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tchancevFlag for United States of America

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How to force windows xp reactivation

Used a Dell XP Professional SP3 reinstallation CD to install the OS on a different Dell PC that has a valid XP COA attached.  During the install, I was never prompted to enter a product key so I am assuming that the CD used contains a volume key pre-installed.

All attempts to modify the OBETimer value in the registry, deleting wpa.dbl (could not find wpa.bak), and even renaming the HKLM\SYSTEM\WPA registry key have all yielded the exact same result:  upon reboot, XP is already activated.

I cannot use Microsoft's tips for changing a volume license key because the COA key I plan to use is not a volume key and this method is for changing from one VLK to another VLK.

I used the Dell CD because it already had SP3 on it, which would save me having to install the SP later.  Figured I could just enter the new key when prompted.  I cannot get this box to forget that it was activated.

Anyone have any ideas as to how to reactivate?  Please do not point me to already well-published tips regarding wpa.dbl, wpa.bak, HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents, etc. I am needing something outside of the common as these steps do not work with this particular install.

Thanks in advance.....
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Rommel Sultan
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You can try changing the cd key with this tool

http://www.mike-devlin.com/downloads/keyfinder.exe
Click Options then change CD key.

I'm only recommending this if you have a valid or ligit CD-key.
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Thanks for the idea rsultan.
Unfortunately this KeyFinder app does not allow the changing of VLK to retail key.
Are tehy both Unique keys? If so, I wouldnt worry about it, as Dell serials are embedded in the BIOS if not mistaken......

As long as you used an OEM Dell CD to install on a Dell system, it should be fine.....

Least thats my interpretation.....
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johnb6767
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marsilies

Dell and other major OEMs are what are called "royalty OEMs", and as such, use a special activation process called "System Locked Preinstallation". The install CDs are customized with special OEMBIOS files tied to that specific OEM, and include a key that is identical for every PC they ship with that edition of Windows, but is not a volume key. They key will only "pre-activate" on PCs (specifically, motherboards) from that OEM. As you discovered, this means that when you (re)install Windows using the OEM's custom CD, the installation process skips asking for a key, and Windows is already activated once installation is finished.

Note that the COAs on these Royalty OEMs have "OEM A.C.T." keys on them, which a deactivated by default. If you try to use the key on the COA on the PC, you'll be directed to call MS, where once you explain you're reinstalling to the same PC, they'll issue you an activation.

So, if you're installing from an XP Pro Dell installation disc to a Dell PC with an XP Pro COA, just let it install and activate itself, and don't worry about changing the key. If you used that same XP Pro Dell disc on a non-Dell PC, you'd be prompted for a key, since the SLP key would not work on that hardware.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Locked_Preinstallation
http://www.aumha.org/win5/a/wpa.php
Thanks marsilies. Good information, much like johnb6767 mentioned with the types of OEM sources.
However, I have to disagree with your statement:

Note that the COAs on these Royalty OEMs have "OEM A.C.T." keys on them, which a deactivated by default. If you try to use the key on the COA on the PC, you'll be directed to call MS, where once you explain you're reinstalling to the same PC, they'll issue you an activation.

I disagree with that since many times I have reinstalled all variants of Windows operating systems on PCs using a non-oem install CD and then entering this Royalty OEM COA key and activating 100% of the time.  Without involving Microsoft at all.  Even though the text in the first link you included says that these Royalty keys cannot be activated, I think that is not 100% correct.  Experience is always what we go with before we rely on third-party input, especially since we have successfully activated Royalty OEM keys hundreds of times on all major OEM PCs and laptops alike.

Based on past experience, and wanting to be 100% certain that this box has a legitimately activated copy of Windows XP Pro SP3, I figured I should do the same with trying to activate using the OEM COA key.  Based on what all these experts have posted here, I am inclined to believe that maybe it is okay to just leave it as is. I will wait to decide if a solution has been reached once I speak with both our Dell reps and reps from the Microsoft  Activation Team.

I thank everyone who has provided input on this question.  I assure you I will rate the appropriate answer as soon as I learn a little bit more about it.

Thanks again....
I mis-read this at first thinking you were trying to use or add the machine to a VLK but now I see you just want to activate it as OEM - you're already there!

Provided you've got a Dell CoA on the case that matches the Dell OS Reinstallation disk you used, you've got a valid & legal install but this is not the same as switching from a retail/System Builder (or other non-SLP) CD which often will accept Royaly CoA Keys as you describe above.  Dell & Microsoft are increasingly using CoA's now which will not activate automatically and are just proof that the system is licensed to have an SLP'd install on it.

The activation key used on Dell Royalty is the same internally for any given version of Windows XP when the system is installed using a Dell reinstallation CD.  So the only difference between this machine and the one you took the CD from is the sticker on the case - which is crucial because it proves you have two OEM licenses rather than having one installed on two machines.

You can deactivate it but it won't accept a non-OEM Royalty Key without changing the installation to match.  But there's no need to.

For completeness if you do have a VL Key you should really add the system to your VLK using reimaging rights allowing you to transfer (at no cost) any OEM systems license CoA's to your VLK establishment under the terms of your existing VL license.

[@johnb6767 - thanks for mentioning the article :)]
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Thanks to all who participated in this question.
The solution suggested by hubafrost worked perfectly and allowed me to activate this box with the OEM COA.
I chose to award him 300 of the 500 because his idea provided the EXACT answer I was looking for and he/she had no previous points being farily new to this forum.

I awarded johnb6767 and marsilies each 100 points because they both did provide very helpful information to help us avoid these types of activation problems in the future.

Again, thank you everyone!!!