Either XP OEM info or a way to repair without Product Key

I am a support technician at a local support center, and hence quite often need to perform OS Repairs (not reimages) in order to replace corrupted system files. That being the case, I have ran into a major issue with a lot of these machines being the OEM versions of XP...

When I attempt to perform a REPAIR from an XP Home or Professional Retail CD, I am prompted to enter the Product Key. As this is a retail disc, it will only accept a retail key.

I know that the setupp.ini file designates which version the CD is, however what I would like to find out is what the particular keys are so that I could create a few repair discs that will actually accept the owner's key without needing to perform a complete reimage or spending an hour manually copying files in order to get the system working again.

Is there a way to extract these values from the computers' respective registries and then make a few custom discs?
If not, what I need are the values that need to be entered for the following OEMs.


Any help would be greatly appreciated as all of the machines that we personally sell come solely with restore discs, not an actual OS Install Disc which really shoots me in the foot and shoves my... nevermind about that second part.

If this is not really an issue, then is there a way to get an XP Install CD to perform an OS Repair using the computer's existing product key rather than prompting for a new one? This should not really be an issue as the repair looks up the registration information, network card configurations, and a wide variety of other mindless things.

Any help is greatly appreciated and if there is anything that you need from now until the end of time, I will be in your debt.
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Bob LambersonSoftware EngineerCommented:
theravibesAuthor Commented:
Bob, that is not quite what I am looking for as the OEM keys are quite literally printed on the side of the box. What I am looking for is a way to use those keys in an install cd so that I can perform a Repair.
One can not apparently use a Retail disc to repair a damaged OEM installation due solely to the PID value assigned in SETUPP.INI.
I need that value so that I can make a few repair discs that will work with HP, Compaq, Dell, Sony, Fujitsu, Gateway, eMachines and Toshiba's respective computers.

It would be a lot easier if the manufacturers actually included in install disc, however that is not the case any more... Many manufacturers are not even including restore CD/DVDs for your computer. That being the case, if your HD dies or for some absurdly idiotic reason you upgrade your drive, you no longer have the ability to restore your computer to its former state. The only solution is to buy a retail CD to install pay the same thing to the manufacturer to get the restore CDs.
Check out this link:


Then, read the following sections at that link in their entirety. I think this will get you around the problem you are having with the Product ID key, which is explained in the article.

Self-reactivation of Windows XP
How to perform a 'New' or a 'Repair' installation of Windows XP

Post back here with results. Good luck.
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I know of a person that purchased a new Dell.  When it was discovered that the unit did not include an operating system disk, this person started complaining to Dell.  Dell ended up sending that person a disk.  Just an anecdotal story, I know it will not help you resolve your problem.

BobLamberson suggests the magical Jelly Bean solution.  He's right, it works in not time.  I believe it's time to start plainning ahead by recording these activation numbers in advance.

Don't these knucklheaded manufacturers believe in putting the numbers on the cases anymore.  For my own use, I'm building my own computers.......to heck with Dell.


Bob LambersonSoftware EngineerCommented:
> OEM keys are quite literally printed on the side of the box.
Do you mean the box as in computer, or the box as in the box the retail soft ware came in? If it is the former, the jellybean solution is just what you want. If the key is printed on a label on the computer from the OEM, then that is the number you want. If this fails your best bet is to call the oem and either get repair disks or find out how to work around that.

theravibesAuthor Commented:
Coderlen, that website is closer to the point, however it does not address the problem that the Product Key that the CD wants is a Retail one, and the computer has a Branded OEM one.
Is the I386 Directory on the local drives?  Can you created the Windows XP Setup Disks ie floppies?  If so you can utilize those to boot the machine and point to the files on hard drive.  doing so will load the original setup files for the OEM edition and then the existing Product Keys should work.  I know booting from disks is slow, but this is a possiblity.
theravibesAuthor Commented:
Holy crap...
Am I really the most knowledgable guy about how the XP install discs work?!?!?


I need the PID values for the manufacturers respective OEM keys. Through modifying this value, one alters whether the disc is a Windows XP Home Retail, Windows XP Home OEM, Windows XP Home VLK, Windows XP Professional Retail, Windows XP Professional OEM, Windows XP Professional VLK, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition OEM, Windows XP Tablet PC Retail (yes, this value does exist), Windows XP Tablet PC VLK, Windows XP Media Center OEM, Windows XP Media Center Retail (Again, the value does exist), Windows XP Media Center VLK, and everything else.

In OEM, there is the Standard OEM value that is used for all OEM versions purchased along with any hardware device.
There is also a specialized value for HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Gateway, eMachines, Dell, IBM and so on. This is what prevents you from entering the product key from your HP system on the Dell Install CD.
Currently, Dell is the only company that actually ships their systems with a true copy of the Windows XP Install CD.

There is also a specialized value for HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Gateway, eMachines, Dell, IBM and so on. This is what prevents you from entering the product key from your HP system on the Dell Install CD.
Currently, Dell is the only company that actually ships their systems with a true copy of the Windows XP Install CD.

Well, I don't know.  Here is a company that sells Windows OEM disks, and I believe they do so legally or I would not post this.  Check out their explanations that seem to differ from yours somewhat.  As you  inferred,this is an OEM Windows XP Pro disc but the last one I purchased for my new homebuilt computer was a Compaq branded OEM full Windows XP Pro installation disc.  It works and I slipstreamed it and activated the darn thing.


Here is their short answer which helps make your point:

<<OEM Version

Windows XP Pro Full Dell CD (CD is labeled Dell, However, Will load on any PC)

Product Key for registration

Integrated EULA (license)

SP1 for most current version of Windows XP>>>
The disc I used happened to be a Compaq branded disc


(don't mean to lead your thread in this direction, but wanted to say this business gets mightly complicated regarding OEM installations or seems to)
theravibesAuthor Commented:
What I need is the value to put in the SETUPP.INI files so that I can run a System Repair on the system using the Product Key that is quite literally attached to my clients' computer cases.

I can not see what the major issue is here.

If you have one of these older intstall cds through these respective manufacturers, can you put it into your computer and copy the value of the following file into a message?

The whole reason why I need this is because when one puts an XP Install Disc into a computer and attempts to perform a REPAIR, then one needs to re-enter the Product Key.
The Product Key Type is determined based off of the PID value in the SETUPP.INI file on the CD. If the CD says "Only accept Windows XP Home Retail Product Keys", then the data entry window will only accept a Home Retail key, regardless of the fact that the system already has XP Home OEM installed on the Hard Drive... The same one that we are attempting to repair by the way.

That being the case, the only way that I can repair these computers at this moment is by removing the Hard Drive, placing it into a Linux box that I use for data recovery, and overwriting the Hard Drive's contents with an XP Home base installation.
If you run the system repair it should boot and have the product key from the machine cd that you used pre-entered into the system.  Now all you would have to do is goto activate, then by telephone and there is an option to change the product key, from there enter the product from the machine you want to use and then activate windows.  I tested the procedure recently and it worked without a glitch from two different machine manufactors.
sirbounty, is there a way to PAQ this question, and still refund the points? The reason I ask this is that the question is a very good one, and I was hoping myself to find an answer to the question. But even if the question doesn't get answered, if it's PAQed, it would still be in the database, and would be a good starting point for anyone who wants to conduct further research into it.

PAQed with points refunded (500)

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modulo, thanks for PAQing the question.
If this is still an issue this site http://www.thetechguide.com/howto/setuppini.html

has the following information on constructing the PID.

WinXP's setupp.ini controls how the CD acts. IE is it an OEM version or retail? First, find your setupp.ini file in the i386 directory on your WinXP CD. Open it up, it'll look something like this:


The Pid value is what we're interested in. What's there now looks like a standard default. There are special numbers that determine if it's a retail, oem, or volume license edition. First, we break down that number into two parts. The first five digits determines how the CD will behave, ie is it a retail cd that lets you clean install or upgrade, or an oem cd that only lets you perform a clean install? The last three digits determines what CD key it will accept. You are able to mix and match these values. For example you could make a WinXP cd that acted like a retail cd, yet accepted OEM keys.

Now, for the actual values. Remember the first and last values are interchangable, but usually you'd keep them as a pair:

Retail = 51882 335
Volume License = 51883 270
OEM = 82503 OEM

So if you wanted a retail CD that took retail keys, the last line of your setupp.ini file would read:


And if you wanted a retail CD that took OEM keys, you'd use:


Note that this does NOT get rid of WinXP's activation. Changing the Pid to a Volume License will not bypass activation. You must have a volume license (corporate) key to do so.

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So far I've seen a lot of cut-n-paste from varioius sites that are really showing how to get around some copyright-protection schemes that Microsoft has introduced. He's not looking to bypass the need for a serial number.

What the guy wants is a way to run a repair install without having to wait around and manually enter the product key. I've run into this a lot in my shop where I have basically the same issue he does.

To do this one has to create an unattend file that passes needed parameters to winnt.exe setup during runtime. One of the best descriptions I've seen to do this is at
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