Can a Volume License XP Pro SP2 CD be used for repair installs on ANY XP Pro PC ?

Can a Volume License XP Pro SP2 CD be used for repair installs on ANY XP Pro PC (except possibly those installed from a Volume License CD)?

The seller never mentioned that it was a Volume License version (about which I am quite irritated about) so it is returnable for refund.

The ONLY POINT of this question is about the Volume License part. I know for a fact that if were OEM or Retail Versions I could use it to do Repair Installs on **ANY** XP Pro PC (except possibly those installed from Volume License CDs).

BTW this is a new never Activated CD with MS logo on it. Which is 100% irrevelent. Whether it has been activated or not is irrelevant to doing Repair installs. One may have to call MS but it will still be approved.

This is a $120 purchase. Once I open the package (as for all SW sold in the US) it CAN NOT be returned. Hence if you are not 100% sure of your answer, please do NOT reply to this particular post.

Also, for the same reason,  I need to know your source for your answer: Actual experience with a Volume License CD, a reliable web source (in this case please provide the link), or a reliable associate.

Regarding whether an SP2 Win Install CD can Repair a SP1 PC, do not address that issue because I know that it can do that. Again this post is ONLY about the Volume License part.

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In a word, No.  When you do a repair install you must enter the product key.  You will have to enter the Key that came with the CD then you just changed your license.
mgross333Author Commented:

(1) I do not understand your reply. Why does your reply not apply to ALL Windows Install CDs (i..e OEM, Retail) as they all have product keys. PLEASE REPLY.

I believe the way this issue is handled is when I do a repair with a CD other than the one originally used to install Windows on the PC a window pops up requiring me to call MS for ACTIVATION ONLY. And then MS always approves the activation.

i.e Please be clear. This Question is only about the Volume License issue. Are you saying that this would work if the CD used to do the repair install with was OEM or Retail but will not work with the Volume License CD????  I ask because it sounds like your objection would apply to all CDs used for repair installs other than the one used to originally install Windows on the PC. And I know for certain that both OEM and Retail CDs do work (even if not the original one).

(2) In addition, as I recall Repair Installs never ask for the product key (but I am not sure about that). If I am wrong about this, it does NOT affect the rest of what is above.

XP repair installs do require a product key.  In addition, to use existing product key for the PC being "repaired" requires the same type of install CD originally used (OEM in most cases).

Are you sure you have a volume license CD?  If so, it should not have a product key.

Here's some information on converting install CDs.  Will also provide you some additional insight.
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Sorry for any confusion.  To stay legal, you must use the same license CD to do a repair instal.  If its OEM, you must use OEM.  If its VL, you must use the VL.  If you use a VL CD to repair an OEM instal, you change the instal to VL and the sticker on the box no longer matches what is installed and you are then breaking the law. Otherwise you are breaking the law.  Sometimes you can use a program to go back and change the key, but this would be considered a shady area.

As far as activation goes, VL does not require activation.  
True, VL does not require activation, but you still have to enter the product key when doing a repair install which JasperIAM implied.

One cannot just purchase a single copy of a VL CD legally.  It is supplied with the VL.  I suspect you have an OEM copy which will work with any XP Pro OEM installation.
For clarity:  Any PC purchased with XP preinstalled almost surely has an OEM license.  I don't, and neither would any other sytem builder in their right mind, purchase the more expensive retail version.  Dell, Gateway, HP, and other vendors use OEM version.
mgross333Author Commented:
Your replies are going in the wrong direction.

#1 I fix PCs for a living fill time.

#2 Legal or not it works. One can do a repair install with a CD different than the one used to install Windows on the PC. When you go to activate it a Window pops up with a number to call MS at. You either get a voice system or a person. Either way at the end you get a long number to enter on the PC being repaired and then it activates. However, I have always used a Retail or OEM CD to do the repair install and the PC was always installed from one of the two (usually from OEM). I have never used a VL CD which is the point of my post.

For reference on this whole thing see  (find the Accepted Answer by elvin66 AND the post from elvin66 directly above the accepted answer and note the reference to a repair install in the one above)  which confirms what I am saying above. Note: I am the one who accepted that answer, of course (because it worked !) but I am not elvin66 and did not write those posts.

So, PLEASE, NO more replies here that I must have the CD used to install Windows on the PC as this is just not true!

> Are you sure you have a volume license CD? (from willcomp)

The CD I have received (from has a  GREEN MS label saying a "volume license  product key is required" and there is a key on the back of the CD case. The label also says Windows Systems Client Business and "all use subject to volume license agreement". Note eDirectSoftware is in the business of selling MS and other vendor SW (especially CD-Only versions as well at retail.) They have been in business 3 years. However their ability to answer this kind of question is limited (if you can get their support group to answer at all !!!!.) So please no suggestions HERE to call them, They just tell me to call MS (who wants $35 to answer this kind of questions at their paid tech support group).

Again, in general IT CAN BE DONE. The question is can it be done on a OEM or Retail installed PC using a VL CD to do the repair install. Please focus on THAT question only. And my request to not reply unless you are 100% sure, still applies.

Yes, as long as you use a volume license key.  My experience has been that XP will reject a key from another version (OEM, retail, VL) even during a repair install.  My original response included a link that discusses how to find and change the PID for each version.

Although apparently you did, one is not supposed to be able to purchase a VL copy singly.  A valid VL key can be used for unlimited installations.  Number of installations is controlled only by licensing agreement.

I build and repair PCs (have my own business) and have quite a bit of experience with repair installs.  Windows 98 and Me will read existing product key during a repair install and insert it automatically.  Windows 2000 and XP (all flavors) will not, necessitating entry of a key compatible with version being installed.

From what I've seen, Dell, Gateway, and custom built PCs will usually activate via Internet after a repair install.  HP and Compaq require a call to MS.
mgross333Author Commented:

I am becomming concerned with your reply. I have done a number of Win XP Repair installs but mostly using the customer-supplied CD (i.e OEM); I am 100% sure I used MY OWN RETAIL XP SP2 Cd to do a repair install on different customer PCs two months ago AND two weeks ago and both worked and I had to call MS to get it to activate in one of the two cases and not the other one. But there was another XP case three months ago where it failed and I could not figure out why. Unfortunately I do not remember if the failure was at the point the product key was entered or further down the line, but I think it WAS when I entered the product key.  Further down the line does not count in the context of THIS question as repairs installs sometimes fail even in the best possible circumstances.

Please clarify when you say above
> Windows 2000 and XP (all flavors) will not, necessitating entry of a key compatible with version being installed
What do you mean by compatible?
(a) The same type of key, ie. OEM if OEM install was originally done, Retail if Retail install was originally done, VL if VL install was originally done?
(b) That I must use the original install CD to do XP and 2K repair installs?

Meanwhile look at . Please note I made it clear that I wanted to use a Win 2K CD bought from eDirect Software and hence it was not the one that came with the PC. Don't you think that Expert jkr sould have said NO, it will not work, yet he said YES? Or do you think his response is incorrect and he should have said it will fail? Because you claim it will fail for Win 2K and Win XP.

However, also note that the MS KB article jkr refers me to COULD be interpreted to mean the OEM CD that came with the PC and jkr could have not realized that that article does not work for any other CD so ......

Also the post at (elvin66 posts referred to above in this thread) basically is about the same thing, right?
In my post THERE of 01/06/2006 04:05AM PST near the top I said
"I suspect you are assuming the repair install CD came with the PC. It did NOT come with the PC; it was bought separately at CompUSA from Microsoft."

Well if you look farther down, none of the experts who responded said that I could not do that, that I had to use the XP CD that was originally used to install the PC from. All the dialog was on how to activate; no one said, STOP you will never get by the point where you enter the Product Key.

Also regarding your link above , at the bottom it says the author has got feedback that it installs but will not activate?
(1) Have you actually done this with an Win XP install CD to get it to work?
(2) Did it activate?
(3) I have more questions about that link but the rest are academic if the result will not activate, right?

Willcomp, basically what is going on here is that I am loosing business from customers who lost their install CD and need a repair install on their Win 2K Pro or XP Pro systems. So I spent $200 (both CDs) to get the Cds; I already have a Win Xp SP2 retail CD which as noted above in THIS post, I have used successfully (but it does not always work). My $200 purchase was partly based on jkr's post at the EE link above where he assured me it would work for Win 2K Pro. If it will not work I need to get a refund from eDirectSoftware for both pruchases.

So, Willcomp, I must now ask you to go into more detail about your statement
> Windows 2000 and XP (all flavors) will not, necessitating entry of a key compatible with version being installed
First please answer my question above about what you mean by "compatible"

Second, HOW MANY TIMES have you seen it fail for XP and 2K? Once, and you never tried the repair install from different CD again? Or you saw it fail multiple times? And also was the failure right at the point you entered the product key because failures farther down the line can be for any number of reasons as repairs installs have no guarantee of success.


Honestly, I did not read all of the last post.

However, if you use a VL CD, it will work for a repair install no matter what was there first.  I've done it.  However, this IS illegal.  Do it at your own risk.
The key required is one that's compatible with the CD being used (Retail, OEM, VL).  If you want to use the key from a PC, then XP CD must match the version installed on the PC.  You can use any of the 3 for a repair install as long as you use a key compatible with version on CD used for repair install.

Hope that's clear.

Re: changing PID on CDs.  No I have not.  I have CDs for every flavor of Windows from 3.1 on up.

Have I seen installs halt after wrong key was entered?  Yes.  However, you can enter an appropriate key and continue.

I haven't had time to read thru all the other discussions.  An XP Pro VL CD definitely will upgrade Win2K to XP, providing upgrade is run from within Win2K.  Can't upgrade by booting from CD.  Supposedly the retail version will do the same, although I haven't tried it.  OEM will not.  None will repair a W2K install.

Very few PCs have the retail version of XP installed.  I have seen only one.  Customer purchased full version instead of upgrade.

The majority of repair XP installs I do are done with OEM versions of XPH with SP2 and XP Pro with SP2.

You can probably get copies of both by "borrowing" them from customers and burning a copy.

mgross333Author Commented:
Were still not done here. Willcomp, please see my remarks to you below those to JasperIAM.

#1 JasperIAM The ONLY REASON I started this QUESTION was I was doing a repair install INTO (NOT WITH) a VL PC; the CD I was using is 100% irrelevant to this post. The screen said during install (not activation) had to call MS. I provided MS the Prod Keys for the PC and the CD. They refused to approve because they said that Volume Licenses have a Volume License # AND a product key and providing the product key alone was not sufficient and the repair install failed. The company who sold the PC to my customer had gone out of business so she could not get the Volume License number. So she was stuck with paying $200 to get a new Windows Full install CD or getting a new PC. She has chosen to get a new PC.

I am not amused by this at all.

The reason I posted this Question is this VERY BAD experience suggests to me that the Product Key on the back of my new MS VL Win XP Pro SP2 CD is NOT SUFFICIENT and that I also need the Volume License # (not the same as the product Key) to use this CD. And the seller of this CD has NOT provided me that. Now I concede that this is the REVERSE of what you are saying. You are talking about using a VL CD to install into any type of PC (which is my question here). However because in the REVERSE situation (installing into a VL PC) two numbers were required (the product key AND the VL #) I am hesitant to keep this $125 CD.

In order for me to keep the CD (and time is running out on the return period) I need YOU: JasperIAM to reply and say that in your experience when using a VL XP CD to do repair installs into either OEM or Retail-installed PCs, that the only NUMBER required by MS in your experience is the Product KEY and that the VL # (a different number) is not required. That is what I have been trying to get to in this entire post. However, Willcomp's apparent claims that (my interpretation) that one can ONLY do a repair install, with the exact same CD used to install the OS on the PC really slowed me down, right? So I got side-tracked.

JasperIAM, Can you please reply to this in a clear definitive way. With no blurring the edges. Can a VL WIn XP CD be used to do a repair install into either a retail or OEM installed PC with OUT having to supply the VL #??????? Because I am 100% certain there is a SECOND number associated with VL's. And I do not want to ever run into this issue again.

# 2 JasperIAM
>....if you use a VL CD, it will work for a repair install no matter what was there first.
Does "it will work" mean that it will install, run AND ACTIVATE. Because if it will not activate then the rest is useless, right? Please reply with a yes or a no to this question.

#3 Willcomp, Do you or do you not agree ***100%*** with JasperIAm's post of 04/17/2006 05:55AM PDT or not? If you have no experience with VL Install CDs please reply to that effect.

#4 Willcomp, Regarding
> "The key required is one that's compatible with the CD being used (Retail, OEM, VL).  If you want to use the key from a PC, then XP CD must match the version installed on the PC.  You can use any of the 3 for a repair install as long as you use a key compatible with version on CD used for repair install.

Hope that's clear."

It is completely unclear. I have no idea what you are talking about. The key entered during all the repair installs I have ever done was the key on the CD container, folder, box whatever the CD came in. Is not that key the key that is supposed to be used? Is not that key the key that everyone uses. So how could THAT key NOT be compatible with the CD being used??????? I mean it is the key that came with the CD, right? I do not understand what you are getting at here at all. Please clarify this for me.

#5 Regarding
> You can probably get copies of both by "borrowing" them from customers and burning a copy.

Well, I wish I had thought of that earlier. But at this point I have paid for the Win 2k Pro and Win XP Pro CDs so it is too late. Also borrowing things from paying customers is a bit tricky. I don't know what they would think about that. I mean I fix their PC, they pay me, I leave. Borrowing something means continuing the relationshop plus they might be aware that the loan is of questionable legality. In any case, at this point it is academic.

When I use a VL CD to do a repair install, it does not require activation, therefore, I do not have to contact M$ in any way shape or form.  No VL # is needed, only the product key.  I've never heard of needing a VL #, except maybe to get the product key from the Eopen website.

I have used a VL Cd to do a repair install on every type of install and same thing everytime.  It works, no activation, no phone call.  Done deal.

In conclusion, if its a true VL CD.  You will not need to contact M$ after or during install.

What you want to do should work no problems, assuming its a true VL Cd.

In closing, I would like to point out one more time.  Skip this if you want, its for me and my legal team.  What you suggest could be illegal.  First of all, you should not be able to buy ONE XP license and get a VL CD and Key.  Secondly, if you use a VL Cd to do a repair install, you turn your OEM or whatever version into a VL Key, cause you don't activate it, you don't have to call M$ and get the activation code.  VL has NO activation to it.

I hope this is clear enough.  You can do what you want, however, you shouldn't.   :-)

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I don't know how to make it any clearer.  Legally, you use the product key affixed to the PC if it has one.  Would be a good idea to familarize yourself with MS licensing, especially if you are dealing with businesses.

Also thought it was clear that a VL copy can be used for repair install on any version of XP Pro as long as VL key is used.  It is not always legal though.

Yes, I have experience with VL version of XP Pro.
Note that I kept referring to a "valid" VL key.  If it won't install with key provided, probably either the key is not valid or is not compatible with version on CD.  Use info from Petri's web site to determine which type of CD you have.

I know that a VL CD with valid VL key can be used for a repair install on all flavors of XP Pro and that activation is not required.  JasperIAM is absolutely correct.
mgross333Author Commented:
Thanks to all for your comments. We are still not there yet but we ARE close.

(1) When you both say it is not legal, please clarify WHERE the problem will occur (if any).

(a) If I repair a XP Pro PC with my new VL CD and it works and then later the customer tries to upgrade it to Vista (the next MS OS) with a valid (unactivated) Retail Upgrade Vista CD or a Retail or OEM Full install Vista CD, WILL THE UPGRADE FAIL because the install process will detect that the OS is no longer legal OR because such an upgrade requires a VL Upgrade CD if the repair install was done with a VL CD?

I am particularly concerned that future upgrades will rquire a VL CD. Because of JasperIAM's comment "you turn your OEM or whatever version into a VL Key...."

(b) Much MS online SW upgrades or products require a Genuine MS SW test that is done before the upgrade or new SW will be allowed to be installed. Examples are the MS beta Antispyware Product (now callled MS Defender of some such name). I also think (but am not quite sure) that the XP SP1 to SP2 upgrade also requires this test. Will the MS Genuine SW test FAIL after my using the VL CD to do a repair install on the PC?

Note: After using my SP2 VL CD, an SP1 to SP2 upgrade would not be needed but this is JUST one example. MS is requiring the MS Genuine SW test for a variety of online situations now.

(c) Or is the legality problem completely different.  Is it 100% in the LEGAL (i.e Lawyer and Laws) sphere/domain. i.e that all future activities (example (a) and (b) above) will work just fine but if MS's legal team ever finds out I used a SINGLE MS VL CD without REALLY buying an ENTIRE VL from MS, then they might sue me or bring legal action against me or my customer.  IS THAT YOUR POINT?

Quite honestly, I am not concerned about (c). If (a) or (b) are a problem, then I must return the CD and get an OEM or Retail XP Pro CD. The reasons I am not concerned is that I only get 2 -3 requests per year to use such a CD (from customers who have lost their original XP Pro CD only). Second, read my reply to Wilcomp's comment immediately below. But if my situation should change (also see below) then maybe I will look into the legal issue more carefully.

Regarding willcomp's remark

> Would be a good idea to familarize yourself with MS licensing, especially if you are dealing with businesses.
In 14 months of being in business fixing PCs. I have only ONCE helped a business with more than one employee. I have helped home-offices (one-employee businesses) a number of times. However, I have just changed my ads in a way to attract more business customers (because I noticed that the home offices pay better than my regular home customers) and I hope to be going to business's more often in the future, possibly multi-employee business's.

Can you please provide a link or links where I can learn more about MS licensing?

In response:

1.  VLs are intended for customers with large numbers of PCs.  With a VL, a client PC image can be maintained on server and Ghosted to clients installing the OS and applications remotely.  Copies of XP with VL key are not intended for retail sale.  An OEM key goes with the hardware and is not legally transferable to another PC.

MS includes a Licensing Agreement with each version of XP.  You need to read and familarize yourself with them.

The next 2 comments apply to what is actually doable, not what is legal:

a. VL installations have been upgradable with same family heretofore. i.e. W2K to XP Pro.  Can't say what Vista will bring.

b.  No problem with a valid VL key.  Early on, XP Pro VL keys were circulated over the Internet.  MS invalidated those keys rendering it impossible to install SP1 or SP2 on PCs with such keys.

c.  If MS comes after you, your behind will be in much hot water and you are legally liable.  It'll put you out of business and break you.

Link for business licensing info:

mgross333Author Commented:

Thanks for the link on business licensing info and the info on how VL Licenses are used.

Willcomp and JasperIAM,

Willcomp's comment
> VL installations have been upgradable with same family heretofore. i.e. W2K to XP Pro.  Can't say what Vista will bring.

does NOT answer my question. "Same family" is not what I asked about. What I asked about is this:
ASSUME that Vista (or Vista Pro) is viewed in the same family as XP Pro for the purposes of my question. Can a Retail Upgrade or Retail or OEM Full CD be used to upgrade a PC repaired with a VL CD? i.e the question is about whether a non-VL upgrade CD can be used to upgrade a VL PC. Because JasperIAM's comment ""you turn your OEM or whatever version into a VL Key...." implies that AFTER the repair install, the OS is a VL OS. And I want to know if VL OS's can be upgraded with non-VL CDs (assuming the new and old OS are in the same family).

I hope this clarifies my question.

I also would like a reply on the MS Genuine SW test (although I doubt that will be a problem).


I answered the "genuine software question" in response to item 1.b.

It's too early to say about Vista, since too little is known at present.  Speculation is that there may be as many as 5 different versions.  What I expect is that domain network capable versions will upgrade XP Pro and that all versions will upgrade XP Home.  So whatever the XP Pro equivalent version of Vista is should upgrade a VL version of XP Pro.  The XP Home equivalent versions very likely will not.  As stated previously, no one can be sure until Gold Masters are released and that probably won't be until sometime early in 2007.
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