Can i not activate a windows xp home oem edition on a dell system even if the disk is not from dell?

Posted on 2009-04-24
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I had a bad hard drive in a dell and got the key from the machine but i dont have the original dell recovery disks that came with the system..I obtained an xp oem hologram cd to which id like to be able to install and use. I tried to activate it and i get a code ... From what i understand the dell branded xp cd contains an embedded code that matches the key and therefore without the original is why my copy wont work. Is this true? I really didnt think this was a problem...kinda frstrating if i have to purchase a dell recovery when i have a legitamate home oem cd here with the operating system software.
Question by:lucbruneau

Assisted Solution

pjmcc earned 400 total points
ID: 24230624
defn not true you can use any winxp cd as long as it is the OEM version not corp etc

 i lost my dell recovery cd years ago and 2 weeks ago installed xp oem from a hologram cd on my optiplex 520

Expert Comment

ID: 24230626
and activated btw

Author Comment

ID: 24230647
well i tried the auto activate and no luck..then tried calling in ...the was given an 800 to call microsoft the tech said i need the "manufacturer software" I dont understand...unless i dont have the right key...i used keyfinder to get the key from the hard drive...as the sticker was ripped off the box...When i entered the key after having installed the os it didnt burp up any error there. Frustrating
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Expert Comment

ID: 24230659
does your computer have a green top sticker??

 if so you cant activate that over the internet but if you ring up the 800 number and explain the situation thay might let you activate it or the only other option is to ring dell and ask for a recovery disk replacement make sure you have your service tag ready if you ring dell


Expert Comment

ID: 24230664
by green top sticker i mean winxp product id sticker the top bit is it green?

Expert Comment

ID: 24230671
also what computer model is your dell
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

Kechka earned 400 total points
ID: 24230894
You can try to read your old license number to check is it the same you have.Slave the HDD of the old machine to another PC and then use Regedit to load the hive from the slave's HKLM (Don't forget to unload when you've finished!) You'll find the Windows Product Key at:


If you have a code that looks like xxxxx-xxx-xxxxxxx-xxxxx this is the product key and can tell you the SKU and channel (e.g., if it is Pro, Home, Upgrade, OEM, SLP, VLK, etc.) The first block is your SKU, the second is your channel.

For example, a 55274 at the start means you are XP Pro. 55277 is Home. 76487 is MediaCenter 2005. For the second set of numbers, OEM is .. well.. OEM. 335 is Retail. 640 is VLK.  See list of known SKU and Channels below.

55274 : XP Pro generic OEM
55276 : XP Pro (upgrade)
55276 : XP Home (?)
55277 : XP Home generic OEM
55285 : XP Pro
55661 : XP Pro (retail)
76475 : XP Home (upgrade) (?)
76477 : XP Home Royalty OEM
76481 : XP Pro Dell OEM
76487 : XP Media Center Edition 2005
76487 : XP Pro Royalty OEM
76487 : XP Pro SP2 (retail)
76487 : XP Pro volume license (with '640' channel ID)
76500 : XP MCE 2005 (which is XP Pro with no domain capability)
76588 : XP Pro x64 OEM

000 : Other (includes some retail, upgrade and evaluation versions)
006 : MS or Partner promotions ("Go Pro" Promotion)
007 : FIXME : Retail
009 : Not for resale - bundle
011 : Upgrade (XP Home?)
083 : Windows Genuine Advantage
OEM : OEM (This does not specify royalty or normal OEM)
270 : Volume License
296 : MSDN
308/347 : Microsoft Action Pack subscription
335 : Retail
640 through 652 : Volume License (usually generated via 270 CID in setupp.ini)
699 : Volume Windows XP Tablet Edition
071 : FIXME : Unknown.
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

garycase earned 400 total points
ID: 24231335
The key for your Dell is for a Dell version of XP ==> which is tied to the Dell BIOS.   It is ONLY good for that version.   If you had any other Dell XP installation CD, it would work;  but that key is not good for other versions of XP (OEM or Retail).

If your OEM CD hasn't been used already for another install, it will install and activate fine on your Dell system ==> but you need to use the key that came with that OEM package -- NOT the key from the Dell.
LVL 63

Accepted Solution

☠ MASQ ☠ earned 800 total points
ID: 24231356
Still not 100% sure what you want to do but here are some scenarios - which is closest?

a) Reinistall/Repairs
If you are repairing a Dell OEM install you MUST use a Dell OEM disk or the recovery partition. If you get prompted for an activation Key the install you are writing over has been corrupted. If you use ANY disk other than a Dell OEM to repair you will be prompted for an Activation Key - that WILL fail as the Dell install is BIOS locked to Dell motherboards.

b) Complete reformat and reinstall
You can use any disk including a Dell OEM if this has a Dell Motherboard. If you use the Dell OEM you WON'T be prompted for an Activation Key on any of the other disks you will and you need to use the Key that came with the disk you are using.

c) The Dell CoA Sticker and the "MagicJellyBean Finder" Key in the registry.
These don't match on a Dell OEM install. The Dell OEM CD will configure a standard Dell BIOS-locked Activaton Key in the registry. If you try to use that Key to activate a product manually it will ALWAYS fail as it is not designed for user entry.
Although the Dell OEM uses a standard Key the CoA sticker is your proof that the install is legitimate (unless you have a separate corporate arrangement for licencing).

d) Using an activated OEM or retail CD
If you install using a CD that has already been activated the online process will fail and you'll be prompted for telephone activation to explain why you're using an activated Key.

e) Who's responsible for the activation process? - Microsoft. Who supports the activation process - Microsoft for retail disks, the PC builder for any OEM disks (although Microsoft activation centres often will be sympathetic to re-activation due to hardware replacement on OEM installs).

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