of a copyright question than anything. However, I would assume, that as long as you installed the same version fo the software that they had before, and then used something like MagicBeans Keyfinder ( to exchange the keys to the key that the customer legally owns, then you would not have violated any copyrights because they have the same binaries that they had before as well as the key and the license to run those binaries.

Magic Bean, by the way, is nothing more than an automated version of this MSDN article:;en-us;Q328874, and is NOT a crack.

The best way, however, would be to contact Dell and ask them what you should do in order to keep from doing something illegal.
RickStrobelAuthor Commented:
Looks like it worked!  Used Magic Jelly Bean to change the key.  The Activate Windows icon was flashing.  Activated without a problem.  Went to download Microsoft Antispyware and it validated my Windows.  Looks like the problem is solved!

This seems totally legit as far as I'm concerned.  The customer had a license to use XP Home on this computer but no media.  I had media from another computer that I used to install.  The correct product key is now activated.  No harm, no foul.

I can't think of any reason to be concerned about future updates or other authenticity problems, can you?
If you are using legit keys, and legit software, and the owner of the computer has the rights to use that software, then there should be no problem. If you're not....beware....the "eye" is recording this conversation :-)

Functionally, if Microsoft's authenticiy check bought it, then you're home free.
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