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?

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If I'm reading correctly here you need to call Dell and buy a Recovery Disc

by OH Smeg In reply to XP reinstallation - can I ...

For this model Machine. Dell uses Slipstreamed Recovery Disc's with only the drivers for the supplied Hardware so another Recovery Disc isn't likely to have the correct Drivers for your Hardware and most likely will not install properly if at all.

Ringing M$ is of no use at all because M$ sell the rights to OEM Product tho the Big Makers like Dell who then have to support the product for ever more so you need to ring Dell as M$ will quite rightly insist that you need to buy a New License.

You can always ask your sister for the Dell Recovery Disc if she is still around and hasn't moved. That is the only Legit way that you will be able to install the OS onto this computer and even then without a COA it's unlikely to go beyond the OPK Installation Stage where you need to enter the Product Key to get into Windows.


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You folks are great - thanks so much for all your advice - here's a twist

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

I have to say, honestly, I have no idea if XP was originally installed on this machine - it was produced in 2001 as I recall. Not certain XP was out then...

I suspect XP was installed on it aftermarket on a Microsoft retail disk. I'd guess that puts an entirely different spin on this. It still doesn't help me, however.

The one suggestion that I put in the drive with the original XP installation was a good one. Except that that drive's data is thrashed, can hear a clunking when I hook it up, but can find no data. No great loss, as most of the data was pulled off of it.

So - does Microsoft have a record of aftermarket retail software? Since it ties the installation to the machine, one would think they'd have a record of my product key and that I'd somehow be able to recover it.

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Twisting again

by Tig2 In reply to You folks are great - tha ...

Try freezing the dead drive. Quit laughing at me, I am not nuts!

Honest- you may have a chance at this. Seal the drive in a plastic bag with a few dessicant sachets. Get as much air out as you can. Freeze overnight. Remove from freezer, remove from bag, allow to come back to room temperature.

It may actually spin up and load. There is a tool that will mine the registry for the key. I think it is called Magic Jellybean. If the thing spins up, use the tool to get the key.

What the heck- it may work!

Search TR forums for information on freezing your HDD. There was a discussion on it not that long ago.

Good luck!

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I read this a few days ago thought you might be able to use it.

by OnTheRopes In reply to You folks are great - tha ...<br><br>
The comments are interesting. <br><br>
I think that heating and freezing hard drives to recover data is just urban legend but what do I know?

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Follow-up. Took me a while to locate it.

by OnTheRopes In reply to I read this a few days ag ...
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If the data is irreplacable go with something like drivesavers

by czarembo In reply to Follow-up. Took me a whil ...

Won't be going to Drivesavers for an XP License thank you. Although I do agree that anyone who can't afford to lose data, should leave the drive to professionals.

As I mentioned in another response, cooling works, I'd guess that if one can afford to lose the date, they might try it. Conversely, if one can't justify a professional recovery what is there to lose?

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by OnTheRopes In reply to If the data is irreplacab ...

Worth a try if nothing else works.

I have a drive in an external USB case that is only used for data that's already backed up (music files). It's left off most of the time as when it was holding the OS SmartDrive warned that it's preparing to fail. When it finally gives up the ghost I think I'll try cooling it to see what extra mileage I can get out of it. Can't hurt anything.

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What Would You Expect Them to Say?

by willcomp In reply to I read this a few days ag ...

That's a data recovery company. They all recommend doing nothing to a failed hard disk before sending it to them.

I don't freeze hard disks, I do refrigerate them though for certain sysmptoms. It's worked a number of times. If drive is recognized and can be read for a short while then fails when it reaches operating temperature, refrigerating drive often buys enough time to copy data.

I don't freeze them due to condensation problems. Just place on a wire rack in the reefer.

So it's not all urban legend.

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It must depend upon the type of failure

by OnTheRopes In reply to What Would You Expect The ...

I read in the comments of the first link that I provided where some people said they've had success and now you claim to also so there must be something to it in certain cases. <br><br>
I'm willing to try it the next time I come across a failed hard drive where my customer doesn't care enough about their data to pay thousands to a data recovery service.

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I've heard it works sometimes - I've not frozen one, however...

by czarembo In reply to I read this a few days ag ...

I'd done something similar to this previously, but hadn't actually frozen one. I had a drive failing, as it got hot - it would fail, so I put a frozen gel bag on it to keep it within a cooler temperature regime. And it worked! I got all the data I needed off of it.

I'll try this if all else fails. Thanks.

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