Installing OEM copy of XP Pro SP2 on a machine with a license key for SP1

Posted on 2009-04-13
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I have a HP machine I need to reinstall, however the XP Pro key on the license sticker is not working with my HP OEM disc for XP Pro, which happens to be for SP2.  Could this machine be rejecting the key because it is not "bare XP Pro"?  I have looked through all my media and do not have any OEM CDs for my machines that are pre-SP2.

Is there a way around this without jumping through any hoops for HP or Microsoft?  

Question by:devryguy81
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Expert Comment

by:Kevin Pham
ID: 24131729
Boot the machine up with F11 pressed.... it will access a hidden partition on your HDD and reinstall the whole machine as factory defaults for you.
Not sure how I can advise if the CD is not the original one that came with the machine.
LVL 66

Expert Comment

ID: 24131778
OEM licenses require OEM Media, Retail licenses require Retail media etc. etc. etc.....
LVL 66

Expert Comment

ID: 24131780
Is the i386 directory on the machine? If so, then you can create a bootable XP CD to take your COA on the sticker....

Create a bootable XP CD from your I386

I have tested on multiple occassions successfully....
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Expert Comment

ID: 24131823
I'm a little confused as to what you are asking. For the HP, you would need the original HP OEM CD, the service pack version does not matter, and you would need the original HP OEM sticker which should be located on the HP's case (probably the side or back). That HP sticker should work fine with the HP CD. As far as I know, the Royalty OEM sellers like Dell, HP, and Gateway use a CD that checks the BIOS for information before allowing the version to install correctly. You can normally bypass the first stage in the installation wizard where you enter the CD Key by leaving it blank, but because of the problem you are facing, I would say you won't be able to successfully activate it within the 30 day limit.

Author Comment

ID: 24132014
Thanks for your comments.  I am familiar with the licensing and media requirements for OEM and retail versions.  I was just having trouble because I was trying to install an OEM copy of XP Pro SP2 from HP onto an HP machine with an OEM XP Pro license key.  The Windows installation kept telling me the key was invalid...I have done this several times before so that is where my confusion was coming from.  

Sorry if I didn't explain myself very well...sometimes my brain goes faster than my fingers do!


Expert Comment

ID: 24132067
Hi devryguy81,

Your only aloud to use that OEM XP CD with the computer it came with, it's possible that you used that key so many times that you'll need to contact Microsoft.

Accepted Solution

sjl1986 earned 65 total points
ID: 24134858
I guess  the real question is, during the installation wizard the first time it asks you to put in serial number during the installation, is that where your key is being denied? Or are you getting all the way through the installation and getting denied on the activation window?

The only thing I can figure that would make the key be denied is if the XP copy isn't the version you think it is, or you are typing an 8 instead of a B or something. Sorry, I've never had any other problems installing dozens of copies of windows as long as I have the correct media to match the key-type.

Assisted Solution

mrmark75 earned 60 total points
ID: 24138897
WinXP's setupp.ini controls how the cd acts. IE, is it OEM version or retail?
First, find your setupp.ini file in the i386 directory on your WinXP cd. Open it up, it'll look somthing like this:


The Pid value is what your interested in.  There are special numbers that determine if it's a retail, oem or volume license edition. First, break down that number into two parts. The first five digits determines how the CD will behave, ie is it a retail cd that lets you clean install or upgrade, or an oem cd that only lets you perform a cleam install?
The last three digits determine what CD key it will accept. You are able to mix and match these values. For example, you could make a WinXP cd that acted like a retail cd, yet accepted OEM keys.
Now, for the actual values. Remember the first and last values are interchangable, but usually you'd keep them as a pair:

Retail = 51882 335
Volume license = 51883 270
OEM = 82503 OEM

So if you wanted a retail CD that took OEM keys, the last line of your setupp.ini file would read:


So you need to determine from the setup.ini if you current cd is Retail, VOL, or OEM then change it to accept the OEM code..   :)  

in order to change the file you will requireed to re-author another cd so you might as well slipstream SP3 in there while you are at it..  you can do that by looking at this link.. 

Note that this does NOT get rid of WinXP's activation. Changing the Pid to a OEM key will not bypass activation.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31570074
Thank you for your assistance.  Definitely a weird one...  I can do those installs in my sleep so it was definitely strange to see an OEM CD not work with an OEM case sticker.

Thanks again,

Author Comment

ID: 24141022
Thanks everyone for your comments.  I am going to split the points between two people.  The only thing that I can think of is that it would be the incorrect CD.  I have several different HP OEM CDs to install XP Pro on several different HP machines with OEM case stickers, but this one has me stumped.  I did not want to waste a volume license on a machine that was already licensed for XP Pro, but I have already done so in the interest of time.  

I do appreciate everyone's feedback.  I saw a few very interesting responses.

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