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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
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    Hi,

    My computer came with Windows XP Pro pre-installed. What path do I follow to find the product key? Thank you.

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  3. #2
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    There should be a sticker on the machine with the key code on it.

    If you do NOT have a sticker, then you MAY not have a legal copy.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  4. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    If your product key is lost or the sticker is worn off, try one of these apps to help locate and un-encrypt the product key in your registry.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  5. #4
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    If you use one of the key-finder programs (I use ProduKey myself) there is a possibility that what you find is the manufacturer's generic installation key, which will be the same across thousands of PCs. This is particularly true for Dell and HP. It won't work for a reinstall from the XP installation CDs (although you may get, or be able to produce, a restore CD which has the product key "built in").

    The product key on the holographic sticker on the side of the case, or underneath for a laptop, is the only reliable product key.
    BATcher

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  6. #5
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Many PC's, especially those made by a local vendor, DO NOT have a sticker on the outside of the case.
    Also, many people like to DE-Badge their PC's, so if there ever was a Lic sticker, it's long GONE.

    My favorite little program to display the Lic Key is the "Magic Jelly Bean".

    Also the "SIW" (System Information for Windows) program, under Applications > Licenses will display the Product Key.

    It's really NOT hidden, as so many people think. Many programs can and will display it.

    Good Luck,
    the Doctor
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  7. #6
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Who View Post
    Many PC's, especially those made by a local vendor, DO NOT have a sticker on the outside of the case.
    Also, many people like to DE-Badge their PC's, so if there ever was a Lic sticker, it's long GONE.
    Then clearly they haven't read what Microsoft says about the Certificate of Authenticity (the posh name for the product key holographic sticker):

    A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) is a label that helps you identify genuine Microsoft software. It includes advanced piracy prevention features to help you verify the authenticity of the software you acquired. A COA may also contain a barcode that is used for product tracking purposes.

    Please retain the COA. A COA should always accompany the product that it is associated with. COAs cannot be purchased separately.

    For more information about COAs, view the Certificate of Authenticity page.


    (There are a number of pretty pictures in this latter link).

    And also you don't seem to have read my previous post, that the product key produced by product-key-finder programs may not necessarily be the product key which you would need to reinstall XP from scratch.
    Here's what ProduKey says:

    Known Problems
    [...]
    * If you bought your computer with installed operating system, you may find the Windows product key appeared in ProduKey utility is different from the product key on your Windows CD. This problem is mostly reported with Dell computers.


    No doubt similar comments appear in the documentation for other product key finder programs...
    BATcher

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