Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I had an old computer sitting around that I have not been able to boot successfully. I moved the hard drive and placed it in my newer computer. If I boot linux, I can mount the XP hard-drive and access the files. If I try to boot from the XP hard-drive, it will boot, but it asks me to activate windows before proceeding. If I continue, I get the "activation window" with two images/icons(?) which are failing to load. Nothing else happens.

The version of windows came with the original computer the hard-drive came from, so I'm not sure if I'm married to the broken computer (I hope not!). Is there anything I can do in order to boot into XP from the new computer?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

this is likely due to OEM version of windows looking for the OEM signature in the BIOS. if you have a full version do a reinstall and activate again. it will work. if you have an OEM version then it won't work if your machine you may want to think about whether you want to buy another winxp license or you want to buy win7....

share|improve this answer
Yeah. I figured I was hosed... I'll have to look into whether my computer is even fast enough for win7. – Jesse Jun 6 '10 at 21:18
if it runs windows xp well and had enough memory (1GB - 2GB for 32bit and 64bit versions respectively) then i think windows 7 is a good go. I have tried using it on machine as slow as Atom 230 and it works wonders for 32bit win7 (provided 1GB of ram) – bubu Jun 7 '10 at 5:58
My processor is a AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (2.2 gHz?) works for 64 or 32 bit. My mother board takes a socket AM2 processors. I have 1 gig ram, but 4 slots with capability for 2 gigs each (8 gig total). Maybe I should upgrade the processor to a dual core and ram 1 or 2 gigs? I would use the machine for audio recording and sequencing, some video editing, some older games, and programming. If windows 7 is ultimately going to be sluggish at all with any of this, I'd probably like to stick with windows XP. – Jesse Jun 8 '10 at 2:28
if you really want to upgrade at this moment and had the budget i think there is little to lose going to a quad core processor and 2GB of ram (these are real cheap now) especially if you do video editing and audio editing/sequencing. Check if you want to get a new motherboard. IMHO a single core athlon 64 and 1G of ram will run windows 7 OK. 2G will make it a little bit faster. – bubu Jun 8 '10 at 2:47
Ok. I'll probably upgrade the ram for now, and see what kind of performance I get, and consider replacing the processor afterwards. Thanks for the advice. – Jesse Jun 8 '10 at 3:32

Really short answer: You can't.

Short answer: Using an OEM license (usually packaged with brand-name computers) on a computer that the OEM license is not bound to is not legal, and is pretty much impossible.

Kinda long, official mumbo-jumbo answer: Using an OEM license (usually packaged with brand-name computers) on a computer that is not bound to the OEM license violates the Microsoft EULA that you agreed to on turning on the computer for the first time, and is usually present somewhere in the manuals that you also should have received with the computer when you bought it.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .