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Cannot use my XP product key!

Posted on 2009-05-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I have an old HP personal computer that recently crashed.  I have replaced the HD.  Then I used a windows XP home cd from another machine.  I was able to install Windows but it will not accept my product key.  I assume this is happening because the key doesn't match the CD.  The problem is that I have long lost the original installation CD.  So I have a valid license for XP home but I don't know how I can use it.  I refuse to buy another copy of Windows.  And HP says my PC is 5 yrs old and cannot send me a new CD.  What can I do?
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Question by:lanrookie
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16 Comments
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:Cameron_S
ID: 24413558
If the key is from another machine that currently has the OS on it, you are out of luck. If it is from an old machine that is now dead and gone, you can complete the activation via the telephone method, rather than the "Activate Windows on the Internet". You should be asked from the automated teller if you are re-installing Windows and if the hardware has changed. In doing so, it will generate a new installation key code and you should be able to successfully activate Windows.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:skywalker39
ID: 24413584
Make sure that the CD Key you are using matches the version of XP that it works with, so if your using a OEM XP Home Edition CD key, make sure that your installing XP Home Edition OEM.
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Author Comment

by:lanrookie
ID: 24413753
The key is not being used on any other PC.  It was being used on the machine I am trying to put it back onto.  It is the original key that came with the PC.  It is printed on a sticker on the machine.  But that HD crashed and now I need to reinstall XP.

I think it was another XP home edition.  Where can I get an XP home CD if I don't have one?  I would think this is available as the key (which I have) is what really matter.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:Cameron_S
ID: 24414040
This is really the tricky part of this. Most manufacturer's install the image of the OS on the hard drive, usually a recovery partition. However, in your case the HD crashed, making this a difficult process. Without a recovery CD, you are somewhat between a rock and a hard place. To my knowledge, Microsoft currently does not offer a media download for Windows XP, although they do for Office. The long and short answer is you will have to obtain a Windows XP Home CD one way or another, even if you have to simply borrow a disc. If you have a friend that has the operating system, you could use a recovery CD that came with their computer and that should work providing it is the same version/type of Windows XP (Home vs Pro).
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:willcomp
ID: 24414395
I assume XP is installed but will not activate. That is common for product keys supplied with HP, Dell, and other large OEMs to prevent resale of stickers.  All you need to do is call Microsoft and tell them you replaced a hard disk -- they will activate your installation. You will need to speak to a live representative -- the automated phone activation will not succeed.
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Wayne Barron
ID: 24414683
@willcomp.
Sorry, he cannot contact Microsoft over a HP System, Microsoft does not provide any help
With Bulk sales. And once they give them the key that is on the side of the computer
They will be told, that they will need to contact HP.
(Been there before)


since the computer came from HP, It is an OEM System.
All you need to do is find someone that has an OEM XP Home (Either None or SP1)
And this should run without any issues.

I completely understand how you feel about having to purchase another copy of XP when you already have it, Since you have the Key on the side of the system, and it is Valid.
Just need to find someone with OEM.

Good Luck
Carrzkiss
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:willcomp
ID: 24414826
@carrzkiss -- I beg to differ. I have called MS to activate XP many times when replacing HDDs on OEM systems. Just follow the directions for phone activation. If XP accepted the product key during install, the correct media was used and activation is all that remains.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:willcomp
ID: 24414895
"I was able to install Windows but it will not accept my product key." -- I'm assuming XP was installed but on-line activation fails. XP installation will halt if an incorrect product key is inserted.

Until asker provides more info, we don't know for sure what the problem is. It does not appear to be incorrect media from his description.
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 24414930
THis is another Royalty OEM issue - the CoA on the machine has a Key which works with the HP product ID for the XP Version and SP# only. Getting standard OEM media won't help unless it comes with it's own (unused) Key  I'd agree with willcomp that it's worth talking to a real person at M$ activation although if they stick to the letter of their own rules they should refer you back to HP for support.  HP as we already know will try to tell you they can't help because you should have kept your CD from them.  The other issue peculiar to HP is often their CDs aren't XP CD's at all but system recovery disks and so wipe the machine rahter than repairing it.

The quick and dirty fix is to source an HP XP Home CD with the same SP# as your CoA.
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 24414951
@ willcomp - yes you're right but it does sound like they are being prompted for the Key (not activation) at the end of the install where normally the XP install would ask upfront in the install for the Key and reject it there as not matchnig the Product ID.
0
 

Author Comment

by:lanrookie
ID: 24415017
Microsoft told me they cannot help me.  They said to contact HP.  I told them HP didn't have the original CD.  They told me I should buy a new copy.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:willcomp
ID: 24415148
Is XP installed? Is this an activation problem?
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Wayne Barron
ID: 24415288
@willcomp:
Straight from Microsoft (As stated above by the asker: lanrookie)
If it is an OEM from a Computer Manufacture, they WILL NOT provide any support.
You have to contact the Manufacture that you got your copy of windows (Pre-installed) from.

OEM's that are purchased to preinstall by an OEM Person is covered by Microsoft.
If the Disk is an OEM by Microsoft, then it is covered by Microsoft.
If it is a Manufacture OEM Copy, it is not covered by Microsoft.

Carrzkiss
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Wayne Barron
ID: 24415324
lanrookie:
Check and see if you can find an OEM copy from a Friend, and see if the install will take the key. (As I mentioned above http:#24414683 )
That is your only other option.
If not, then I suggest that you purchase another copy.
XP Home Edition w/SP3 $89. From Newegg.com

Good Luck
Carrzkiss
0
 
LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:willcomp
ID: 24415500
@carrzkiss -- I'm more than slightly familiar with MS support. What I DON"T know is whether key doesn't match or whether it's an activation issue. MS will not supply a CD, but they will activate an OEM key after a HDD reinstall. So please quit telling me what I already know.
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LVL 31

Accepted Solution

by:
Wayne Barron earned 2000 total points
ID: 24415765
@willcomp:  (Last @, this is not solving the Askers Issue)
They will do the following.

Get your Original Key Code.
Then get your Code from the computer.
If they do not match, then they will NOT give you another code.
If they do not match, that means that you are using the wrong media to reinstall the computer with.
Then.
They will ask you if you would like to purchase another copy.
(This happened to my father about 2 months ago)
I had to go over to his house and reinstall his system with my OEM Pro Disk.
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