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WinXP Product Key

by dpilot83 / January 1, 2007 5:03 AM PST

I'll start with the basic question and then you can read as many details below as you think are necessary. Thanks.

Can I use a burned CD of WinXP Pro SP2 with the product key I have from my old damaged WinXP Pro (no service packs on the CD)? I currently believe doing so is not a legal issue as I explain below (feel free to explain why I'm wrong if I am) so I'm just wanting to know if it's possible.

I obtained an OEM copy of WinXP Pro when I built my computer 5 years ago (doesn't even have SP1 included on the disc). As far as I can understand it, it's a legal copy. It has the shiny CD like M$ products do as well as the shiny sticker with the product code on it and I bought it along with hardware so as far as I can tell, me being able to legally use this copy of XP is not an issue.

The problem is that I need to reinstall Windows on my computer and I have damaged the disc so that I cannot use it. Since it is OEM and I do not have receipts it appears that I cannot get a replacement copy from M$ and I don't even remember the name of the company I bought the software from when I bought it online five years ago.

One of my friends is still in school and the school has some sort of an agreement with Microsoft allowing students currently in a computer class to get a burned copy of the schools XP Pro SP2 CD. They are then required to log on to some academic site and put their information in to receive a valid code. They then have a free valid copy of WinXP Pro SP2. I'm wondering if he sends me a burned copy, will my code work with his burned disc? Since I'm using the code I payed for, as far as I can tell this would be legal if it works.

I thought that it may be possible that the CD they are burning only works with a range of product codes and that those codes are only available through academic avenues rendering my code useless for that particular CD. Basically I don't want to wipe out what's left of my limping computer with a fresh install using that disc and then find out that I cannot complete the installation because my product code doesn't work. Thanks for the advice.

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Try it, but OEM keys differ from retail keys and the CDs
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 1, 2007 5:36 AM PST
In reply to: WinXP Product Key

Are ever so slightly different. You won't know till you try it.

The good news is Microsoft will replace your CD for not very much compared to another full copy. Some fail to even ask for the replacement since they think the reciepts are needed. I offered to send in the CD and got mine but then again I registered my OS. Some won't which sadly makes replacement tougher.


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One problem...
by John.Wilkinson / January 1, 2007 5:45 AM PST
In reply to: WinXP Product Key

Legally you're pretty much covered since you would be using your own valid Windows XP Professional product doesn't truly matter if you use your own CD or someone else's, and the service pack makes no difference either. The problem comes in when considering your copy was OEM whereas he has an academic version...the product key from one will generally not work on the other. You could give it a shot considering it does not make any changes to your computer unless you enter a valid product key it wouldn't result in the loss of data if it declined to proceed, though chances are it will refuse. At that point you would either have to find someone with an OEM copy like yours or purchase a new one.


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One is an apple, the other is an orange.
by DarCLew2 / January 1, 2007 5:52 AM PST
In reply to: WinXP Product Key

I bought my CD early this year from an outside company and they offerred both DELL & GATEWAY OEMS. At that time, that was legit, but the company is facing legal issues with the same WINXP CD's for they are clearly marked for use as a student. They no longer sell them. I have not looked at their site in over 11 months. You can see for yourself at: Other reputable sites sell them like' or I'm sure somene will tell you the best places to get a new WINXP CD, Home Edition, Pro, some are SP1 & others have SP2 on it. Darrell L.

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You say the computer is still limping along
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / January 1, 2007 5:57 AM PST
In reply to: WinXP Product Key

Where both Bob and John have explained that what you want to do may or may not work, are there any issues with the computer that we or others here could help you out with, and so avoid re-installing the OS?

You say it's limping along. If it's doing that much, then perhaps it is still able to be saved.

What issues are you having?


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I tried using a retail copy of XP
by glb613 / January 1, 2007 6:10 AM PST
In reply to: WinXP Product Key

with my valid OEM product key number and it wouldn't work.

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by dpilot83 / January 1, 2007 6:33 AM PST
In reply to: WinXP Product Key

Actually the computer is not doing too bad. I had a virus about a week ago that I removed. It has seemed slightly more sluggish than normal for awhile now but not unbearably so. The main thing is that I'm a little bit of a stickler for perfection on some things. Since I had the virus and I don't have the expertise to tell if it did anything to my system and I don't know if the removal of the virus put everything back to the way it should be, and it's going slightly slower than it used to, I prefer to just reformat and start from scratch. All my data is on separate partitions and I have adequate backups as well as copies of all the software that I need after the installation so it's just more of a peace of mind thing to me. I find I end up doing this about once ever 6 months on average.

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In that case
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / January 1, 2007 6:11 PM PST
In reply to: Limping

you will need that valid disk from Microsoft.

But I find that my own 4 year old OEM version of XP still runs very smoothly with just a little regular maintenance.

If you could do the same to yours, there may not be the need for regular "crash and burn" reinstalls.

In this thread;
are a number of tips for keeping a computer running clean and smooth. I still refer to it, even though it is listed in the Computer Newbies forum. It is invaluable.


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first check out other options
by santuccie / January 1, 2007 9:36 AM PST
In reply to: WinXP Product Key

If you have an OEM version of XP Pro, rather than a "retail" version, it will usually work with a proprietary OEM key. And if you got this disc from a school, it probably is OEM. The way to know for certain is this: if the key is accepted during installation, you're good to go. You can try to activate online, and it may or may not work. Otherwise, you'll have to go through the whole motion with the robot on the phone, which will wind up telling you she couldn't validate your key and forward you to an operator.

If the copy you have installed on your "limping" machine is still stable, there is another way. You can clone the old drive to the new one, using a program like Acronis True Image. They are giving away version 7 for free, if you're interested. You can get it here:

Since your OS is proprietary, you shouldn't even be asked to activate. You will have to install new device drivers, however.

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