Windows XP Product keys
Posted on 2011-09-06
Hi Experts -
I may need to do a system reinstall on one of my Windows XP Pro boxes and got to looking for the product key on my Dell Precision M6300. So far I have found 3 different keys and I am wondering which one is the right one and what the other two are for. I purchased this laptop new, directly from Dell, so I know the license is reputable and it was validated by MS as genuine at activation time.
One possibly important point is that I purchased the laptop around the time Vista was coming out so it came with Vista installed and then down-graded by Dell to XP Pro at my request. So I wonder if one of those keys has to do with that.
Code #1: Right click on my computer, I see where it is registered to me, and then below that is a string of chars that looks a lot like a product code: 5digits-OEM-7digits-5digits
Code #2: Open C:\WINDOWS\system32\$winnt$.inf - there is a 20 character product key which is similar to other product keys that I have seen on other MS computers, in the following format: 4 chars-4chars-4chars-4chars
Code #3: On the bottom of the laptop there is a "proof of license" sticker with a "product key" in the following format: 5chars-5chars-5chars-5chars-5chars. Sadly, I cannot read all these characters anymore, which is what prompted me to go on the hunt for some other way to find it, but I have found nothing that looks like that. So if I need that number, I also need to know how to find it in some other way!
Thanks for your help.