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Making an illegal copy of Windows XP legal

Posted on 2007-07-29
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I bought a used computer that has an illegal copy of XP installed on it, and it fails the WGA test, and cannot get any new updates. I have purchased a new copy of XP, but I don't really want to have to reinstall the operating system all over again unless I absolutely have to.

Somewhere on this site was a discussion of how to trick the existing install of XP into re-registering so I can use the new license key, and then become "legal".

I have searched various keywords, but I have been unable to find that original thread. If someone can locate that thread, I would appreciate it.

Edit: I just stumlbed across the Microsoft Product Key Update Tool, but it says it is for use with an electronic license key. Does anyone know if it will work with a retail license? If so, then I think this solves my problem, no?
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Question by:DanSleep
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LeeTutor earned 375 total points
ID: 19588062
You can use a product such as Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder to change the product key to that for your legal OS:

http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder.shtml

Then, to start the activation:  click the Start button, then click on Run and type or copy and paste this "oobe/msoobe /a"    without the quotation marks;  click OK.  This starts the online activation wizard.
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by:willcomp
ID: 19588162
If your "illegal" copy is XP Pro, it's probably a VL version with an invalidated key. If so, your only real recourse is a clean install of XP (a valid VL key would be needed to simply change key).
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 19588430
willcomp is right I'm afraid, the Key Update tool should be used in conjunction with the electronic key obtained via email from M$, when you run the tool it will look at your installation and provide you with access to order an appropriate key.  If you have a modified system or a VL (volume licencing) version it will abort and tell you a key cannot be issued electronically.  You then need to 'phone M$ for assistance.  Run the tool first and see what result you get.

As an aside M$ may sell you a full licence key that you can use with an XP Pro SP2 upgrade disk which would mean you don't lose access to anything on your drive already.
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Author Comment

by:DanSleep
ID: 19596631
I don't suppose that if the version that is on this PC is NOT a volume license (though I agree that it most likely is) that is would be any easier? I just hate the thought of going through all the reinstall jazz.
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 19596658
Have you tried my suggestion?
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Author Comment

by:DanSleep
ID: 19599928
Lee, I have not tried it yet. My wife had to order the XP from Amazon, so I want to wait until it gets here before I give it a shot. I will let you know how it goes.
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Author Comment

by:DanSleep
ID: 19605039
My copies of XP have arrived. I want to do a full system backup before I proceed. I will do that tonight and try the license key thing tomorrow. I will keep you posted. I would like to leave this thread open for another day or two.
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Author Comment

by:DanSleep
ID: 19613071
LeeTutor, I tried the program you suggested, and it DOES come up with my existing CD key on the used machine, but when I try to key in the key for the XP I just purchased, it gives me an invalid key error. Any suggestions?
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 19613256
Sounds like Willcomp has the answer then; it must be a VL version, which won't work with a regular retail version, and vice versa.  You could try calling Microsoft, as was done on this page, but you may get the same result, unfortunately:

http://forums.majorgeeks.com/archive/index.php/t-71282.html
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Author Comment

by:DanSleep
ID: 19613351
Update: I poked around the Microsoft site and found their Key Update Tool. I downloaded it and ran it. It changed the key to the new one. When I rebooted, I executed the oobe/msoobe /a command and the validation process completely successfully.

So, it appears I am good to go. Thanks to all for their suggestions.
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 19613372
Interesting.  Wonder why the difference between the results of Magical Jelly Bean and the MS tool (I've downloaded both and tried both with good results.)
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by:willcomp
ID: 19613424
Lee --> I'm as puzzled as you are. Magical JellyBean does the sme thing only easier to use.
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