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how do I convert an invalid copy of windows xp to a valid copy?

I am working on a computer that has an invalid copy of windows xp.  I have purchased a licensed copy of windows xp.  Can I just insert the key and resume using windows or do I have to reformat the drive and reinstall all of my software?  Thanks,
capreol
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capreol
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capreol
1 Solution
 
PUNKYCommented:
Call microsoft support, they will help to input new key for your system. It should take 30 minutes on phone.
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qz8dswCommented:
As long as your comparing apples with apples there is a very simple way to get your Windows XP licensed.
First to clarify.
If you have windows XP Home a Windows XP Professional license will not work. (Or Visa versa)
Same with all "flavours" of XP.
So as long as your unlicensed version is XP home (for example) and your proper version is also XP home then both these methods will work fine.

First way to do it is to ring Microsoft (As punky suggested),
Second is detailed in countless places but here is a good run through with some screen shots.
http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-1035_11-5034890.html
(About 1/2 way down starting with "Editing the registry")

As long as your keys are for the same flavor of XP and your proper version is totally legit then either method will work fine.

Terry
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MereteCommented:
I woudl run a repair re-install and insert the new key when asked for COA should work fine.
Set the boot order to cd rom drive first.

2nd option
 is to buy a new hdd and format it with xp cd, then clean install onto the new using xpsp2 disc, then simply slave this hdd insert it behind the spare rom ide connector. You can then delete the system files OS files etc and keep it as a perminent backup.
Since most programs were installed with an illegal copy they may become corrupted if repairing the OS to a genuine.
If you decide to buy a new hdd you can slave it to any Xp sp2 then use the computer manager in control panel and partition and format it NTFS first.
http://www.theeldergeek.com/hard_drives_01.htm



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younghvCommented:
I have used the suggestions made by PUNKY and qz8dsw many times and they are fairly painless.

Much simpler and direct than a 'repair re-install' or doing a full install on a second HDD.
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