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Reinstalling XP Pro using product key on COA w/ out original recovery CD.

I have a few PC's that we acquired second-hand. They both have XP Pro COA's, but the HD's were formatted when I got them, and I didn't have the recovery CD's (Acer AcerPower F2's), so I used a generic product key to install XP Pro thinking I was covered by the fact that I have legitimate COA's if there was ever a question. Well, now that Microsoft has deployed their Genuine Advantage update, I am getting notifications about being a victim of piracy.

I tried to change the product key using Microsoft's described method (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/328874/en-us) but the system is not accepting the product key listed on the COA. In doing some research I have found out that the key listed on my COA is probably for the corporate release of XP, as opposed to the retail release (it does not say "OEM Software" on the COA), but I haven't been able to get it to work with either release.

I believe we are legitimately covered by the license that was originally included with this machine, so I need to know how to get this up and running legally. Any ideas?
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brainbolt
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brainbolt
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2 Solutions
 
venom96737Commented:
could you look at the coa in system properties and tell me the value of the secound set of numbers shold be 3 numbers.
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brainboltAuthor Commented:
When I say "COA" I am talking about the Certificate of Authenticity sticker attached to the case of the machine. I have not been able to successfully reinstall the OS because setup will not accept the product key listed on that sticker, so I cannot access system properties through the OS. Essentially, there is no OS right now. I could reinsall XP Pro using the same generic product key I used before, but that would eventually lead me back in the same situation I am in now.

In other words, the OS I had installed before was based on a bad product key, so I don't think anything it can tell us will help me solve my current problem. The question is, how do I utilize the legitimate product key I have only in the form of a COA sticker?
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KenneniahCommented:
If it was a preactivated OEM key, you'd need to use an OEM cd to install Windows XP with.
It would NOT be a corporate key as they don't come on labels, and they are they same for all computers in the volume licensing agreement.

To keep preactivation when re-installing...first you'd need to get an OEM cd, then follow the directions at:
In fact you do not use the key on the computer, you use the one listed at the site.
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/deploy/oempreac.mspx
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brainboltAuthor Commented:
Is there a way for me to tell if it is a preactivated OEM key? The top of the COA says "Windows XP Professional 1-2CPU" and under that is says "Acer Incorporated"
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KenneniahCommented:
Yes it was a preactivated key then. Normal OEM COA labels (like if you bought one from Newegg.com) will just say OEM. If the company is listed on the label as with yours saying Acer, then it's almost 99% that is was a preavtivated key.
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venom96737Commented:
ok look inside of your system properties and you will see a long number right under registered to.  After the first - it will say OEM if its OEM if not tell me what the numbers are.
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brainboltAuthor Commented:
venom96737, I do not have the OS installed. I can't install it because the setup application will not accept the product key I am trying to use.
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simpswrCommented:
You will have to activate unless you install with an Acer installation disk . . you should be able toi use any "non-branded" OEM installation disk with the Product Key on the tower . .
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brainboltAuthor Commented:
I installed the OEM version of Windows, which did not ask for the product key, but did ask me to activate. I called Microsoft's activation help line, explained the situation, and they helped me activate the system. Thanks for the help.
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