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Change Windows 2003 CD Key without doing a repair install

Posted on 2010-11-10
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi All
I would like to know is there a way to change the Windows 2003 (SP1) cd key without doing an repair install?

I am needing to do it this way as I am unsure what damage the repair will do all the applications and patches that I have installed and configured on this system.

I know Magic Jelly Bean used to be able to do this by that was in the Windows XP days and I have tried the reactivation method where make the system believe it needs to be activated but following this route, I can get to the activate over the telephone screen but clicking the Change Product Key does nothing, as well as the drop down box that would show the country I choosing dial numbers has nothing in it.

Thanks
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Question by:yellowteam
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16 Comments
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:JBond2010
ID: 34102537
have to do repair install to change 2003 key
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:danora
ID: 34102653
control panel>change program> repair> enter new product key

I just had to change mine and this went through fine
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Author Comment

by:yellowteam
ID: 34103044
Hi Danora, where is the change program option? I dont know about this one?
0
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:danora
ID: 34103126
Hi yellowteam,

Apologies, i read office 2003!

To change the product key for windows you will need to enter the registry and make a couple of changes in there (backup registry first though before making changes)

I have found a KB article detailing the steps you will need to take, please see below:

Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.

In the left pane, locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Current Version\WPAEvents

In the right pane, right-click OOBETimer, and then click Modify.

Change at least one digit of the OOBETimer value to deactivate Windows.

Click Start, click Run, type the following command, and then click OK:
%systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a

Click Yes, I want to telephone a customer service representative to activate Windows, and then click Next.

Click Change Product key, type the new product key in the New key boxes, and then click Update.

Note If the previous Activation Wizard screen appears again, click Remind me later, and then restart the computer.

Repeat steps 6 and 7 to verify that Windows is started. Click OK when you receive the following message:

Windows is already activated. Click OK to exit.

Hope this helps

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Author Comment

by:yellowteam
ID: 34103370
Hi Danora, I was thinking that might have been the case.

Unfortunately I have already tried the method with resseting OOBETimer and I can get as far as Change Product key and stop there as the button doesn't do anything
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:JBond2010
ID: 34103400
have to do repair install to change 2003 key
0
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:danora
ID: 34103584
Hi Yellowteam,

Unfortunately you will have to repair install to change the key, you can do this with the cd you have by booting from the disc, no other method :(

remember to backup!

danora
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:JBond2010
ID: 34103715
@danora as I said in my first and second comment.
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Author Comment

by:yellowteam
ID: 34104088
Has any one ever tried using the new tool that comes with Vista and Windows 2008 in Windows 2003

http://www.mydigitallife.info/2007/04/01/download-key-management-service-kms-host-for-windows-server-2003/
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Author Comment

by:yellowteam
ID: 34104165
just wanted to say Thanks Guys for all your help really hope I dont have to go the way of repair install but its looking that way
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:JBond2010
ID: 34104177
It's a kick in the teeth. But like you said, it's looking that way.
0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:ktaczala
ID: 34112329
Here ya go.  Straight From MS..Change your product key.

http://www.microsoft.com/genuine/selfhelp/XPPkuinst.aspx?displaylang=en
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LVL 5

Accepted Solution

by:
9660kel earned 500 total points
ID: 34115160

To change you’re current PID with a Volume License Key:
1.      Click Start, and then click Run.
2.      In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
3.      In the left pane, locate and then click the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Current Version\WPAEvents.
4.      In the right pane, right-click OOBETimer, and then click Modify.
5.       Change at least one digit of this value to deactivate Windows. This is key, modify the first one to AA, make sure you know what it was originally – you will need it in for step 12. Leave regedit open.
6.       Click Start, and then click Run.
7.       In the Open box, type the following command, and then click OK. %systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a
8.       Click Yes, I want to telephone a customer service representative to activate Windows, and then click Next.
9.       Click Change Product key.
10.   Type the new product key (I would use the new R2 key) in the New key boxes, and then click Update. When you get to the previous window, close product activation.
11.   Return to regedit. In the left pane, locate and then click the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Current Version\WPAEvents. If not currently open.
12.   Change the first digits back to what you noted in step 5.
13.   Close regedit.
14.   Click Start, and then click Run.
15.   In the Open box, type the following command, and then click OK. %systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a
16.   This time it should say you are already activated, click OK.


Alternate Method:
How to change OEM/Retail version key with Windows Server 2003 or R2
For retail and OEM. Simply search system32 for wpa.* rename both files, then run the %systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a

Bam, you're done.
0
 

Author Comment

by:yellowteam
ID: 34119241
Hey ktaczala, that application is only supported on Windows XP where as I am trying to do this on windows 2003
0
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:danora
ID: 34119261
Hi Yellowteam,

Had a good look around on this and jbond2010 was right from post 1, repair install unfortunately
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Author Comment

by:yellowteam
ID: 34119301
Hey 9660kel
Looks like you have the winning formula!! thanks man, it looks like the trick for my situation was to change the wpa.* file and then the other steps started to work!
Thanks everyone for all the help and suggestions its much appreciated
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