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Windows XP Pro Activation w/o CDs or original product key?

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paulprivate

1: Determine if the hidden restore partition still exists on the hard drive by pressing F10 as the PC starts. There is a chance the dumbo who installed the Pro copy may have left the hidden partition untouched. If it's there just follow the instructions for a full restoration back to as new.
2: Find/buy/borrow a copy of the genuine CD for that 'particular' model of HP PC. These CD's check for the PC's idividual hardware tattoo before installing. Once this check is passed the CD will install a fully activated copy of the OS and other software for that model PC as with Option 1. (note it must be that exact model of HP, a Pro CD from another model probably won't install)
3: If the HP / Microsoft Certificate of Authority with the Key printed on it is still stuck to the PC case then almost any OEM XP Home CD will accept this Key and install properly. In this case you need only borrow/copy an OEM CD to install from.
4: Obtain/buy a 'Pro' license key sticker and use that to activate the present Pro install.

Options 1: to 2: will give you a freshly minted PC as came out of the box, drivers in place, all ready to go. You will have some updates to install (hundreds depending on the service pack the PC came with) but it will all happen with little interaction by yourself.
Option 3: Will give you a 'legal' activated copy of Home, but you may have to then download drivers etc from HP to get a fully working PC. You won't get any bundled software.
Option 4: Is dodgy legally if the sticker is a recycled one and like Option 3: you may have to get the drivers etc from HP, and no bundled software.

Note 1: if the PC is used in a domestic environment there is absolutely ''no'' advantage using Pro over Home.
Note 2: Option 3 will give a better running PC as it won't be loaded down with all the HP crapware/trials/bloatware they come infected with out of the box.

Best