install windows XP on PC with OEM version with no product key

I have an Advent 3112 pc which was probably bought from PC World some years ago.  It had XP Pro on it when I was asked to look at it.  Windows has since then become unloadable so I tried installed XP SR3 Home Edition ( as the label on the box is for Home Edition) but it's an OEM version and doesn't seem to be obtainable any more.  Can anyone tell me if it's possible to reinstall Windows (pref XP Pro) onto this machine and do without the OEM Recovery media??  What is it that the OEM manufacturers do that makes it impossible to install anything but the version originally provided?  CAn it be bypassed?
eyetealadyAsked:
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
3112 recovery disk available from "thetechguys" for £25
http://recoverymedia.thetechguys.com/Product.aspx?productID=463
If you bypass the install you'll need a valid licence key that matches whatever installation media you are using.
 
(Suspecting your TimeZone set as PDT is out by a few hours!)
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jameso99Commented:
If you have a retail CD of Windows XP Pro or Home you can always install that on any machine, provided that you legally have a license for it.  OEM discs sometimes have special features that look to the BIOS so you don't need to input they registration key on install, so it makes it easy to use a Dell CD on any Dell machine for example.

If you want to pull the license off the machine for Windows XP you can extract it with a handy tool like Magic Jelly Bean Key Finder, but again, if you want to use that key you'll need to make sure you legally own it when you go to use it on the machine/another computer.
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eyetealadyAuthor Commented:
Thanks to Masqueraid but that CD i only the update and not the original recovery cd which is what it says is needed.  Thanks also to James099  -  as I've already got through a partial reinstall of Home Edition SR3 I cant do anything with it at all with the likes of Magic Jelly Bean Key finder - tried it before on another machine and it didnt give the right info for a reinstall at all!    Any idea where the best place would be to buy a new CD of XP Pro with a valid licence key?
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
They supply both http://support.thetechguys.com//recoverymedia/
Order the V4 Recovery Media
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jameso99Commented:
You can buy it from most online retails that don't promise "super discounted windows software for $19.95", and stay away from used copies from eBay because they tend to be activated somewhere in the world and will cause you problems later.

Just look for "Retail" so you're not buying an OEM version.  Places like BestBuy or Walmart probably sell it as well.  XP Professional is not cheap, unfortunately.


(Just saw MASQUERAID's post - I would definitely call or email and check that company out!)
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
@ james099 - TheTechGuys are the UK version of Best Buy's Geek Squad & handle support for Advent & eMachines
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eyetealadyAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all.  I cant find the V4 recovery media that Masqueraid is talking about.  I can only find

http://recoverymedia.thetechguys.com/ProductCatView.aspx?catId=2967

which only offer the £25 update cds???  
I emailed Techguys today as I couldnt find the actual recovery cds and had spoken to them on the phone.  The guy on the phone said it's not available for the Advent 3112 UK on the website and I had to email them, which I did but no reply  -  not sure if I expect one to be truthful!    So I am slowly coming to the conclusion that I need to buy a licence for XP Pro.  
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B HCommented:
from here:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb457078.aspx

they show some generic keycodes that might get you installed, then you can simply change the product key during reactivation to match your sticker

they say:

The following product keys should be substituted for XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX in the solutions discussed below.

Windows XP Professional 32 bit
MVF4D-W774K-MC4VM-QY6XY-R38TB

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
XT67V-GY7FW-GR6FR-WDK2C-8T97J

Windows XP Professional x64 bit
FM634-HJ3QK-6QVTY-RJY4R-XCR9J
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eyetealadyAuthor Commented:
thanks to all of you -  one of the keys seems to have worked.  Interested in nobus's idea about changing from Home edition to XP Pro  -  but it looks as though it'll be a problem with updates?  Not much good for a work environment when the users aren't very aware of issues.   The install is still continuing so, fingers crossed, it'll work now!!   I think I'll accept multiple solutions because you all helped!!
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eyetealadyAuthor Commented:
Spoke too soon  -  the product key worked on the install but when I get to registering with Microsoft it doesnt work.  I think the best option is to buy a new Windows XP Pro key!!
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nobusCommented:
you can just contact MS - and explain it; normally they'll offer the key, since you have a valid one.
the reason it does not work is that it's used already, and probably your version is not the same.
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eyetealadyAuthor Commented:
I spoke to Microsoft last week about it and they said I should go onto a website which lists all the OEM companies.  That's how I got the info about TechGuys who support PC World which sell the Advent PC.  But they were not much help in the end (see above).   Do you know if it's illegal to install a Dell version of XP Pro which has come from a machine no longer in use, and use the product key that came with that Dell??  THe machine has been trashed.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
A Dell OEM CD won't work on a non-Dell motherboard (it checks the BIOS string on install and automatically activates when a Dell BIOS string is detected). Technically it's illegal to install any OEM software that was provided with another machine as the licencing lives and dies with the machine that it was issued with. As you've discovered Microsoft won't usually help with OEM issues as the responsibility for support lies with the system manufacturers.
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eyetealadyAuthor Commented:
I thought that would be the case and I've also looked up Microsoft's licencing info online and it confirms it.  The customer is just going to have to part with cash to get this resolved!  Maybe Techguys will reply next week?  Thanks for your help
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
There is a possible fix depending on the state of the existing hard drive in the desktop - it would be possible to create an Advent OEM install CD from the system files already on the HDD. It's time consuming though but would save the cost of buying a retail XP and the reinstall involved.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
http://www.howtohaven.com/system/createwindowssetupdisk.shtml
If your system won't boot at all it would mean slaving the drive inside another PC.
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eyetealadyAuthor Commented:
I wish I'd had that info before I started on this job!!  Unfortunately I have now reinstalled windows 3 times and so it would take far to long to restore the original version, if, indeed, that were possible.  When I got the PC it was with an illegal copy of XP Pro when the box says it was supposed to contain XP Home Edition so I installed HOme edition and naively thought the Product key would work but, of course, it needs the OEM version of XP that was originally installed and the customer has lost the original discs.  I think she's just going to have to bite the bullet and pay for a new licence.  It's already taken more of my time than I can charge for.!
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B HCommented:
after you used one of the public license keys to install, and went to do the activation, it is supposed to fail... but at that point you should be able to click 'phone microsoft' then 'change product key' and it should let you put in the keycode from your sticker
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eyetealadyAuthor Commented:
I'll remember that for next time!!  I have decided to tell my customer that she will have to invest in a new licence.  I've already spent too much time on this machine.  Thanks for all your help
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