General discussion

Reload XP Pro on an OEM laptop with no restore disk

I have a very nice top of the line Compaq NC8000 that I just mess around with. It has become quite slow. The USB ports failed and I use a PCMCIA card with two USB ports. The Bluetooth adapter seems to have failed so I just use a corded USB mouse. Also, the two batteries drain in a matter of days if the computer is stored with them in place.

I decided to reload XP Pro to see if any of these problems could be OS related and used the technique described in:

for a clean install. It took some time but I made an XP Pro disk with SP2 slipstreamed.

The disk booted fine, took many hours to do a full format and finally hung up on the windows install, "installing devices" with 39 min to go.

Has anyone used this or a similar technique to reinstall XP Pro?

I booted the computer using my Acronis recovery disk and reinstalled my back-up image from an external hard drive. I was a little surprised that it worked.

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This is apparently a known problem

I searched on:

"setup will complete in approximately: 34 minutes"

and found a lot of information.

I am working on it.

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The install ran

I reseated the hard drive and tried again.

When the install process asked for my Product Key I entered the one found on the Microsoft sticker on the bottom of the computer and got:

"the product id you entered is not valid"

I reloaded my OS, ran MGADiag.exe and the three parts of the Product Key that Microsoft doesn't conceal with **** didn't match the one on the computer tag.

Well, so much for used computers.

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(NT) And reseated the memory modules
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To me this sounds to be correct

It may have something to do with the volume label of the CD used or something on the disk linked to that volume label. When I slipstream a SP into my retail or OEM version of XP and create a new boot disk, I make sure to use the volume label of the original. I've never had problems. But, I've not done what you did. There may be some difference with OEM copies on a manufacturer's image. I've even found that, at least on some laptops/netbooks, the product ID code on the bottom of the device doesn't match what's embedded in the OS installation. Go figure. OEMs have tricks that aren't for public use. I've been fortunate in that all the PCs I've had to support for a school have either been done with full OEM copies of XP and not some image file as these are custom built. Most of what the school has otherwise comes from volume licensing so re-installations or repair installations are never an issue.

I'm thinking that your problem comes from trying to use a product ID code that's tied to specific OEM copy type that you cannot or have not it the volume label or something expected on that disk that needs to match the PID. Your experience seems to confirm what I've suspected about the various OEM copies of XP. So much happened from Win '98 to XP that made reinstalling or moving an OS difficult even if we had some sort of valid license to use the product.

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In answer to the question

about "Has anyone used this or a similar technique to reinstall XP Pro?"
I did it just for the experience of trying. It was WinXP Home though not Pro. I had a laptop with reinstall disks made with the entire harddrive image and wanted just the OS. It worked just fine. If the Acronis reinstall worked, then there must be an error in the first try of the System disk that you made.
I also tried it with an HP that had Windows Media Center, but could not get the second disk request on the reinstall to work and ended up with Windows XP Pro. But the technique worked.

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Well, so much for used computers

Ah I see!

That product key is for the CD with the OS that Compaq(HP) supplied. Go order the restore media for this machine and then you'll get the OS for a fraction (usually 30) of the full price (usually 200).

Or if you can use it, install Linux.

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