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XP Pro - Corp to Retail / OEM

Hi Experts,

I am doing some work for a company that has around 20 PC’s running XP Corp. They own genuine CD Keys, so I’m guessing it was just Techie laziness.

Is it possible to convert from Corp to OEM/Retail?

If I manage to change the P.I.D/CD Key, what about Activation?

Will I have to reinstall and if so, can I reinstall Retail/OEM on top of Corp?

Cheers :o)
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6 Solutions
I think the best and quickest way is to contact microsoft in your region/country


it is possible i think but quite a lot of work.


I think you have to do the repair install to change to OEM license

here's also a MS article about it:

Hope this help.


Is it possible to convert from Corp to OEM/Retail, not retail  
If you understnd what OEM is, original equipment manufacture.
Frequently asked questions about Microsoft Windows OEM

MS does offer this.
Preinstalling Microsoft Windows XP by Using the OEM Preinstallation Kit, Part I

OEM discussions about liscensing

How to enable 48-bit Logical Block Addressing support for ATAPI disk drives in Windows XP
This article describes the Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) 48-bit Logical Block Addressing (LBA) support for ATA Packet Interface (ATAPI) disk drives that can increase the capacity of your hard disk to more than the current 137 gigabyte (GB) limit.

I think it all depends on how much time you have how you image this operating system to a company., how much down time to change over, and of course the costs.

Hope you can find some ideas from these or a direction.
It is not an easy answer. I hope more experienced EE will hop on board.
Best Wishes

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MS's article above is only for changing the Volume License key in the Corp versions. To change the type of installation to OEM (Not sure if retail works), follow the procedure below:

OEM XP Pro can be used to repair install a "Corporate" VLK XP, but it must be run from Windows.  When booting from the OEM XP Pro CD the repair option is not available. To get the option to Repair Install follow the steps below.

1. With Windows XP running.

2. Insert the OEM XP Pro CD.

3. Select install from menu.

4. You will get the warning message that upgrade is not available.

5. Select "new installation" and specify you want to choose the install partition after reboot.

6. Reboot

7. After reboot, setup will copy files to a temporary location.

8. At the first setup screen; press "Enter",  [do not choose the "R" option]

9. After you accept the license agreement, the  option to Repair  will be offered.

10. Proceed with Repair Install

It is unlikely the repair option is not offered in step #9; but if it isn't and you choose to reinstall, you will lose all information in the "Windows" and "Documents and Settings" folders. All information in My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, email, contacts and all applications that place key values in the registry will need to be reinstalled. You should abort the setup and explore other options.
You want to ask your reseller about Volume Licensing.
Ok to change a windows OEM to a retail you are goin to copy the disc into a folder on your computer then find the setup.ini file and at the end you will see something that says PID and it will have numbers these number are whats important the first 5 numbers determines how the cd will behave will it allow a clean install or upgrade or just a clean install the next 3 numbers decides the type of keys it accepts.  these numbers are
Retail = 51882 335
Volume License = 51883 270
OEM = 82503 OEM

The fun part is if you wanted a retail cd that only accepted OEM keys you could do this
MIX 51882 OEM but you get the drift after your done burn what you changed make sure its bootable and have fun with your new xp install.
Even if you do a repair install it will not activate the only way to change a OEM to a retail is to reinstall it.  It will just get stuck in the activation stage if you try to do a repair install bacuase not enough of the OS has changed.
I converted XP Pro corp to use a XP Pro retail key quite recently. Microsoft even supply a tool to do it: http://catalog.microsoft.com/genuine/purchase/UpdateInstructions.aspx I didn't have to reinstall anything, I didn't even have to insert the XP disk.
Interesting... never knew there was such a tool as smiffy13 linked to. That should definitely be the first thing to try.

Whatever the case, I disagree with venom96737 and cschipper.

I've also changed a XP Pro corporate key to an XP Pro retail key by doing a repair installation.
Consider this:

The Corporate versions usually do not have CD Key tracking from Microsoft Activated. This is the best since you have the flexability to move XP from system to system. The Licenses are purchased with corporate flexability in mind. The OEM version is cheapest, but is married to the comp it is installed on and when it dies, so does the OEM version...yikes.  The retail version gives you some flexability, but you have to call MS each time to reactivate. The only basis for retail is that you get tech support from MS for 30 days or something like that.  GL!
So ISoul has done Corp to Retail, and like I said before I have done Corp to OEM, so if the tool that smiffy13 linked too doesn't work, a repair install defintiely will do the trick. Just keep in mind you have to do all your updates and patches to system files again after doing a repair install.
If you just want to change the licence key use magic jelly bean, find it on google run it and change the key, done.


Isoul XP corp retail and xp pro retail are the same thing corp is just pro with a few added networking features IF you read my post you will see also that retail to retail can be done because of the PID number 335 it accepts retail key.  They are talking taking a computer that only accepts OEM liscences and placing a retail key on it.  This can not be done read closesly my post again and you will get it.
venom96737, the parts where the original poster says "20 PCs running XP Corp" and "Is it possible to convert from Corp to OEM/Retail" leads me to believe they are going from Corp to OEM/Retail, not OEM to Retail.

The Magic Jellybean did not allow me to change my corp win XP install to an OEM or Retail key. It said "Invalid Key" like when you try to install a corp key on OEM/Retail CD or vise versa. The MS tool that smiffy13
suggested did allow me to change it to an OEM key from corp, and then required activation. So smiffy13 gets the gold star on this one it looks like. ;-) gj
the magic jellybean is only to find the current key if you need to reformat/reinstall curent operating system.
You cannot use this key on any other operating system than the current.
When you buy a new OEM xpcd  this comes with its own new  Reg Key.

WilloWombleAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the advice, but I haven't had a chance to test out all the different theories yet.

I did check out the MS Key Update Tool that smiffy13 mentioned, but that has the same problem as Magic Jelly Bean. It seems to check the hardware ID against the new CD Key and responds with "Invalid Key"

It's easy enough to force the issue via msoobe.exe doing the Activate/By Phone/Change Product Key thing, which did change the P.I.D to an OEM one, but it still complained like a bitch when I tried to activate it…

Anyhow, I'll keep trying :o)
Oh well - I had high expectaions that the MS utility would do it. venom may be right.
Hi smiffy13 some ideas to mull over,
firstly hows your knowledge on installing OEM, as i did mention this in the first post above,
original equipment manufacture, which simply put can only be installed on that computer as a new system install. You have to delete the partition every time, if you donot it creates some kind of a new administrative account which can prevent your system from booting.
OEM versions of Windows XP: basically they are exactly the same, OEM is cheaper.
The OEM version can only legally be sold with hardware,
 although these days, any piece of hardware, even a power cord, qualifies.
 Although if you get a complete generic OEM version, it contains the same software, it has the following disadvantages as compared
with the retail version:

1. Its license ties it permanently to the first computer it's installed on. It can never legally be moved to another computer,
sold, or given away.
2. It can only do a clean installation, not an upgrade.
3. Has no MS support.

So I believe this could not work if you wish to use this OEM system on more than one computer.

I have seen a few comments on this subject here at EE so please excuse my babble but will pass on what I can remember.

One possible avenue, is to create a master image on one hdd, fully installed then ghost this image over to all other clients but not activate them.
As they access the server it is not necessary to activate them.?
Only the server is activated.?

Another option for 20 or so workstations is install XP up to the the point after it has copied all files for the installation process,
 before it re-boots into the install mode.
 Ghost that image and reproduce a few CD's, or put it on a server, use a client boot disk, boot from the disk, log on as
a special id that can be created for this process, let the login script call the ghost.exe from a mapped drive
and restore the image over the network.
So I may not have this information correct but am  hopeing as you have the experience can get some ideas from it.
Cheers Merete

Did you try that "repair" procedure I mentioned?

Like Merete said though, OEM ver is locked to the first comp it is installed on, so unless you know what comp each key was originally installed on, you might have to buy new copies. Since you have 20 PCs there, if you do have to end up buying new ones, buy a Volume License copy (which start at groups of 5), then you can just use JellyBean or whatever.
WilloWombleAuthor Commented:
I have bought an XP Pro OEM CD (under the counter) from my local retailer, who had no idea what system I was going to install it on.

As long as the CD Key is valid (PIDGen.dll) for the version you are installing, I can’t see how there would be a problem.

It would seem that the hardware profile/ID is generated during setup, so if you used that key to install, it will be valid on that system.
As long as the Key had been issued by MS and hadn’t been used to activate a different hardware profile, it would happily activate over the net.

OEM is a rather misleading acronym, which now seems to refer more to the type of licensing agreement (restricted it to one machine)

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