Windows Legacy OS forum

Question

Can't get into my computer help!?

by dorrisgurl / January 24, 2013 11:39 AM PST

Someone please read and help. I already tried calling windows xp customer support, but they could not help me at all. I have lost my windows xp product key, and I was going to use a program to search my pc for the product key, but I can't get into my computer at all. I have tried f-10 but nothing is working and I can't get past the windows xp install screen. Is there any way to get into my computer to download the product key finder? If not I will have to find a way to get a new tower, which I have no money for at the moment. Someone please HELP!

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Clarification Request
It's not clear what state your PC is in
by wpgwpg / January 24, 2013 11:59 AM PST

I take it your computer became unusable, so you decided to reinstall XP, is that right? When you tried to install, how far did it get? Did it copy files? Did it format your hard drive? Does your computer not have a sticker with the product key? What is it on the computer that you think will give you the product key? Have you tried calling the manufacturer, giving them the serial no. of your computer and seeing if they can give you the key? Wasn't the key included with the packaging for the XP install disc? Did you make a system backup of your computer? Do you have the discs to restore to factory settings? The answer to your questions depend on knowing these things because it's not obvious to me what you think you can get from the hard disk to help you and why you think that's the best approach. For one thing it's not obvious that by attempting to reinstall XP you haven't wiped out whatever you had on the hard disk.

If you really need something to boot from to access your hard drive, you can create a Ubuntu DVD and boot to a desktop similar to the Windows one, but it isn't at all obvious at this point that this would be the most productive thing to do.

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Re:
by dorrisgurl / January 24, 2013 6:54 PM PST

My computer was in perfect condition but initially got sort of slow. Someone told me to try restoring my pc to factory settings, so I did. My oc did not come with windows xp, it came with an older version on windows. I had bought the xp home edition years ago, and tried to install it with what I thought was the product key. Everything worked fine until it was time to enter the product key, when I did it said it was invalid. So I called windows support and they said that the key I had was for the update and not the original set up disk. I tried seeing if anyone that I knew had a product key, but no one did. I don't know what else to do. When I turn the pc on it says Compaq and gives me the option to press f10 for setup, and nothing there worked or helped, and to press f12 for network, which didn't help either. Then, it goes straight into the windows xp setup up screen and asks for the product key. I am so confused!

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Re: confused
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 24, 2013 10:37 PM PST
In reply to: Re:

You're not the only one who is confused.

If your PC is in the same state now before the install of XP as it was when you installed XP the first time, and you use the same CD and the same licence key, it should work. So something must be different. But it's not clear from your story what is different.

If you came as far with installing to have XP asking for the product key, most likely the old one is already gone from the hard disk. It's only in Windows 8 that it starts asking for the key in stead of ending with it.

And just for interest: what OS did this laptop come with originally?

Kees

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Reinstalling not same as restoring to factory settings
by wpgwpg / January 25, 2013 12:06 AM PST
In reply to: Re:

Once you upgraded to XP from whatever you had before, you lost the ability to restore to factory settings. And by reinstalling XP over what you had, you've gotten into a mess. This could've been prevented had you been making full system backups so you could've restored from one of the backups, but as it is, it's not obvious what you could do. Since your computer originally came with something "older than XP", it must be over 12 years old. That's an extremely long lifetime for a computer, so if I were in your position, I'd just buy a new computer.

When you've gotten your system back like you want it, I urge you to get yourself an external hard drive and a good 3rd party backup program. You can set it up to do everything automagically at the time and frequency of your choice. 1 TB external hard drives are about $70 these days and a really good FREE backup program is the Easeus todo backup free which you can download from
http://www.todo-backup.com/products/home/free-backup-software.htm . That can save you a lot of time and frustration the next time something like this happens. Sooner or later it happens to all computers for one reason or another.

Good luck.

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