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Windows Product Keys (Again!)


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#1
Mijj

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Hi,

I am trying to cobble together a good pc from several half dead ones, and really struggling to find a match between the license keys I have and the XP discs I am installing.

I have two legit product keys, from two of the computers. One is a label on the machine, that says "Windows XP Home Edition Mesh Computers PLC" so I take this to be an OEM version. The other I recovered uing a keyfinder programme, and is identified as a Windows XP Pro key, with no indication on the actual machine that it is a major brand.

Just how many variations of each variant of Windows are there? So far I have come across the following variants in in each variant:
- Retail
- Corporate
- OEM (Is a (eg) Dell OEM build/product key the same as a (eg) HP one, or are they all specific to the manufacturer?
- Volume

I am sure there must be more. I am trying to keep the cobbled pc legit - it would be so much easier just to use a pirate copy!!

Great set of forums (fora?) BTW - really glad I discovered it....

Thanks

Mijj
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#2
phillipcorcoran

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When Windows is pre-installed at the factory (in other words, an OEM product), you cannot transfer that Windows to another PC - it's illegal. When the computer 'dies', it's operating system effectively dies with it. That's why the Product Key is on a sticker attached to the PC and not on a separate card - that Product Key is forever tied to that computer under the terms of the Microsoft OEM end-user licence agreement. They cannot be separated.

The only way you can legally put Windows on to another computer is if it's a retail copy for self-installing.
You can then put it on another PC provided you first remove it completely from the PC it was previously installed on.

So the bottom line is, if you don't have a copy of Windows that wasn't factory-preinstalled on a computer, you cannot legally do what you're trying to do. You need a copy of Windows that was bought retail as a self-install product.

Edited by phillipcorcoran, 10 June 2010 - 05:41 AM.

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#3
DaffyKantReed

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@Mijj:

Windows XP has three several different versions:

OEM
Retail
Volume Licence

Windows XP Home was sold in the first two types, where Windows XP Pro was sold in all three.

Windows XP Media Center Edition and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition were sold as VLK and OEM versions.

The word "Corporate" when used in the context of Windows XP is synonymous with warez.

OEM media needs and OEM key. Retail media needs a retail key, and, you guessed it, VL media needs a VL key.



Nota Bene:

Technically, if you're using OEM media, the licence dies if you change the motherboard. If you did /not change/ the motherboard, then you should be good to go.

Call Microsoft and explain yourself, but keep it brief. Chances are they'll sort you out.
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#4
Mijj

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Thanks for that!

Is there any way I can tell which version (retail, OEM, VL) I am dealing with - either from the key, or from the Windows installation folder (the installation itself is dead, but I can access the folder)

Thanks a lot,

Mijj
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#5
DaffyKantReed

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http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310104
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#6
Mijj

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That's great if Windows is running, but in my case I have an old HDD with windows on it, which does not run, so I can't use the method described. Is there a registry key somwhere that I can lookup or something??
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#7
deggitt

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Check your i386 folder, look for --SETUPP.INI--. The PID number is what you want. With this number check this site to see the version you have.

http://wiki.lunarsof...ft_Product_Code


You should check the PID on your hard drive & disk to check that they match.
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