The Dell disk loaded the second XP without requiring the entering of any key
. Since you did not enter a key, The key is slipstreamed in to the install process. This is usually due to the fact it is a Dell CD. Volume license CD's are usually the same way. Entering a key and activation are 2 different things.
You can have as many OS's on the drive as you want. I believe that you should be able to install ffrom the CD running from the hard drive. The only time you couldn't would be if you wanted to wipe out/reformat the drive to get rid of the OS you are running from.
Do you have the bios set up to boot from cd? You should get to a screen during the boot process that states (boot from CD hit any key". It sounds like you are seeing that. If that is true, the the CD is probably a copy and not bootable.
Being that this is what you call "generic CD", I hope it is a legal copy and not pirated! A pirated copy will not activate. And if it does activate, you will not get the windows updates because of windows genuine advantage.
What happened to the XP software CD or recovery CD that is on the unit now? Did you have any?
What I would suggest is to get all the data (pictures, mp3's, etc ) backed up. The following won't work because you can not get in to the old windows. For info only.
I would also suggest backing up (as you previously asked) IE and Firefox bookmarks and Netscape Mail and Thunderbird Mail. Check out Rshaffer post 41 and 43 on that.
To back up Firefox book marks.....
Go to Bookmarks at very top
Go to Organize Bookmarks
At top..click on Import and Backup
Choose backup and then save to your CD/DVD/flash drive
To backup IE favorites
Go to File
Go to import/export...and run the wizard.
Export (save) to a location such as CD/DVD/flash drive.
Where Firefox bookmarks are stored. Where Firefox bookmarks are stored
You might be able to save them by pure DOS through the CMD. I do not know if this will work! You would have to get in to DOS through the new XP and drill down (by changing directories) to c:\Documents and Settings\[your XP user name]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles. There will be an odd named directory (on mine it was mwru5r6u.default). There will then be a directory called bookmarkbackups. Once in that directory there will be a list of the backups. You will have to use dos to copy them someplace. I would suspect that if this works all we would have to do is import the file once windows is working.
Your IE favorites are located at C:\Documents and Settings\ <user>\Favorites. I do not know if you can get them through DOS either.
Exporting Netscape Mail- Google Search
My main concern is the "generic" XP CD. There are a couple ways we can go about this. We need to know if the "generic" will activate.What we know:
1. Key finder was run.
I have two keys, one is the handwritten one on the Dell XP CD that I used to load the new XP, the other is one I found by running a Keyfinder software.
I do not know what keys you have. If you can not get in to the old OS, you can not get the key.
2. The Dell key can only be used on the Dell computer.
3. The "generic" CD should have a install key.What you can do
1. Try a 3rd install from within windows using the generic CD.
2. Then try to activate it. At that time, you will find out if it is genuine or not.
We can also change the install key that is part of the "new" operating windows. Changing Installation Key-Posted at Geeks to Go in 2005
. We can then try to activate that windows and see what we get.
If you know that the other key that keyfinder found is your "old and corrupted" installation key, then that 1 can be used.