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  • #2177972

    Illegal Copy Of Windows XP


    by yobtaf ·

    I’m basically a MAC person and my wife a PC person, so I know
    both operating systems, though I know Mac better. Recently my
    wife, who is not very computer smart (sorry Nancy), asked me to
    fix up her computer. I discovered that she was running an illegal
    copy of Windows XP Professional, I wouldn’t get into how this
    happened, I’ll just say that I disapprove of this practice and the
    maintenance problems it causes. By the way she was unaware of

    My question is: Can I install a legal copy without loosing all her
    settings and should I wait for the new Windows operating
    system to come out, which rumor says will be late this year? I
    don’t want spend the money twice in one year.

    Also, I’m a little confused as to which Windows XP Professional
    package I would use.

    I need advise.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3078009

      are you sure

      by jaqui ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      it is an illegal copy?
      if it’s windows update telling you it is, that is thier windows genuine advantage activex control tells everyone that they have an illegal copy of windows by default.

      I watched this happen to a friend, after I watched him break the seal on a brand new copy of xp pro, he was told it was a pirated copy.

      • #3078983

        yea double check

        by tink! ·

        In reply to are you sure

        I have yet to figure out how you can get around WinXP’s registration process. (what happened to the good ol’ Win95 that you could bypass with all 1’s?)
        It’s highly unlikely that your wife’s computer has illegal copy installed because she’d never have been able to use the computer for this long.

        • #3078917

          Here’s the deal

          by yobtaf ·

          In reply to yea double check

          My wife’s hard drive crashed. She brought the computer to a local
          guy to replace it an save her files, which he did, but he also
          installed his copy of Windows XP Professional (multi license version
          I think) on it. Somehow the the license # he installed with it doesn’t
          pass the authentication process when I try to update, get patches,
          toots etc. from Microsoft. The local guy refuses to help me, saying
          “If it’s running don’t touch it” which to me is ridiculous. How can I
          maintain a computer that way.

        • #3078886

          He’s right……

          by qhcomputingny ·

          In reply to Here’s the deal

          If it’s running, you shouldn’t bother with it.. What do you care if it’s running in the first place. I am not supporting piracy, but hey, it’s running.. If you don’t know how to add these updates other than going to Windows Updates, you probably don’t know much about pc’s to begin with. Leave it to him, that’s what you paid him for..

        • #3077619

          A Little known Trick

          by pbounds ·

          In reply to He’s right……

          A friend of mine told me that if you set your updates to Automatic, it will go ahead and download the updates to your computer. Only if you manually try to run Windows updates do you run into the Genuine program. I wouldn’t know. I have been legal since winders XP was initially released…

        • #3077583

          This is true

          by wrathchild ·

          In reply to A Little known Trick

          I’ve heard from several sources on this topic. According to what I’ve heard from them, the automatic updates somehow manages to bypass the whole thing, up to and including SP2 updates.

        • #3138820

          Thanks for the tip

          by puppybreath ·

          In reply to A Little known Trick

          I have an “illegal” copy of XP and haven’t been able to get updates for some time now. My problem started when my hard drive crashed. I put in a new hard drive and restored from an image of my old drive. According to Microsoft, I now have an illegal copy because I had an OEM version of XP and the copy is no longer valid if you change hardware configurations. The fact that I have the original installation disks and the key that came with the PC are immaterial. I explained my problem to Microsoft and their only response was “Buy another copy”. So thanks for getting me a way to keep up to date on fixes without giving Microsoft money for software I already purchased once.

        • #3078876

          What did you have in the first place?

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Here’s the deal

          If you bought the computer with XP Pro, then while you may technically be in violation, you have adhered to the spirit. If you bought the home edition, then you are running illegal software.

          If it were me and I had original CDs for installing the OS, I would format and reinstall – its not that difficult. If you don’t I would spend the $99 for a copy of XP home – you don’t need the professional version unless you are logging into a domain(large network with directory servers). It is worth it, because XP requires so many patches, and while there are ways to patch it manually, using auto updates is preferrable.


        • #3078828

          Windows Millennum?

          by yobtaf ·

          In reply to What did you have in the first place?

          It’s an old computer, an HP Pavillion 7855, purchased at a Best
          Buy, a long time ago. From what I can tell, it came with Windows
          Millennium Edition. For what the computer is being used for, I
          think she can still get a couple of years out of it.

          It sounds too me like all the third party software will be lost if I
          do a clean install of Windows XP.

          This is to subway00@…. No I’m not as knowledgeable of
          Windows as I would like to be. That’s why I’m asking your advise.
          But I’m learning a lot each day, enough to network my Mac and
          her PC.

        • #3078676

          Get your wife a Mac!

          by boitsfort ·

          In reply to Windows Millennum?

          That’s the best you can do to her.. and to you.

        • #3079611

          Reply To: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

          by yobtaf ·

          In reply to Get your wife a Mac!

          Thanks emilio,

          I wish she would accept that solution, but she’s one of those people
          who just wouldn’t change and I kind of like having a PC around to
          know what’s going on in the PC world.

        • #3079359

          Surely, you jest

          by mavmin2 ·

          In reply to Get your wife a Mac!

          Why in heaven’s name would you want to give her something that only 3% of the world uses??? Just like us old hippies need to get pastthe 60’s y’all need to get past the MAC and into the real world. I have no use for a Crapintosh.

        • #3078590

          Why Would This Help?

          by dave the computer guy ·

          In reply to Get your wife a Mac!

          I?m confused?

          With the new Mac OS looking more like Linux then a Mac OS and the new Mac hardware now running an Intel chipset.

          How a Mac different from a PC?

        • #3078533

          Wont accept a Mac

          by mjwx ·

          In reply to Get your wife a Mac!

          She sounds like a smart woman.

        • #3078454

          Why? and What difference?

          by boitsfort ·

          In reply to Get your wife a Mac!

          I switched. I’m a PC user at work and was a PC user at home since version 2.11 of DOS! Like all of you, I hear Mac fans describing how good Mac is, so I got tempted to find out by myself, rather than being told. That’s a scientific approach I believe. So I bought a Mac in Oct 2005, and I was positively surprised by its simplicity and reliability. See my blog:

          In this particular case, the wife changing to Mac would be a benefit, because it would make Robert’s life (as IT support) easier. And I cannot imagine a reason for the wife not being happy, by a stylish machine that delivers. Unless she runs very specila apps, she should not have any problem to switch. Most people just read emails and surf the web, plus watch movies and listen to music on their computers. All things that the Mac does perfectly.

          Let’s make a bet: your wife as an iPod and uses iTunes to buy music online. So the Mac is her natural choice.

          What difference makes a Mac? Really, it works so fine and let’s you focus on your daily tasks rather than fixing problems, updating anti-virus, anti-spyware or applying patches.

          I recently bought a Wifi USB adapter for my Windows PC. I bought a cheap one, and let me tell you: it cost me 2 hours to set it up, on my Plug n Play PC! This is a real abuse! First, the driver is not signed my MS for XP. As a user, should I care? This message does not interest me. I bought a device that the box says runs on Windows XP. The rest does not interest me. Than the driver install failed. I had to uninstall the driver, reboot the machine and finally reinstall. Then at next boot, the device is not recognised. After troubleshooting, it eventually works. Thanks God, I’m a PC expert, but I can’t imaging how your wife would have done it, should you be travelling that week… And now, at boot, I get a blue screen of death, unless I unplug the adapter!

          I can tell you, that none of this exist on Mac. That’s the difference. The price difference I spent on the Mac vs. equivalent (!!) PC, about 500$ is rapidly returned in saving time and effort on troubleshooting. Now I can really do my home videos rather than IT support of my PC…

        • #3078544

          About waiting for Vista….

          by geekchic ·

          In reply to Windows Millennum?

          I looked up the HP Pavillion 7855 and it is only capable of handling a maximum of 512 mg of memory and comes standard with only 128 mg. I am not real familiar with Vista yet but doesn’t it require at least 512 mgs as a minimum to run? In that case the computer wouldn’t run to well using Vista anyway.

          As for the guy that installed the illegal software, if he is in business, he should be stopped. If it is a friend then he is not much of a friend to tell you if it is working don’t worry about it….

        • #3078524

          Reply To: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

          by yobtaf ·

          In reply to About waiting for Vista….

          You’re right about the Pavilion. I bumped it up to the max of 512
          mg so I guess it’s a moot point. When Vista comes out it will be
          time to get her a new computer.

          As for the guy, he’s not a friend but it’s a small town and after
          addressing him about the copy of Windows XP, you can bet we’ll
          never use him again. Besides, I’ve just gone through a crash course
          in PCs and I can get by without him.

        • #3078451

          Don’t ever wait for the next release

          by boitsfort ·

          In reply to About waiting for Vista….

          If you need something now, go for it! Of course you can always wait for the next HW or SW, and delay forever, but that means you don’t really need. You desire. That’s different.

          Now, for Vista, it is expected for end of this year, but it has been delayed a lot and will be delayed even more… that’s for sure.

        • #3078330

          you couldn’t run Vista without a new cpu and motherboard

          by wojnar ·

          In reply to About waiting for Vista….

          Vista is a 64 bit operating system and my understanding is it will not run on a 32 bit system.

          Interestingly enough, if you have an Itel 64 bit CPU running Vista, you can’t run any 32 bit applications. The AMD 64 bit CPU’s will run 32 bit applications.

          Anybody have better information ?

        • #3140056

          If You Only Had…

          by pbounds ·

          In reply to Windows Millennum?

          Now if you Only had a Centralized Linux Samba server, you’d be set 😉 !

        • #3078825

          Reply To: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

          by akalinowski ·

          In reply to What did you have in the first place?

          xp home blows
          there is no admin password, you can at anytime reboot into safe mode, log in as administrator and do what you please w/ the system
          xp home doesnt have network passwords
          and many other bells & whistles

          if you have an illigal copy, buy the retail version (not oem) and start the installation from within your current windows session (dont boot from cd)
          this will keep all your settings.

        • #3079620

          Yo, listen up

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Reply To: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

          He said he had XP Pro.


        • #3098554

          XP Home admin password

          by plenty ·

          In reply to Reply To: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

          Actually, you can set a password for the administrator’s account, you just have to do it from a console window.

        • #3078336

          I would simply correct the product code

          by wojnar ·

          In reply to What did you have in the first place?

          If the version of XP (pro or Home) is the same as what you initially purchased, you can modify the product code back to what was initially installed.

          The problem is that authentication links the product code to a number of hardware specific identifiers (CPU serial number, hard drive type/size, motherboard identifier). You can change certain components and update the activation but if any 2 primary identifiers change, the ‘illegal’ notice pops up.

          Not too long ago there was a discussion about changing product codes in XP. You may be able to find it in the archives. If not, Microsoft can walk you through it over the phone. You do NOT have to reformat in order to change the product code but you DO have to crack open the registry.

          There are web sites out there that will also help in this task. Talk to Microsoft first.

        • #3140036


          by pbounds ·

          In reply to I would simply correct the product code

          Some of us out here that ghost images, use a couple of programs at our disposal, NewSID (for the network), and jellybean software to change the product code to the sticker on the side of the case after imaging. Mind you, reatil VS OEM product codes are not interchangeable. If you know of someone who is a M/S Certified Partner/System Builder, they have a utility called sysprep. Sysprep is used by System Builders to load XP, on a machine, install all the latest updates, drivers, etc, and then ‘reseal’ the system, so when the user first powers it up it will ask them for the Product Code, where they are registering from, etc…You could use that utility to reset your product code, (providing you have the original product code COLA, which should always be affixed to the side of your computer’s case) M/S Law… LOL!

        • #3079576

          Call MS and report him.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Here’s the deal

          Contact Microsoft. Give them the local guy’s name, business name, address, phone number, and the license number he used. Ask them if they can provide you with a legal copy of XP Home.

          Did you originally buy the machine new or used? If new, you should be able to contact the manufacturer and get restore / reinstall CDs and a legal license number. You’ll need the system serial number.

        • #3079557

          Reply To: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

          by yobtaf ·

          In reply to Call MS and report him.

          She bought it new a few years ago from Best Buy.

          Event hough I highly disagree with what he did, and by the way he
          see nothing wrong with what did (he feels he did her a favor and
          she doesn’t understand what he did), I can’t rat on him, it’s not my

        • #3080087

          You need to CYA

          by grbeckmeyer ·

          In reply to Reply To: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

          It may not be your style, but keep in mind that he’s the type MS will go after hard, and you could end up in trouble if they do. Might be hard for them to prove you knew anything was wrong, so at worst you may just be forced to buy a legal copy, but I would think if you report him you might be able to work something out.

        • #3079523

          Read the article

          by toj9 ·

          In reply to Call MS and report him.

          It came with Windows ME!

        • #3078522

          Reply To: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

          by yobtaf ·

          In reply to Read the article

          I believe so. The label on the side of the machine says Windows
          Millennium Edition with what I believe is a key.

        • #3080011

          A suggestion

          by wrathchild ·

          In reply to Here’s the deal

          Is this machine XP Pro, or XP Pro Corporate. If it is coporate version, Microsoft has been rejecting lots of coporate licenses lately. Even if you bought it legally. Coporate licenses are the easiest to pirate, due to the fact that an actual COA is not required with a VLK (volume license key.) It is possible to save the files and settings using the “File and Settings transfer Wizard.” As far as updates are concerned, the easiest solution would be to purchase XP Professional with Service Pack 2. It has most of the updates you would be downloading for the original XP Pro. With a high speed connection, you would only need to spend about an hour and a half to completely update XP SP2. Hope this helps.

        • #3079506

          all 1’s?

          by master3bs ·

          In reply to yea double check

          I didn’t realize you could do that. I need to find a 95 setup cd and try that.

        • #3079463

          all 1’s or

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to all 1’s?

          5 zeros, the last nine digits in base 10 number system followed by 5 zeros

          that is the ms tech number for win95

        • #3078418


          by skidoggeruk ·

          In reply to all 1’s or

          Did the sum total not need to be divisable by 7? or something like that? I think that is how I used to do it. So long ago now.

      • #3080032

        Real or not

        by zlitocook ·

        In reply to are you sure

        You need to watch where you buy software from! I have a friend that bought Windows server 2000 and Exchange at a computer convention, both were copies of real software. His out over $1000. bucks because he wanted to save a few bucks.
        Only buy from a Microsoft certified reseller, you can check them out at

      • #2466002


        by wil_wcm ·

        In reply to are you sure


    • #3078873


      by tink! ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      I wouldn’t wait til the next windows version. You never know how they’ll behave on first release.

      I take it you don’t have a restore CD. Did you purchase the computer from a retailer or get it through personal connections?

      You can possibly get a new restore CD from the PC manufacturer.

      Installing/reinstalling Windows will affect her 3rd party softwares, at least the ones that place entries in the registry. As well as many of her personal preferences will be affected too. You can recover some of the preferences by copying them to CD, such as her mail, favorites, desktop shortcuts and such.

      • #3078737

        Key Changer / Repair install.

        by andrew06 ·

        In reply to alright…

        Do a repair installation of Windows and it will give you the option to enter a new key during the setup.

        There are other programs (free) that will allow you to retrieve the current Windows Key and/or change it.

        To do a repair installation:

        Put in the CD and boot from it.

        Let setup load.
        Do not press R to go to Recovery Console, but instead press Enter until setup finds your current Windows Installation.

        Then you should press R and it will copy system files and repair system folders.

        Then after it is done you can follow the prompts and re-enter your Legit CD Key.

        • #3078667

          RE: Repair Install

          by mckinnej ·

          In reply to Key Changer / Repair install.

          Andrew06 is correct. That’s the easy way to fix it…if you have the right version of WinXP. Not all versions allow you to do this. I’m not 100% sure, but I believe you have to have the Professional Edition.

          If when you boot from your CD and realize you don’t have the “Repair” option, abort the install and seek out one of the key changers Andrew06 mentioned. BTW, that’s the “easy” way to do it to begin with, although somewhat questionable in the eyes of M$. 😉

        • #3079666

          Re; Repair Install

          by andrew06 ·

          In reply to RE: Repair Install

          mckinnej, I know for a fact that it works with both Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional Edition.

        • #3079649

          If you paid, then get what you paid for, if not…

          by searl ·

          In reply to Re; Repair Install

          The one in the wrong is the guy who installed that windows version and left you to deal with the issues . In Microsofts eyes, they just want each person to pay for what they are using, if you were charged for that installation of windows (price for the software not the manual labor to install it) then you have done nothing wrong. But your tech person has, although he probably does this all the time and thinks nothing of it I’m sure there are plenty of people who would like to know his name and location. Ask them for a copy of XP from them complete with license keys etc, if they say no then call the people who care, like MS or the piracy cops etc. or perhaps just mention it to the tech or store, they will bend, they have to, they are the ones doing the wrong and they know it well. However if you were not charged for your Operating system then you are in the wrong and if you want to be “legal” then I’d suggest buying a copy. Which version really depends on your needs. One admin from Ontario did a good job of explaining the differences before my post, buy XP now if you need it or wait until the next version and buy then.(i would buy the old version of XP when the new is released, because you can expect a price drop for sure) and updating to the newest just to be new isnt very practical if it’s not a necessity.

        • #3079622

          This could help

          by deejay54 ·

          In reply to Re; Repair Install

          I recently repaired an HP machine. You know the one where the restore partition is drive D. Well both partitions were somehow corrupted, so I had to reformat. I used an already installed copy of Win XP to just get it going. I used the ID number on the sticker that was on the machine. It installed just fine. When it came time to activate, of corse it wouldn’t, so I called Microsoft and explained exactly what I did. They supplied me with a new registration code and all is well. If you end up buying a new copy of Windows, you are really just buying that little green sticker. You might be able to basicly do the same trick and not lose anything.

        • #3079513

          RE: Repair Install

          by mckinnej ·

          In reply to Re; Repair Install

          Hi Andrew06,

          I have no experience with Home Edition, so I bow to your wisdom in that instance.

          However, that wasn’t what I was referring to. M$ has released different versions of XP Pro CDs. I don’t know why or for what purpose, but some CDs do not give you the “Repair” option. I’ve run into this more than once. Why M$ did that is a mystery, but those CDs are of limited use IMHO.

        • #3077617

          Yep, get legal!

          by pbounds ·

          In reply to Key Changer / Repair install.

          I have used the key changer method, and if you know someone who is an M/S reseller, you can get him to run SYSPREP on your system from the OPK kit, which will reseal your O/S, and the next time you reboot you can put in your legal key as well, reregister and reactivate.

    • #3079615

      Who Gives A Crap

      by johnnysacks ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      Did you install it? It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to spend other people’s money. This must be causing a problem with Windows Upgrades. Google “Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool”, get past the problem, and buy Vista when it comes out sometime in the future.

      Otherwise, why not soak her for the full retail version at $269, after all, it might not be an upgrade (damn, who knew you shouldn’t have tossed that W95/W98/ME/2000 media with the old PII 350) or the previous version might be illegal too. An OEM version of the same is about $100 but that’s cheating too I guess.

      • #3079589

        Reply To: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

        by yobtaf ·

        In reply to Who Gives A Crap

        Please excuse my ignorance but what is an OEM version?

        • #3079575

          OEM = Original Equiptment Manufacturer

          by mickster269 ·

          In reply to Reply To: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

          Microsoft sells its software in bulk to a computer manufacturer, who then places the individual copies on thier computers.

          They (the Computer builders) usually have a master disk that installs the softwre on to all the HD’s they have purchased.

          When you fire the computer up for the first time, the computer asks you for a registration key. That key was purchased by the Manufacturer, and transfered to you when you bout the computer.

          It has been rumored that Microsoft even tweaks the version of the software to be “friendly” to the different computer builders- such as, a “Dell flavored” Windows, a “Gateway flavored” Windows, etc. Supposedly this is so the other software that the manufactures install on the boxes have less conflicts, and the hardware drivers are acceptable to the operating system.

          But, that may all be hogwash.

        • #3079555

          As the owner of an OEM Windows XP box

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to OEM = Original Equiptment Manufacturer

          I can tell you that it Win XP + HP’s drivers for Win XP + HP’s free software trials etc. But all the drivers are there so that if you add HW to your system it can still be supported.

          By the way it doesn’t ask me for a registration key – its built in. I do have the sticker on the side with the key but never had to key it in, despite having rebuilt the box a few times.

          My challenge is that when I rebuild my computer from the hidden partition, I don’t get the option to only install XP, I have to get all the crap as well. I really don’t want a three year old version of Quicken or Corel office etc., even if it is free. Its also the original version of XP so the first thing I do is to download SP2 and all the subsequent patches.


        • #3079516

          Keep in mind

          by puppybreath ·

          In reply to OEM = Original Equiptment Manufacturer

          that the OEM version is based on the current hardware configuration. I had a hard drive crash and after replacing it, restored my entire drive from an image. Both XP and Office failed the license check. When I called Micro$oft, they stated that my hardware had changed and since it was an OEM version, I would have to buy new licenses for both XP and Office if I wanted to use them on a different hard drive. I can currently use the PC as is, but can’t get any updates. Another excellent reason to consider using Linux or a Mac.

        • #3079373

          Microsoft Activation

          by johnnysacks ·

          In reply to Keep in mind

          Any XP, Office XP, Server 2003, etc. will require you to re-activate it if enough hardware changes on your PC.

          Motherboard goes up in smoke? Buy a new one for peanuts but be prepared to have to re-activate XP and having to call support because the serial number was already registered. (not even sure if this is possible)

          Want to build a toy to destroy from old PC parts collecting dust in the corner? Too bad, activation will also fail.

          A perfect reason to stick with 2000 for as long as possible before considering Linux.

        • #3094062

          Up in smoke..

          by richard ·

          In reply to Microsoft Activation

          My wife’s MB bit the dust when lightening struck a neighbors tree and came in through the phone line.
          After replacing the MB I got the message that the hardware changes required me to activate WinXP within 2 days. I clicked activate and it would not activate online. I called M$ and the tech listened to my story and he asked for the install ID and then he gave me a new activation code.
          All works fine now.
          Call M$ and explain and they will give you a code.

        • #3080004

          Not entirely true

          by wrathchild ·

          In reply to Keep in mind

          With the current validation process, it takes me about 5 minutes to validate Win XP. The license goes with the machine, not just the hard drive. In the event of a major upgrade, such as a hard drive swap, you give MS a 42 digit number called the Installation ID. Then they end up giving you another 42 digit number, called the Activation ID. These 42 digit numbers are derived from a convoluted math process that produces a hardware hash number, which ends up being stored elsewhere in the machine. Upon a fresh install, Windows looks at the hardware hash numbers to see if they match. Upgrading memory, or a DVD drive doesn;t affect the hash. A new board or hard drive does. Since the numbers don’t match, it will fail the license check. Once you go through the validation process, you won’t have to do it again unless you do another major overhaul. After validation, you are free to update to your heart’s content as well.

        • #3079379

          To Get An OEM CD…

          by johnnysacks ·

          In reply to Reply To: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

          The arrangement a system builder has with Microsoft is that if certain hardware is purchased, the system builder is allowed to sell you an OEM CD, typically about $105 for XP Pro. Nothing is missing on this CD other than you can’t call Microsoft for support, only the OEM supplier (you have my sympathy if you need to call Microsoft for support without paying for it anyways). Don’t confuse this CD with the crippled crap on the restore partition or the media supplied with a Dell or Gateway.

          Usually, the ‘hardware’ can be an old 40 gig hard drive or even something as stupid as a cable. Call your local storefront (Not CompUSA or Best Buy!!) and ask (I used to go to computer shows but they’re disappearing). eBay sellers can also provide OEM versions but some are truly the worst dirtbag scum suckers on the planet (they’ll sell you a stolen volume license).

      • #3221928


        by toomeygay ·

        In reply to Who Gives A Crap

        you are a gay penis loving-cock-sucker whose voice always changes because you have been fucked in the mouth so many times

    • #3079588

      Re: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      by colonial_boy ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      If she is not especially computer literate & is only using it at home, the Home edition works fine. It’s only if you need the extra features of Pro- or Media- (and are willing to pay the extra cost) that you’d use them.

      I wouldn’t wait around for the Vista operating system to arrive. Besides the fact that it’s just WRONG to use illegal software, MS is getting a lot more aggressive about enforcing their property rights.

      Most of us (given a choice) will not buy & install a new MS operating system until it’s first service pack has been released (sad, but true).

      As far as I know, the new install can be performed to retain the original settings, but you may want to look at MS’s WGA website ( where they discuss pirated software to make sure.

    • #3079540

      Get XP Home Ugrade for auto updates

      by tank252ca ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      Robert, your tech probably upgraded you to XP Pro because Windows ME is the worst OS that MS ever made. The problem is that he should not have done the upgrade without your prior approval and charging you for an XP Pro license. In my opinion, XP Pro is overkill for a system that old. If your wife was getting along fine using Windows ME, she would have been better off installing Windows 98SE or XP Home. The extra overhead in running XP Pro on old hardware is not worth the added features (which often aren’t required for home users). Someone mentioned passwords and RDP, but unless your wife is sharing the computer with other family members or hosting her own web pages, I would not worry about the Pro features.

      If you still have your original Windows ME CD, then you can get the Windows XP Home Upgrade, which is cheaper than the full retail version. Run the installer from within XP Pro and it should retain all previous program settings.

      If your wife also uses the PC for web surfing and e-mail, then your tech is being totally irresponsible in telling you to leave the PC alone. The recent WMF (Windows Meta File) bug is a very serious security problem that should be patched on all systems, and while computer savvy people can manually install many patches, most home users are better off with a licensed copy of XP that will download and install patches automatically.

    • #3079511

      upgrade is your option

      by info ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      You can install Windows XP Pro Upgrade or you can contact microsoft who will give you a “legal” licence to use on payment of the agreed fee. (this will depend on if you can provide them with information on the illegal copy).

    • #3079457

      Yes use the key changer

      by jonny memonic ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      Yes use a product key viewer/changer
      Basically its a free dos program that will show you the illegal key and you have the option to change it.
      So when you buy your licensed windows XP put the new product key and you should be all set.

      • #3079923

        Illegal Operating System

        by unfedlight ·

        In reply to Yes use the key changer

        I have run across this situation a few times; a computer is sold or upgraded w/o owner recieving the disks & license. As already given, you have several options available; what I did was go to small computer builder/store and purchased newer motherboard, hard drive, or processor and bought an OEM copy of desired operating system.

    • #3079360

      fix instructions & link

      by w2ktechman ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      Click Start, and then click Run.
      2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
      3. In the left pane, locate and then click the following registry key:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Current Version\WPAEvents
      4. In the right pane, right-click OOBETimer, and then click Modify.
      5. Change at least one digit of this value to deactivate Windows.
      6. Click Start, and then click Run.
      7. In the Open box, type the following command, and then click OK.
      %systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a
      8. Click Yes, I want to telephone a customer service representative to activate Windows, and then click Next.
      9. Click Change Product key.
      10. Type the new product key in the New key boxes, and then click Update.

      If you are returned to the previous window, click Remind me later, and then restart the computer.
      11. Repeat steps 6 and 7 to verify that Windows is activated. You receive the following message:
      Windows is already activated. Click OK to exit.
      12. Click OK.
      13. Install SP1 for Windows XP.

      If you cannot restart Windows after you install SP1, press F8 when you restart the computer, select Last Known Good Configuration, and then repeat this procedure.

      More info @;en-us;Q328874

    • #3078514

      how to legalize xp

      by ko3sant ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      i believe the program is called rockXP. You use it to change the product key that is currently being used by your system to one that is a legal
      paid for product key. hope this helps Tony

    • #3078510

      oh thats bad

      by nazil dsouza ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      hey i think we can figure out whether we have an original version of xp or not if we try updating it on the net but either ways we can use a crack software to make it legal hehehehe thats the funny thing going around

    • #3078417

      How ya gonna do it?

      by skidoggeruk ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      Ok, I am going to assume that you do NOT have the copy of the Pro CD that was installed. I imagine that is in that guys store. So, you can’t do a repair install.

      I think you will be able to retain your stuff if you re-build on top of existing C:\windows during a re-install. Should you want to do a re-install, alternatively …

      If you use RockXP, this will allow you to change key, BUT you will still need to activate, or you will get that irritating 30-day message thing. However, as per previous advise, if you purchase a legit copy you will probably be able to do this over the phone. I am thinking that as this guy has installed Pro you will need to buy Pro (extra $) instead of Home. I think that you will possibly get away with buying an upgrade, as you previously had a legit OS on your HDD

      Maybe somebody out there can confirm my thinking on this.

      Good Luck

    • #3080311

      Business Ethics

      by bandjcs ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      1. If he installed/upgraded a different OS, he should have provided you the OS on CD’s (Future Use)
      2. You would have paid for the OS (install/repair OS) in the itemized repair statement.

      You have legit right to get the CD with key code used to repair your system. If you cannot, then something is fishy.

    • #3080058

      Unless I’ve missed something…

      by pifflemaster ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      You have a copy of XP Pro running. So… You can change the serial number to make you legal, in one of at least a couple of ways, without losing your settings.

      Google or search the MS database for the the oobetimer fix to allow you to change the serial, (also shown elsewhere in this thread) or do a “repair install” of Windows and use the legal serial at that point.
      Neither method will flush your previous settings, but the repair method will require you to reinstall the MS updates.


    • #3079924

      abt a new license no

      by kaox777 ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      since i was a past rep for MS XP tech support, here’s wot u can do.
      1)call Microsoft and ask them for a new license no. (you’ll hv to pay for this via CC), and install it in ur XP via a key changer.

      2) use a key changer like XPkey to add a free SP2 XP key code to ur existing XP installation. …. and wait for the newer version of Vista to come out and buy it; then u hv to pay for tht XP only.

      3) Install the alpha build of Longhorn which runs for abt 9 months – with a ‘patch’, over ur current XP installation. this will preseve ur current settings ans alos is stable, provided u dont mess up with too many settings. Longhorn runs smoothly on 733 MHz with 128 MB SDRAM, and a 10 GB HDD. – this option is LEGAL & FREE

      • #3079755

        What you can do…

        by whistl3r ·

        In reply to abt a new license no

        Contact Microsoft and verify that the key is legal. Explain the issue with Microsoft and they will provide you with an ultimatum. However, if your “PC Tech” charged you for an illegal OEM key, he will have no choice but to supply you with a legit copy.

        It’s a criminal act distributing illegal OEM keys beyond there license agreement. Do not attempt the previous suggestions, other’s have made, about warez or cracked versions of a license key, it will only cause you more headaches.

    • #3077576

      oh Please….

      by x10nd ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      you are at home, no ones coming home to check you out. keep that copy will ya!

      • #3077485


        by sin-ick ·

        In reply to oh Please….

        i thinks it refreshing to here so many people that have enough money to be principled.

        • #3097516

          Not just a question of money

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to refershing

          When I was unemployed I still paid for software.

          As someone who has worked at software companies both large and small, it would be quite hypocritical to steal software. If you don’t want people to steal from you, do your part and don’t steal from others.


        • #3097475

          Reply To: Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

          by yobtaf ·

          In reply to Not just a question of money

          I’m with you 100%. I do not pirate software nor do I encourage
          others to. Intellectual property is the same as any other
          property, if you can’t afford to buy it, you can’t have it. This tech
          support guy has put me in a untenable position.

          I’m just trying to correct the situation without losing her settings
          and downloaded software. This forum has been very helpful in
          giving me suggestions on how to do that because the guy who
          got me into this has been no help. He’s surprised that I want to
          correct the situation and still feels that he did my wife a favor.

    • #3259707

      Get IT Done: Change the product key on Windows XP

      by puterfx ·

      In reply to Illegal Copy Of Windows XP

      This is the article, I think, that someone above made reference to.

      It refers to MS article 326904 about Determining if you have a valid product ID

      and article on registry editing method to Change the product key is outlined in Knowledge Base articles 321636 and 328874 and works on Windows XP Home, Pro, and Corporate Edition.

      Good luck!

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