XP Home Key Doesn't Work With New Media

The XP Home key IS legitimate.  I needed to do a reinstall of XP Home and did not have original media so I first borrowed a full version of XP Home SP2 which failed with a "Key not valid" message.  Next I torrented a media-only copy of XP Home SP3 (note this was NOT a crack, just the media itself) which also failed.

1) Why does a legit key on the Windows sticker on the back of the machine fail with different media
2) What are my options for doing a reinstall?

Thanks,

James  
james_axtonAsked:
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Grizzly072000Connect With a Mentor Commented:
A Product Key cannot be used with every Windows CD, even when respecting the flavour.
The key on your sticker is certainly not the same as the key used to install your Windows if your PC came with Windows installed.
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Grizzly072000Commented:
Of course, I'm not allowed to tell you what to do, if you know what I mean...
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Alan HendersonRetired marine engineerCommented:
If the XP CD is the same VERSION ( ie, Home SP1, SP2 or what have you)  as the version of your Product Key you should be OK. I don't think it's illegal. It's the licence that counts, not the CD.

I've installed XP using an OEM key with a standard CD of the same version. No problem. Maybe I was just lucky.

Otherwise you'd have to ask MS for new media.

:o)
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brett_apfcConnect With a Mentor Commented:
There are differences between OEM cd's and volume license CD's.  You should verify that you are using an OEM cd to do the reinstall.  If using an OEM cd then the key on the sticker should work.  If you are using a volume license version cd, then the key on the sticker will not work.

If you still have issues, call the number that is displayed during the registration process and let them know you are doing a reinstall on the same machine.  You shouldn't have any issues with them giving you a registration key.
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Grizzly072000Commented:
@vallis: Are you saying that any product key you could happen to find on the Internet would work on an XP CD of the same flavour? LOL
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Grizzly072000Commented:
@brett_apfc: The OP doesn't have the original CD, probably an OEM CD. Any other OEM CD will NOT accept the key on the label.
Moreover, if it's an OEM Windows version, I doubt MS will help. Maybe the PC manufacturer will, hopefully.....
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Alan HendersonConnect With a Mentor Retired marine engineerCommented:
No, that's not what I'm saying. Although it may be true!

I don't condone piracy and in 20 years have never used pirated software, but neither do I condone software makers making the installation of software for which you've paid too difficult.

:o)

I'm saying that if a person has a LEGITIMATE key they can use a CD of the same flavour. On occasion I've done so successfully. My neighbour's Dell didn't have an installation OEM CD, but I installed XP using her legit Product Key and my standard XP CD.

I just reinstalled XP in a VM yesterday and had to activate it by phone. I didn't even have to talk to a real person. So I guess MS aren't as vigilant with XP as they were.
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igor-1965Connect With a Mentor Commented:
The OEM Windows XP product key affixed to your computer is only valid with an OEM Windows XP CD. It will not work with a retail Windows XP CD which is probably what you borrowed / downloaded.

How to Replace Lost, Broken, or Missing Microsoft Software or Hardware:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/326246/en-gb
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willcompConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Any standard OEM XP Home CD will work. A retail version will not accept product key. Since product key was not accepted, you likely had either an upgrade or retail version of XP Home. There are no VL versions of XP Home.

I've installed XP many times on Dell, HP, and other PCs using a standard OEM CD. It's easier if you have the manufacturer's CD since activation is not required. While not exactly in accordance with the EULA, it is routinely done by repair shops out of necessity. Most PCs do not come with OS media and if HDD goes south, there's no other choice.
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willcompCommented:
One other note: Check product key on COA carefully. It is very easy to confuse letters and numbers on sticker especially B with 8. A magnifying glass will help.
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james_axtonAuthor Commented:
Thanks to everyone for the replies, I learned quite a bit from this thread!

For future reference here is how I solved this:

I was able to track down a copy of XP Home (no SP) with a legitimate key - though most people wouldn't have this resource available to them and I understand that.  Also, this version appeared to be retail and not OEM but I could be wrong (how can I tell the type?).  I successfully installed Windows and before running any updates I used Magical Jelly Bean to change the key.  It accepted it and I was able to run all updates including WGA.  

I'll close this out and do my best to allot points as fairly as I can.

Thanks again for all of the help!

James
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willcompCommented:
"how can I tell the type?"   ----> http://www.petri.co.il/use_oem_version_to_upgrade_xp.htm
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james_axtonAuthor Commented:
willcomp, thank you for the link.  It looks like I was very fortunate - the copy of XP Home (no SP) that I was able to get was an OEM installation.  That explains why it worked.  Thank you willcomp!
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