XP reinstallation - can I get product ID from Microsoft?

By czarembo ·
I have a pc my sister gave me - it had XP installed. Trouble is the hard drive crashed and burned - no data recovery possible.

The XP product sticker is nowhere to be found. I have a OEM dell reinstallation disk, but no partition from which to recover. Tried scanning the crashed drive, but no files can be seen.

I had a spare copy of Windows 2K so I put in on the machine, but would like to use XP. My questions are:

If I do an installation of XP from the recovery disk (green Dell OEM) can it be activated? Since Microsoft seems to have access to the XP product I'd previously had on the machine. Can/will Microsoft give me the XP license number? The machine a Dell has the original motherboard, just the hard drive has been replaced. Would I be ahead to place the original drive back in, so that Microsoft sees that piece of hardware too?

It seems like this should work both ways. Since I had a legitimate software package installed, they should be able to provide it for my use on the machine for which it was originally licensed.

Any suggestions on how I go about this? Can I installed XP and get help from Microsoft to recover my license number?

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Answers

Collapse -

OEM Product Key

Any time that you install Windows XP, the computer will generate an installation key. This key is used to link to the product key on the sticker that comes with XP. You can attempt to load XP, get the installation key and call MS. This will most likely not end you a product code. One thing you may also try is to call Dell and give them the Express Service Code, which is the PC's serial number. They may give you or mail you the product key. Another thing, depending on when it was built, the older Dell's are setup with built in activation. A couple years ago, MS closed an exploit. Dell, Gateway, Compaq, ETC, would "burn in" the activation in the system BIOS per say. This way they would have to activate every machine and they could clone drives left and right. Then end users would take their product key and sell it, since it wasn't used. You might load XP, the worst that can happen is you have to load 2K again.

Collapse -

Is the OEM that you have the one to that machine?

by Tig2 In reply to XP reinstallation - can I ...

If it isn't it won't load properly. If it is, you can try calling Microsoft. They can validate the key based on a number burned into the CD near the center ring.

Good luck!

Collapse -

Dell and Dell

by willcomp In reply to Is the OEM that you have ...

You should be able to install XP from a Dell OEM CD to a Dell PC without a product key.

Collapse -

Will try it willcomp - thanks

by czarembo In reply to Dell and Dell

Didn't see your reply until after I replied to Tiggertwo's thoughts. I have Win 2k on it, but was afraid when I installed XP it might overwrite the other accounts and data. Then, when I got done, that perhaps I wouldn't have a functioning machine.

I guess the next question is, would I have the original product key or a legal facsimile? Something I could record and put inside the machine.

Thanks for the reply.


Collapse -

re: Giving it a TRY

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to Will try it willcomp - th ...

If you use the Dell recovery CD, it will wipe out Win2K and reset the drive to how it was from the factory. So, your concern about "other accounts and data" are valid. If you don't want to loose data, get it copied to CD/DVD/Thumb Drive, because it will no longer be on the hard drive.

To answer your question about the product key to "store" somewhere.... NO. You will have a product ID, but not the key.

Collapse -

Why not Just Use W2K?

by willcomp In reply to Will try it willcomp - th ...

The Dell XP CD will not upgrade W2K since it is an OEM CD. Therefore; you can either continue using W2K or do a clean install of XP. Choice is yours.

Collapse -

Win 2k was one of the best Microsoft os's

by czarembo In reply to Why not Just Use W2K?

A few more features for my child's machine in terms of software.

Actually, I've decided my next Windows machine for my kids will be a Mac Mini.

Collapse -

No, it isn't I acquired it elsewhere - it's a Dell, but not the same

by czarembo In reply to Is the OEM that you have ...

Thank you for your response TiggerTwo. I'm actually a Mac person, but I maintain PCs for offices and for my kids.

I have a bit of an issue with Microsoft for their policies particularly, if - they won't send me the serial number for my legally acquired OS. Should they not, then they are depriving me of my legally secured license.

I suspect they don't have any obligation to do so. However, since Microsoft tracks OS's to machines e.g, the motherboard, hard drives and peripherals - Microsoft ought be be able to tell me what my XP serial number is. The machine I have - had a legally acquired operating system until the hard drive crashed. It had to as it wouldn't have run on it heretofore.

Anyway, enough of my soapbox. I just want what is legally mine - the right to run the OS which was license to this particular Dell machine.

Thanks for taking the time to give me your thoughts.

Collapse -

Not Sure why!!!!

by ComputerCookie In reply to No, it isn't I acquired i ...

Problem: HDD "Crashed"
Step 1: Get new HDD and install as primary, "Crashed" HDD as slave.
Step 2: Get "Restore Disk", and reinstall OS, drivers and other useless programs.
Step 3: Access slave HDD and transfer files to new HDD.

However, now that you've installed an W2K onto the machine, if you don't want to lose that install I would image the drive unless you have a partition that you could use to install XP on (that's if it give you the option to select a location).

If you can't achieve this you should contact Dell, they should have supplied you with a sticker with the product ID, or a Licence card that diplayed the same.

You have no recourse via MS as they have licensed Dell to create their own distribution of the OS as an OEM.

Collapse -

No worries!

by Tig2 In reply to No, it isn't I acquired i ...

I'm a new Mac user because I did not want to go down the Vista path. So I bought a MacBook.

If what you have in your hand is an OEM, just be aware that it may not lay down nicely on the hardware. But you should be able to get the key from Microsoft. There is a number that they use to validate the install.

You can try the Dell + Dell = No Activation. I honestly don't know if it will work but only because I haven't done a lot of field support in a Dell environment.

Let me know how it all turns out!

Related Discussions

Related Forums