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

By raptormoonx ·
My grandfather had a HP Pavilion a342n Desktop PC that I received after his passing in 2010. I booted up the computer and received the message box for Genuine Activation. It asked for the product key, and after looking through everything we could find for the computer, the original CDs were lost. My parents want to use this computer as a replacement for their current desktop and I don't want to leave them with a vulnerable computer. Is it possible to get it activated, and if so, how? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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All Answers

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Try contacting

by PurpleSkys In reply to Windows XP Pro Activation ...

Either HP or Microsoft. there a sticker anywhere on the pc with the activation code on it? You could also use magic jellybean, it finds most activation codes for software already installed on your computer.

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There are a few problems here

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Windows XP Pro Activation ...

The first is that HP places a COA Certific of Authenticity on every box that they make and this has the Product key on it a group of Letters & Numbers of 5 characters in 5 groups.

This is the Product Key and according to HP it should be for XP Home.

Now the real problem HP uses a Volume License Copy of XP which doesn't need Activation or you to enter the Product Key so I suppose the question here is how did this copy of XP get onto this machine? Usually HP has a Hidden Partition on the HDD which is a Recovery Partition which can be used to reload the system to As New Condition or as it came from the Factory. The way to do this is in the Users Manual which if you don't have is available for download from here

http://h20000.www2.hp .com/bizsupport/TechSupport/DocumentIndex.jsp?contentType=SupportManual&lang=en&cc=us&docIndexId=64180&taskId=115&prodTypeId=12454&prodSeriesId=362557#7

remember to remove the space from between hp and the .com for a working link.


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Computer ended up with Windows XP Professional because...

by raptormoonx In reply to Windows XP Pro Activation ...

Yes, this computer should have Windows XP Home on it. However, according to my uncle (grandfather's brother), the computer had a virus on it in 2009 that wiped out the hard drive. A friend of my grandfather had the computer restored and Windows XP Pro is now on it. We have no original CDs or manuals.

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Reponse To Answer

by hrisan In reply to Computer ended up with Wi ...

In that case the person who did the reinstall used illega key. There are 2 options in your case. Find another key or you have to reinstall the system with HP Windows XP (Home) install disk. You can get the ISO from a torrent site if it is lost and bunt it on a CD, hopefully the key on the box will work or the install will not ask for it as it is HP box.

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Purchasing XP Pro

by Rob Kuhn In reply to Windows XP Pro Activation ... still sells Windows XP Pro:

I purchased from them a few years ago (for a different software title) and didn't have a problem.

I would call (or e-mail) them first and ask if the copy of Windows XP includes the product key. I know it sounds silly but since these are HP and Dell OEM branded versions it may not include the product key decal.

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Options & Comment.

by paulprivate In reply to Windows XP Pro Activation ...

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.


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HP restore disks

by unclebudus In reply to Windows XP Pro Activation ...

You probably won't find much help from HP, as they drop restore disk support after 2 or 3 years I believe. Your best bet would be, just checked and they have the disks for your model for $26.99 including shipping. This would be the easiest, most painless way to get your system back to factory specs.

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The best and legit step

by slam5 In reply to Windows XP Pro Activation ...

IMO, the easiest and legit step is to borrow an OEM XP home CD from a friend and use the key on that certificate of authenticity (COA) on the side or back of the computer. The COA is a fancy looking sticker on the case that has group of five 5 letters and number Download all the drivers for your model of desktop from HP. Activate it and voila, you have a fully legal and functioning system. Also it will be FASTER too as all the boatware HP gave you will be gone. If you are not comfortable with downloading drivers, get a friend or hire a techie to download it for you. One thing you should insist on them is to NOT use bootleg software on the system or this message will appear again if you are using Microsoft software. Best wishes!

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Consider a different angle . . .

by Charles Farley In reply to Windows XP Pro Activation ...

. . . 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.

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Reponse To Answer

by jsch38 In reply to Consider a different angl ...

Since the computer is going to your parents. Use a restore disc from the web site . I have used them and they are easy to use.As mentioned above.Linix is has some great distributions like Mint.
But for the average user..Win Xp is going to be easier to get software for and drivers. Yes Win Xp is going away..However you can upgrade to WIN 7 when that happens.

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