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Windows XP (and other) License Keys

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  • Windows XP (and other) License Keys

    Is there a way to tell which CD a Windows XP license key will work with? I constantly run into situations where a user needs a computer reformatted but they lost all their CDs. I use a keyfinder to get their key but then I'm at a loss. I have an MSDN subscription so I can try the key with a retail and volume license version of windows that I can download but it usually doesnt work. Is there anything else I can do to help the user avoid purchasing a new license? Is there some master version of Windows that will just take any valid XP key I have?

    This question applies to all versions of windows including server 2003!

  • #2
    Re: Windows XP (and other) License Keys

    On an XP system (and 2003) if you right click on My Computer and press Properties, you'll see under Registered to that there's a product ID. If that contains "OEM" (from memory) and/or there's an OEM logo under the picture of the monitor, then it's an OEM installation. If you don't see that, then you know it's either a Retail or a VL installation. Not sure of ways of telling those apart, sorry. Plus this does require the existing installation to be accessible.

    Remember to look on the chassis for an OEM licence sticker - if there isn't one, then (hopefully) it's a Retail installation. If it's an OEM or VL install without an OEM licence sticker, it's not legal. Volume licenced copies of Windows desktop versions require a valid OEM (or Retail) licence to 'upgrade' from.
    Last edited by gforceindustries; 16th September 2009, 00:02.
    Gareth Howells

    BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

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    • #3
      Re: Windows XP (and other) License Keys

      Wow thanks for that! Learn something new everyday