Windows XP Home pre-install Product Key doesn't match XPH COA Product Key Sticker on Case
Posted on 2007-03-28
Hi all, I've reloaded several Windows XP Home and MCE edition computers for clients over the last several months and I've noticed that the 25-byte (5x5) Product Key on the COA sticker on the computer case never matches the Product Key that I retrieve using a Product Key extraction utility (Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder).
I know the keyfinder works properly because I CAN extract the proper keys on my personal machines that I've built -- and it's correct. Just not on the client computers.
All these clients computers are the typical bought-in-a-retail store HP/Compaq or Gateway that has Win XPH preloaded. Do the OEMs preload these boxes with an mass-licensed OEM product key, but the include a unique sticker on the box that is to be used in the evnet of a customer reload? I mean, to date, NONE of the computer's pre-installed Win XPH installs have product keys that match the label. And these are legit computers purchased a BB, CC, etc.
When I reload these boxes (usually necessitated due to rampant spyware, etc.) I just use the PK on the COA, activate, do the WGA BS, and away we go. Then the keyfinder DOES return the same number.
But never on a stock factory load. Any ideas?