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How do I change the Windows Product Key for XP Pro?

Posted on 2008-11-17
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I have just replaced my hard drive and have installed a fresh copy of XP Pro using a backup disc.
The product key on this cd is invalid but the sticker on the bottom of the laptop is genuine. I have tried using the Microsoft Update Key Tool but I get an error message saying that the product key cannot be updated on this computer even though Microsoft have confirmed that the sticker key is genuine.
Please help.
Question by:ravesta
LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 22974664
go through the validation process and you shoudl be able to register by telephone, call up microsoft and go through teh registration process with them and you shoudl be able to activate that way
LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 22974672
alternatively check this site for how to change teh product key within the registry and reactivate


Expert Comment

ID: 22974681
Read the article below it tells you how to do it

nothing illegal its all offically supported by Microsoft

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LVL 23

Assisted Solution

by:Danny Child
Danny Child earned 80 total points
ID: 22975015
The root cause of your issue is that there are different flavours of XP, and different CDs for each one.  You have to use the right CD for your serial no.  Info:


If Slam69's info doesn't help, you may be able to reinstall or install over the top with a different CD that is the correct type for your serial number.  

Author Comment

ID: 22977257
Thanks for the info. I have tried the telephone thing and changing the registry. None of these worked. Its a Dell laptop, so I'm under the impression it has to be a Dell recovery disc. Will it make any difference if the recovery disc has service packs included? eg if I used a mates recovery disc with service pack 3 integrated and then use the update key tool?
LVL 25

Accepted Solution

slam69 earned 120 total points
ID: 22978382
if teh original key didnt have sp3 then the key wont match up to teh disc and thats why you have teh problem

if you dont have the original disc then go through teh telephpone thing btu hold ont o speak to a real person and not teh automated dialler thing explain teh situaion, give them teh product key and they will give you the activation key
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 22979549
There is a tool called the Magical Jellybean that will retrieve and allow you to change your Product Key. Here is the link: http://magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/old.shtml    You will want to scroll down and download the old version Keyfinder 1.51 - The new version does not support changing...

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31517402
Thanks for the info. I used my friends Dells disc and used a keychanging tool (keychanger 1.73). I then had to activated using telephone thing...It all works fine...Thanks again..

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