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I've got here a customer's Dell Optiplex GX620 (out of support from Dell) that came with its preinstalled Windows XP (out of support from MS) and its "install media" (read: dell-branded windows xp sp2 install cd). We had to replace the (failed) harddisk and then I begun to reinstall WindowsXP using the cd that came with the system.

Problem is, it didn't ask for any activation code, so I got an installed system with a serial number different than the one on the sticker.

Is that normal? Would that system survive the genuine verification tool that will come via windows update? Is that system 'legal'?

The sticker on the pc has an activation code along with its serial number in the form 00045-617-192-xxx, and the installed windows xp got a serial in the form 76435-OEM-0011903-00xxx. There is no windows activation stuff in Applications > Accessories > System Utilities, and Windows Update would want to install the WGA thing (KB905474).

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes that's pretty normal, some manufacturers choose to ship a computer with a pre-activated OEM Windows CD. Activation is done automatically based on hardware ID's. WGA should just verify the installation properly. If not, it will ask for another serial key. Then just input the one that's on the sticker.

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Installed WGA and it says it's Genuine. And I still have a different s/n. Oh well. Thanks. – Luke404 Jun 22 '10 at 16:54

Yes it's normal. Dell computers coming with Windows XP SP2/SP3 Cd's doesn't ask for a Key because it takes the service tag number -- Listed in BIOS -- (and also the key coming with the COA).

You should not have to type any CD Key if ever you reinstall with the Dell OS Cd.

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OEM media just install a preactivated Windows with a Volume License Key (VLK) different from the one listed in the COA. Of course they validate the hardware as told in another answer.

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that's normal, you shouldn't have to activate it. It was activated at the factory and so long as you use an oem recovery disc to re-install it shouldn't need activation again.

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Head here with Internet Explorer:
(At the left, Validate Windows).

1-2 min and your Windows is validated.

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Although correct, I don't think this answers the question. – BloodPhilia Jun 22 '10 at 15:51

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