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Related to my older question:

Get xp product key from boot

Thanks for the help on that one.

So, in the end, i couldn't get into my harddrive because i didn't have the available hardware to hook it up to another computer to get the old activation key. So, instead, i entered another activation key (i know, naughty) in hopes that there would be a way to retrieve the old one, restore point or something afterwords. Now i have 26 days remaing before i'm going to have to re-activate.

What legal ways can I get xp re-activated after a repair when I don't have any record of my activation key?

for those who think im just trying to crack it, your wrong:

  1. Got a virus, which stopped me from getting into windows
  2. Got AVG Anti Virus, which stopped me from getting into safe mode
  3. Got a 2 year old, who decided to rip-off and chew my activation sticker on my computer (nice one).
  4. Repaired windows installation thinking i wouldn't be asked to re-enter the activation key, to find that i was.
share|improve this question
What happened to your COA? Without it, you don't have a valid licence anyway. You might have a valid product key in the end, but no proof of purchase, so what's the point? You might just as well use any other product key that works. – Oliver Salzburg Jul 8 '12 at 15:31
@OliverSalzburg, he said his two-year-old ripped it off and ate it (point three). (Oh, how shiny holograms do attract the little ones… and big ones for that matter.) :-D – Synetech Jul 8 '12 at 18:00
@Synetech: Heh, I missed that. Thanks :) – Oliver Salzburg Jul 8 '12 at 18:49
Is this an OEM installation? You should be fine if you use the recovery partition/recovery disc if you still have it. – cyanic Jul 14 '12 at 7:08
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You should have asked here first before re-installing the OS. Now that you did, it is unlikely that would be able to recover the HIVE archive (where the registry entries are stored) that would hold the product key.

You best bet (only bet at this point really) is to use a program that can recover deleted files from the hard drive, and then see if the registry files (can be found in the old %SystemRoot%\System32\Config\ folder) are still around.

If they are, a program like Produkey can help you out.

Otherwise, you are out of luck, and for no good reason (to by the cables is just a few bucks, to recover those files with a live CD would also have been trivial).

Just a few critiques to your story:

  1. If you can't get into windows, how did you install AVG?
  2. Since when does AVG prevent you from booting into safe mode?
  3. Those stickers are usually glued on pretty well, and are very resistant to anything that I throw at it on a regular basis (the exception seems to be constant rubbing)
  4. When you are repairing XP it does NOT ask you for a serial, I think you clicked install XP by mistake.
share|improve this answer
1. it was installed prior to getting the virus; 2. It's a bug in the latest version of AVG. There are many users who have problems (see AVG forum). Tried all their fixes and none of them worked for me. 3. This wasn't t he old style sticker ones, it was one that is paper, with a ribbon in the middle with a couple of holes. 4. Yea, i was miffed! But it did and I thought 'dam!' I went through install then R for rapair installation. Must be because it was SP2 installation? Thanks for the help though...think im screwed. – David Jul 8 '12 at 19:30

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