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I have to reinstall a system that originally (at time of purchase) exercised the XP downgrade right. But the COA sticker only has a product key for Vista Business.

What key should I use to reinstall? If I use an MSDN key, am I restricted to "development and testing" activities, or am I unrestricted because there is a valid full license for that computer?

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Is the XP installation still usable? If so there are tools out there (such as Magical Jelly Bean) that would allow you to grab the currently used key before you start reinstalling. – 8088 Mar 30 '11 at 16:16
@Gareth: It currently isn't booting, but I might be able to do a repair install. First I have to overcome the lack of CD drive on this tablet... Vista and 7 both install nicely from a USB flash drive, but not XP. I think I can find a USB CD drive around here somewhere. – Ben Voigt Mar 30 '11 at 16:29
up vote 2 down vote accepted

What I typically do is install Windows XP with any valid key, then call up the activation hotline. Tell them you're installing a downgrade, and they typically give you an activation code without even asking for your product key - Microsoft really doesn't seem to care about XP anymore. There may be a way to do this that doesn't involve 5 minutes of shouting at the automated phone system to get a live support agent, but I'm not aware of an easy one.

(Disclaimer: I am located in the US. YMMV.)

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Thanks. I will try that (also in the US, so your experience should apply). – Ben Voigt Mar 30 '11 at 16:42
@Ben - I see you accepted this answer. How'd it work out for you? – Shinrai May 2 '11 at 21:20
I was told not to do anything that might mess up a different operating system installed in a second partition. So ended up not reloading XP after all. They should have been able to coexist, but not worth the risk. – Ben Voigt May 2 '11 at 22:50
@Ben - Ahh well, fair enough...saved work is never anything to complain about. :) – Shinrai May 2 '11 at 22:51

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