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Activation problem

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I figured one of yall may be able to help me..

30 days ago i reformated my HD from a windows xp home edition disk that came with my moms laptop since i lost my windows disk that came with mine. Everything seemed alright until the 30 days were up an i never thought to activate windows and it locked up on me and it said something along the lines of "You need to activate windows before you can log on. would you like to activate windows now" and if you click yes its a continous loop that logs back off to the user screen. I looked up on help forums and found that i should repair the windows installation which ended up screwing everything up to the point it wouldnt even boot up in safe mode. I had to reformat again and reinstall windows this time i tried to activate and register windows. First of all when it go's to the activation screen it says searching for connectivity or something along those lines then it automatically comes up with a screen with 5 slots with 5 characters in each for the product key.. but the thing is at the top it automatically comes up as the key is incorrect please fix it and retry before i put anything in, and when i do put the key that go's with the windows disk it says thats incorrect too.. if anyone has any idea i appreciate it alot thanks.
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Retired Tech

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Whatever disc you use, are you using your product key which should be on a sticker on the tower
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