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In-place Reinstall of Windows 2000 Without Product Key

Posted on 2006-11-17
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
Cutomer's laptop won't fully boot and needs an in-place reinstall of Windows 2000. During the reinstall I will be asked for the product key, but since I can't boot up the laptop in order to run a keyfinder program to retrieve the key, I have no way of finding it. She has the original upgrade disk, but has lost the key.

I've tried installing the hard drive as a slave in another machine and then running Jellybean Keyfinder, but it only returns the key of the primary master drive, not the slave. Tried to boot the drive with ERD Commander and run the keyfinder from there, but that too fails.

Two Questions:
1. Is there any way to run a keyfinder utility on a secondary drive to retrieve the key from the registry on that drive only?

2. Is there any way to do an in-place reinstall of Windows 2000 without having to enter the product key?

Thanks,

rball
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Question by:rball
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12 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Wayne Barron
ID: 17969994
Contact Microsoft.
If it is infact a legit Microsoft Windows 2000 CD.
Then Microsoft will give you a key to use.

I have done this so many times that they know me by name.

Take Care
Carrzkiss
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Author Comment

by:rball
ID: 17970050
Yes, I have phoned Microsoft on such occassions in the past and have never had a problem with them. However, I run into this problem often enough that I wish there was some kind of a utility that could simply find the key on a remote or slave drive. I find it frustrating that that I can't access the key when I can access the drive as a slave. It would save me the hassle of phoning Microsoft every time.
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Wayne Barron earned 500 total points
ID: 17970228
After reading what you had here, reminded me of a question I was part of in 1995.
Check it out.
http:Q_21666127.html#15493965

This SHOULD do exactly what you want.

Let me know?
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Author Comment

by:rball
ID: 17970356
carrzkiss - That looks EXACTLY like what I need! I'll download it and give it a try when I'm back in the shop tomorrow and report back here again.

Thanks,

rball
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Expert Comment

by:bgbeer
ID: 17970369
first of all, there's no way you can recover a key code without it running or unless you have the physical coa.

second, have you tried to go into safemode? if so, what affect did it have.

this may be a simple case of repairing the mbr(master boot record) and the boot record.

the way this is done is to boot to the cd, then go to recovery mode choose the windows installation you want to recover and the type fixboot and then after you do that type fixmbr after you get the response indicating that the records have been change then reboot to windows to see if it buts to windows.

does the system get to the
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Expert Comment

by:bgbeer
ID: 17970374
also, run your erd commander and recover to the last known good configuration.

it would'nt hurt to check and see what's running in the back ground. (services)
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Author Comment

by:rball
ID: 17971974
carrzkiss - I downloaded the Produkey utility and it did exactly what I needed. Perfect! This will come in quite handy in the future as I often encounter the problem of having to recover a product key from a non-functioning pc via mounting its hard drive as a slave.

Points are yours!

rball
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Expert Comment

by:Wayne Barron
ID: 17972632
Glad that it worked, I had never used it, so was unsure of it.
But when the other person (from the link above) said that it worked,
I took their word for it.


Take Care rball
Carrzkiss
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Expert Comment

by:bgbeer
ID: 17973681
carrzkiss, if it worked, you deserve the points.

up until now all of the  productkey recovery programs were only useful if the hard drive was accessible as master.

my comments were not intended to make anyone upset. I was only expressing what we had found and also researched at the time.

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Expert Comment

by:Wayne Barron
ID: 17973996
No problem bgbeer.
That is the reason why I included the link, as I also did not think it was possible either.
Until "leew" provided the link, and "coolmarine24" said that it had worked for him.

It always helps to read provided links before adding in Input, this helps to make sure that everything goes smoothly, and no one steps on any ones feet in the process of trying to assist those that need the help.

Take Care All;
Carrzkiss
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Expert Comment

by:Wayne Barron
ID: 17993232
Thank you "kodiakbear" Lets keep this place clean like we all like it to be.
Have a great Holiday Season.

Carrzkiss
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