Have CD Key, can't find media!

I'm really sick of having to re-install an OS and match the install media to the CD key.  Is there anywhere you can enter a key and find out what service pack, if it's retail, OEM, corporate, and OPK the key goes to?

Now there's XP SP2c which only works with an entirely new set of keys to add to the maddness.  Most of the PC's I'm having problems with are Dell Dimensions that Joe business owner brings from home and upgrades to XP Pro, and loses the media and CD Key.

I use keyfinders to get the key, that's not the issue.  The issue then becomes having to wait for the installer to get half way in to tell me it's the wrong key so I can start all over again with a different install CD.

Anyone have a better system?
AllCCAsked:
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SysExpertCommented:
Not really.
Since you are handling random machines, you are really in a tough spot.

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scrathcyboyCommented:

Use the magic jelly bean finder, it will find the "right" serial number already installed --
http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder.shtml

See this to modify the product key on any system, so you can use a different serial number
http://michaelstevenstech.com/xpfaq.html#018

To answer your question, YES, each serial number does indeed open up or close the limitations of the XP installation, and they are keyed to meaningful features, but this is M$ proprietary info, and anyone who has debugged it is not supposed to have that info -- but all keygen hackers know the details of the M$ keys
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scrathcyboyCommented:
I forgot to mention this too, it is a good program -- http://www.snapfiles.com/get/rockxp.html

Also see this useful set of instructions, how to change --
http://www.petri.co.il/change_the_serial_in_windows_xp.htm

Also there are lots of XP SP2 keygens available to solve the changed serials with SP2 but I cannot suggest here to use them for perfectly legit purposes, like repairing an existing valid installation of XP SP2.
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ded9Commented:
Hi,

The best way to find out is call Microsoft give the product key and they will tell you whether its oem or retail

Also a another way to find out is go to system properties  below registered to you will see some number.

If you see oem in that number that means its oem operating system installed.


Ded9
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johnb6767Commented:
Is the i386 directory on the machine? If so, then you can create a bootable XP CD to take your COA on the sticker. That way when someone brings you a machine to reimage, you can create a CD strictly for them, and be done with it........

Create a bootable XP CD from your I386
http://www.howtohaven.com/system/createwindowssetupdisk.shtml

I have tested on multiple occassions successfully....

Never tried this link though....
http://www.easydesksoftware.com/recovery.htm#XP
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johnb6767Commented:
Product IDs
http://wiki.djlizard.net/Product_IDs

Get familiar with the product IDs, as thats what stops a CD from taking a serial, if the PID dont match...
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Mark DamenERP System ManagerCommented:
If the situation you described is true, whereby somebody brings in a PC, lets say for arguement a Dell Dimension.  It will most likely have started out with Xp Home installed as an OEM copy.  

Enter the technical genius, who thinks that Xp Home is rubbish and that the person really needs Xp Pro.  They happen to have a cracked copy, and they load it for them.  Customer thinks they are in a better position now, but unless they require domain connectivity then are they really?  No, because they are no longer using their software legally.

Having worked in a repair shop for a few years, I see this problem all the time.  The best solution is to inform the customer that the Xp Pro does not appear to be legal, and that they have a perfectly legitimate copy of Xp Home affixed to the PC.  I give them the choice, either have the data saved, Xp Home reinstalled, and then the data copied back....... or, they buy a copy of Xp Pro to put on the PC if that really is the operating system they need.

By you installing Windows using the key that Windows is already installed with, if it will not work with OEM or retail media then it is most likely a volume license key that has been leaked and somebody has used it with that PC.


Further to your comment, the customer probably hasnt lost the media and key, it was probably installed by a "mate".  

Hope this helps

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AllCCAuthor Commented:
I'm going to re-ask the question, because it seems like I may have mis communicated what is going on.

Is there a way to tell from a CD key, what version of XP it belongs to?

Something like the wiki article Johnb6767 suggested, but, I need to identify it by part of the serial number ONLY.  There's gotta be a way, but I think sysexpert is proably right that there isn't.  Either way I'm asking here just in case!

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johnb6767Commented:
Not without calling MS....

If you have the installation up and running, or a backup of the files, look for the setupp.ini, and compare what you have to the listing of Product IDs and it will confirm what you have, But just a Serial#, no way.......
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scrathcyboyCommented:
Perhaps you didn't read my post above, this is the complete answer and all I can say on a public forum --

"To answer your question, YES, each serial number does indeed open up or close the limitations of the XP installation, and they are keyed to meaningful features, but this is M$ proprietary info, and anyone who has debugged it is not supposed to have that info -- but all keygen hackers know the details of the M$ keys"
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AllCCAuthor Commented:
scrathcyboy - Open or close limitations?  No, that's the way the new Microsoft Licensing works as such in Vista and Office applications.  In XP if you use the wrong install media the installer tells you "Invalid CD Key", when in fact you are using a good key.  It doesn't downgrade or upgrade your distribution based on the key!  I'll give you this, it is Microsoft proprietary info, you're right about that.

I think sysexpert had the correct answer, Microsoft doesn't take CD keys over the phone, my sysbuilder account manager there told me the only way to tell what media the key belongs to is by the COA shape and color.  Unfortunatelly in this case I got the CD key using a key finder, and the product ID was not recorded, although I know it was XP Pro because it was on a domain I had deployed.

So, first I tried XP Pro VLM, then OEM, then retail, it turned out to be retail in this case because whoever brought this PC in from home apparently took it upon themselves to go to the local computer store and have it upgraded by them, not me, so it could be joined to the domain by them, not me, because they probably thought they would save a few bucks...  Oh well.
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AllCCAuthor Commented:
so true, starting to like vista more every day!
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