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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Windows product key puzzle

    I decided to install MS Giant beta on my recently purchased laptop, and went through the Windows authentication process. I tried using the product key on the sticker on the machine, but it was not accepted. Used both Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder and Windows Key Finder, and came up with another two completely different key numbers. It is a Dell Inspiron laptop and came with an OS reinstallation CD. At the moment it isn' t a problem, but if future MS, updates etc require authentication, it will be.
    Am unable to find the product key via regedit as suggested on several sites. Running Windows XP Home SP2 on the laptop.
    I am curious about the different numbers identified, and would appreciate any suggestions on determining the correct key.
    Dianne

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    Re: Windows product key puzzle

    Hi Dianne

    A couple of thoughts here. If it's an OEM-style installation and you were given a CD for "reinstallation", it may well have been the wrong CD. I've seen shops with OEM CDs strewn all over the place and would be surprised if anybody actually gets the CD with a serial # that matches what was actually installed on their machine.

    If you look at <post#=428618>post 428618</post#> I mention a tiny utility that I've always found reliable in detecting software serial #s. Hope it helps. Finally, I believe that you can actually change the serial in the registry (to that on your CD) but I've never tried it and have no idea of any "cascading" ramifications.

    Alan

  3. #3
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    Re: Windows product key puzzle

    Thanks Alan. I remembered that Belarc Advisor gives the product key (and OEM key). It agreed with the Magical Jelly Bean (and not with the MS sticker or View Key XP). WinAudit gave only the OEM number. All very intriguing.....
    Dianne

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    Re: Windows product key puzzle

    There's a bit of an overlapping thread happening in the Windows98 forum. Bottom line is that your CD is probably not "branded" with a key, and that the ones you've retrieved should work.

    It's a bit remiss of Winaudit not to report on both keys. They're both just plain text, right beside each other in the registry. ???

    Alan

  5. #5
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    Re: Windows product key puzzle

    For technical reasons, OEM Windows installation on all computers has the same Windows installation key, assigned to computer vendor. For example, on your Windows re-installation CD you can find this key in UNATTEND.TXT file in i386 folder. This key is for technical purposes only (automated re-installation), and supposedly not to be used for any other purposes. You muse use your Windows key from the sticker on your computer (that was the idea, anyway). It should not be a problem in any cases, and this is the first time I heard a program require really used installation key. You must mention it in your Beta testing report.

    Do not forget reformat your hard drive and re-install Windows after you finish your beta testing!

  6. #6
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    Re: Windows product key puzzle

    The MS authentication process wouldn't accept the key on the sticker. However there was an alternative authentication mode available (it asked for the manufacturer of the computer, so I presume tells MS something about the origin of the OEM software) .
    The software I installed is MS' recently purchased Giant AntiSpyware , and I feel fairly safe after reading many reviews that it is OK to use in its beta version. I have read that eventually the authentication process will be requred for Windows updates etc, so I hope that MS will continue to use the alternative authentication mode for the millions of us with OEM versions of Windows!

  7. #7
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    Re: Windows product key puzzle

    Are you talking about the 'Windows Genuine Advantage' authentication? That is done by installing an ActiveX control. There should be nothing to enter.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Windows product key puzzle

    Maybe MS has revised the procedure Joe, but a few months ago, the authentication would not accept my key either. I had to go the same route - i.e enter the computer manufacturer (Dell).
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
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    Re: Windows product key puzzle

    Joe, I can't remember the exact details of the sequence.
    The first option was to enter the key, which was rejected ( I think I as given a couple more chances to get it right, tried one and bailed out) then I used the alternative method of authentication. I think I did have to accept an Active X control, then it all ran automatically and the software was accepted as authentic.
    Dianne

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    Re: Windows product key puzzle

    Glad it seems to be sorted out.

    Joe
    Joe

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