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I have an old HP desktop that needs to have Windows XP reinstalled. It has Windows XP Pro on it and I have a generic Windows XP Pro OEM disc that is missing a key.

Is it possible to use a generic OEM disc to reinstall XP while using the COA on the case of this machine to activate it?

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I found this question:… But it doesn't have an answer chosen. – Tyler Faile Jun 22 '11 at 21:59
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes. If you have a license key for Windows XP Pro, then any Windows XP Pro disk should accept it for activation.

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Indeed, it is the right way to do it. – Yuhong Bao Jun 23 '11 at 1:10

The only way to know for sure is to try it.

However, be aware that many OEM discs are BIOS-locked and additionally, will only accept certain CD Key codes.

I've been administering Windows machines since the 1995 Windows 95 release, and my experience suggests that what you are trying to do is not likely to work. But it's certainly worth a shot, as long as you realize that performing the setup often destroys your Windows installation by the time it reaches the CD key entering phase. (In other words, often you cannot simply back out and return to your old OS at that point, because it has initiated the setup and made the PC to boot straight into the setup instead of your old OS.)

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