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

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Charles Farley

. . . such as: How committed are you to needing to use XP for this machine? It may be more trouble than it's worth, as you already may be finding out. There are various ways and means available to do what you are saying you want to do, but they are of questionable legality, not to mention their varying degrees of effectiveness. Moreover, I'm sure you wouldn't want to leave your parents with a modded version of XP Pro or whatever you may want to settle on, and I'm guessing the hardware would be a little light to be able to run Windows 7 properly.

All this being said--and hear me out, now--you could simply choose one the many excellent, top-shelf linux distributions available. I would suggest these as alternatives:

Mint Linux
Vector Linux
Ultimate Linux

I would especially recommend SimplyMEPIS and Vector; there's a new Mint out but I have not tried it. Still, the Mint Linux 11 laptop I have has had almost no problems for the past two years, and it's used pretty much every day of the week.

Depending on what your parents need to or want to do on this computer, and also depending on what sorts and brands of peripherals they may need to connect to this computer would be an important factor. I know most everyone rolls their eyes as soon as they read "linux" and dismiss it out of hand, but that's an unfortunate mistake mostly made by people who are quick to type things like "TL-DR."

I can understand why you may be insistent on keeping WinXP (in my opinion, it's the standard for all user-friendly operating systems) but you've got to remember that XP is on its way out with Microsoft, too--its support will be ending in 2014, but Microsoft tends to abandon their end-of-life products long before their official dates for ending support. So, you're going to have to look for another OS soon anyhow.

Why not check out some of the operating systems I've mentioned? With LiveCDs/DVDs and bootable USB media, it's easy and even a little enjoyable to check out a new OS.