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  1. #1
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    lost cdkey (Win XP)

    I bought a copy of WIN XP awhile back. I never installed it, but did use the CD to update my other computer as I totally lost that installation CD. I never entered the CD key anywhere. Like a dummy, I was not interested in the authenticity certificate and threw it out, not realizing it was the only place I had the CD key required for installation. Last week, I installed WIN XP on a computer that had been using WIN 98. (New Hard drive so Win 98 is probably irrelevant)). On installation, I installed XP using my new XP CD, but put in the old CD KEY from my main computer. It did activate, but about every other day, I have to repair the installation.

    Is this likely because of the mismatch of CD and CD KEY?
    Is there a way I can send the CD back to Microsoft so they can verify it was not activated (with the correct CD key) and give me a replacement CD complete with CD KEY?

    I'm totally new at this forum stuff so please forgive me if I am rude or appear totally stupid. <img src=/S/confused3.gif border=0 alt=confused3 width=45 height=45>

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: lost cdkey (Win XP)

    Welcome to Woody's Lounge.

    I'd call Microsoft on the phone and explain the situation to them. From what I've heard, they're usually pretty reasonable about things like this.

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: lost cdkey (Win XP)

    May I echo Hans' Welcome? And there's no need to apologize, for your post is not rude. None of us knows all the answers and that's why we're members of The Lounge. Before you take Hans' advice, and I too think you need to CALL Microsoft to explain your situation: Do I understand that you have TWO Windows XP CDs but only one key? Are they both MS "branded" CDs or is one or more of them an OEM provided product? You might have a ticklish situation with MS if one or more of the disks came from an OEM manufacturer, but I'd still try the call.

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    Re: lost cdkey (Win XP)

    Thanks for the welcome!

    According to the booklet that the CD was attached to, it looks like it may be OEM software. When I bought SYSTEM 1, I bought it without an operating system or hard drive. A friend loaded the operating system on to a hard drive (I had bought when the price was too hard too resist) he put into the computer and he gave me the CD key to activate it, hence SYSTEM 1. I activated that system with the CD key he gave me. I bought another WIN XP PRO with the intention of eventually loading it on to my other computer at some point in the future. When I needed to put the CD into SYSTEM 1 for some reason , I opened up the wrapping and popped the CD into SYSTEM 1 to do its thing. No CD KEY was required. After I was done, the certificate of authenticity was flopping around inside the booklet and I threw it out when I was cleaning my desk one day. I thought it was just a fancy run of the mill certificate of authenticity which was purely show. I did not realize it was the only thing that had the CD KEY I would need.

    I loaded WIN XP from the CD I had bought onto SYSTEM 2 and when I went to find the CD KEY, I realized I did not have the one that came with the disk. After searching fruitlessly for an hour, I figured I would just for the heck of it try the CD KEY I did have. Amazingly enough, it seemed to work and I was able to activate SYSTEM 2. Everything seemed to work ok for a few days, but recently I have been having SYSTEM 2 boot and say I need to repair Windows with the CD. I have the PC boot to the CD and then everything seems wonderful for a day or two, but then I have the same thing happen. I don't know for sure if the problem has anything to do with CD key mismatch or something else.

    Opinions?

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: lost cdkey (Win XP)

    After reading all of your information, I'm still not clear on something... please verify that the facts below are correct:
    <UL><LI>SYSTEM 1 was set up by a friend, and no CD was provided with it.
    <LI>You purchased the Windows XP installation CD, somewhere, that you used on SYSTEM 2.
    <LI>You have one installation CD with Windows XP that you have now used on two computers.
    <LI>SYSTEM 1 is operating properly
    <LI>SYSTEM 2 is experiencing problems and you are trying to repair Windows with the CD used to install it, but with a different product key[/list]Here's where it's unclear for me: the CD that you purchased... was a retail copy of Windows XP? Where did you buy it, and what does the packaging look like? My retail copy of XP came in the standard blue box and the CD key was imprinted on a yellow/orange sticker inside of the cardboard fold-out that was in the package. I never got a "certificate of authenticity" from the retail box, but it is a common OEM practice to include these, usually with a holographic image. Thus the importance of the packaging in determining the product's origins.

    Now, to answer what I can from your post: the key mismatch would not cause you to have problems as you are describing. If you install XP with a previously used key, you will get prompted for activation over and over until the timer runs out, but you will not experience flaky problems with the operating system as a result. Thus, whatever is happening to SYSTEM 2 is not a result of a product key problem; it's something quite different.

    There is NO WAY to get the proper CD key for your purchased copy if you pitched it; the disc is relatively useless now. That said, if you can provide clear information on exactly what SYSTEM 2 is telling you, we can assist you in troubleshooting the problems you are having. What error messages are you seeing? When do they occur? Describe the symptoms that are leading you to the repair - but as it related to the problems you are having, forget about CD keys. For now.
    -Mark

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    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: lost cdkey (Win XP)

    On a different tack from WyllyWylly, there are many programs which will display the keys/serial numbers of various programs you have installed, most usually the operating system and Office. This assumes that you can run them on the PCs you have. In any event, they give useful information to note down somewhere else.

    Try Belarc Advisor and/or Nir Soft's Produkey.

    If it ends up that the operating system keys are the same, then you can't take that further with Microsoft, and really need a new, legal, copy of XP on one machine.

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  7. #7
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    Re: lost cdkey (Win XP)

    All true.
    from what you describe, I bought an OEM CD. I called the company that I bought SYSTEM 1 from to get the OS as I did not purchase the OS when I originally bought SYSTEM 1. (It was purchased at a computer show) They directed me to buy the OS from a compnay online who were advertising it for about $135. It came with the CD and booklet shrink wrapped together. What is difference between OEM and retail version?

    Activation worked fine first time. Have not had to reactivate, attempted to reactivate, or been notified activation was unsuccessful.

    Am 99% positive same CD key used to activate both copies, but there IS the 1%...

    The next time I have the problem with SYSTEM 2, I will pay close attention to info. It says something about a corrupted file and that I need to enter r at a certain screen, but I will give better details when it happens again, although I may be lucky and not have the recurrence... sort of like the mechanic listening for the noise that is never heard while he is listening for it.

    Thank God for not having to worry about a CD key. When I wasn't able to locate that CD key, in the middle of the installation, I was kicking myself for being so stupid.

  8. #8
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: lost cdkey (Win XP)

    Different Windows XP installation CDs can require different keys. Let's say my original retail copy gets cracked or scratched. I could not just borrow a Windows XP CD from work and use it to install Windows using my product key, which came from the retail package. Nor could I borrow your OEM copy for the same purpose. Aside from that, differences in the packaging on OEM copies is simpler and does not come in a large blue (or green) box. What you describe sounds OEM-ish.

    I think it would be good for informational purposes if you would follow John's advice and get a utility to view the product key used to install Windows on SYSTEM1 and SYSTEM2. Write them down. If they are different, make sure that you know which machine they belong to.

    When you have noted what error messages you get, start a new thread here with a descriptive subject line and we (Loungers that is) will help you troubleshoot it. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

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    Re: lost cdkey (Win XP)

    I did get the Belarc utility as recommended. The good thing is that SYSTEM2 booted ok (today). The bad thing is the CD keys are the same. I am using a 2WIRE 1701HG GATEWAY to connect to DSL for both SYSTEMS if that helps explain my situation. In a nutshell, I have 1 CD and another CDKEY which did work, but from my understanding should not have. I did notice that the software license # is different. between the 2 SYSTEMS. I guess I should hold onto the CD and pray I do not need to reload the OS on either machine.

  10. #10
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    Re: lost cdkey (Win XP)

    Mark,

    >> Different Windows XP installation CDs can require different keys. Let's say my original retail copy gets cracked or scratched. I could not just borrow a Windows XP CD from work and use it to install Windows using my product key, which came from the retail package. <<

    So XP is different from earlier versions? When I was working, I used to be able to use ANY WinNT CD, for instance, to install the OS, as long as I had a valid product key. You're saying each individual CD is matched to a specific product key?

  11. #11
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: lost cdkey (Win XP)

    OEM CDs may need product keys from the specific OEM.
    The key also needs to match the version (Home or Professional).

    regards,

    StuartR

  12. #12
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    Re: lost cdkey (Win XP)

    Not each and every individual CD is unique, but an OEM disc, a corporate volume disc, and one purchased at retail are all different. What you could do with WinNT installation CDs is no longer easily accomplished with XP. See Stuart's answer as well as mine...
    -Mark

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    Re: lost cdkey (Win XP)

    In a nutshell, I have 1 CD and another CDKEY which did work in activating WIN XP PRO on SYSTEM2 , but from my understanding should not have. I did notice that the software license # is different between SYSTEM1 and SYSTEM2 based on output from BELARC.

    1) Both license #s have "OEM' as part of the license ID. Is that a possible reason why my XP activated on both machines using same CDKEY?
    2) Am I correct in realizing I am only supposed to have 1 OEM CD (for SYSTEM1) and I should have purchased a retail CD when I loaded SYSTEM2 ? If so, just due to price?
    3) Should I just accept that I was lucky and move on to other "problems"?

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