Help with Windows XP Professional product key/activation.

I reformatted a computer utilizing a purchased version of Windows XP Pro instead of the cd that came pre-installed on the system as I was not aware that the system had Windows XP professional pre-installed (the system was brought to me with no supporting information from another office and the hard drive needed to be reformatted).  The purchased version had 5 activations with it, which at the time were all used up and again, I did not know :-).  The system was asking for activation within so many days and another employee knew that the system was purchased with the software pre-installed and the location of the software.  She did a repair on the system using the product key from the software originally installed on the system.  The system is still asking for activation, obviuosly it does not recognize the replaced product key.  Is there a way that we can remove the product key from the purchased version  eliminating the activation requirement without reformatting the entire OS?  I hope that this all make sense.  

Thanks.
gone_ridingAsked:
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Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
Whenever you install Windows XP (Retail Version) is required to be activated. IOn the activation screen you can chnage the product key, but that isn't going to do you any good asit will still need to be activated.

If you try to activate Windows with a product key that has already been used it will refuse activation. If you have a genuine reason for needing to re-install windows such as a system failure etc then Microsoft are normally quite sympathetic - ring the number on the activation screen and talk to them and explain the situation
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Alan Huseyin KayahanCommented:
              Hi Gone_riding
                    Yes you can change the product key.
            1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Activate Windows.
             2. Click Yes, I want to telephone a customer service representative to activate Windows, and then click Next.
              3. Click Change Product Key, type the new product key, and then click Update.
              4. Now type your Original Key (newly purchased maybe) and then go on activation.
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willcompCommented:
Large OEMs (e.g. Dell, HP, Lenovo) use generic XP keys tied to their hardware.  If you do a reinstall or repair install using an OEM XP CD and product key affixed to PC, activation is required.  In some cases a call to MS is required.

The easy way to read or change a key:
http://magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder.shtml
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