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My situation

  • I have a legal Windows XP Installation disk
  • I don't want to reinstall

I am trying to do the right thing by letting an acquaintance use a legitimate version of Windows XP instead of the cracked one he is now using.

So far I have tried to

  • use the WGA website to convert this illegal copy to a legal one. Unfortunately, that is no longer possible. All I can do here is buy a Windows 7 license and reinstall.
  • boot with a legal copy into rescue mode (no idea what I can do here).
  • boot with a legal copy and trying to install up to the point it asks me what partition to use. I assume that when I proceed, the current installed programs will have to be reinstalled (what I want to avoid).
  • follow the suggestions given on superuser to deactivate and reactivate (without success)

Is this even possible or should I bite the bullet?

share|improve this question
When you say without success, what do you mean happens? – soandos Aug 19 '11 at 18:35
@soandos - It doesn't accept the key I enter. For the record, it is a valid key and has not been used. – Lieven Keersmaekers Aug 19 '11 at 18:46
How do you know? – soandos Aug 19 '11 at 18:47
@Lieven - MAPS licenses may be subject to additional restrictions, I am really not sure. You should contact Microsoft directly. – Shinrai Aug 19 '11 at 19:28
Couple things: You're media and key have to match (OEM media, OEM key, retail media, retail key, etc.). MAPS licensing is only valid for use in the company to which the action pack was sold. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Aug 19 '11 at 21:03
up vote 4 down vote accepted

A legitimate installation disk is not the same thing as a license to use that disk. Most licenses are valid only on the original machine where they were used (OEM licenses), and are not legally transferable to other machines.

If you do have a valid retail (not OEM) license and installation disk, something that was likely purchased off the store shelf at somewhere like walmart or best buy, it should have come with a valid (retail) license key. In that case, you should be able to activate Windows using the license key. To do this, you need to open the activation wizard on the cracked computer and choose the phone option. Have your retail key handy, as they may ask for that information over the phone. You will have to enter a 50-digit key, mostly likely provided by someone in a call center in India, so prepare to be patient.

Again, the install disk is meaningless. It's just media, and owning media does not give you the right to use that media. You may even have a license for that media, but if that license is tied to the machine for which is was purchased, it won't help you. This must be a retail-purchased license.

share|improve this answer

Windows XP sales ended on October 22, 2010 so you can't buy a new license.

Having a legal Windows XP disk only assure you that you dont have rootkits and trojans hidden in it, but it does not give you a license to use it. What you need is a license and you can't buy one. Drop this download Linux or go buy Windows 7.

share|improve this answer
the disk I have comes with a license?! I am very confident that it would get accepted with a complete reinstall but that is exactly what I wish to avoid. – Lieven Keersmaekers Aug 19 '11 at 18:48
@Lieven - I think the assumption is that this is a legitimate copy for which the license is already in use on another machine. If that's not the case, then I think you can safely ignore this implication (in which case, this answer is totally useless, mind you). – Shinrai Aug 19 '11 at 19:00
@Shinrai - it is not in use on another machine. – Lieven Keersmaekers Aug 19 '11 at 19:09

You should make sure the license is legit. Call up microsoft with your license key.

If you never had to type it in during setup, then check the bottom of your laptop. If the license key isn't there or is burned off, then you are SOL.

If this is a separate license you should check the Unattended file in the Setup CD's i386 folder . The product key is in plain text.

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