How does Windoes XP serials really work?

Dallows

Supreme [H]ardness
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Jun 18, 2004
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I remember witht he old like win98 and 2000, even Me, it didn't matter what computer you used the key on or anything. But with xp does it matter? I've had a few times where it tells me that the key was used too many times already or something like that, but I took a key from a different copy and used it, and it worked, I've done this a few times. Now I have this new OEM version of windows xp home. Can I use that key on any machine? Does it matter? I need to reinstall windows again, I'm doing a repair, will it even ask me for a key? Maybe not right?
 

powerade

Gawd
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Dec 13, 2004
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theres a file on ur comp that reads if its activated or not so i guess the key switches that file on

i remember cause people were telling me to back up that file so id never have to call ms again to activate after upgrades...but its unique to each computer like u gotta have the same specs or something....never thought much of it cause i always call them (which is a pain in the ass)

but their calling station is literly in india so when u call its harder then shit to understand em and hes like hi im amad thanks u for calling mikrosoft :rolleyes:

just be sure to tell em its only loaded on one comp and that u upgraded ur cpu or whatever so they will give u a new key to put in on the phone
 

qweds

n00b
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Nov 19, 2004
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31
Hey,

Ya i just tried to re-install windows after a mainboard switch and since my copy was on loan i grabbed another from a friend,. now it won't let me install sp2.

I happen to know this cd key has been around as it were - i've used it since XP came out on a number of system with no problems...maybe too many systems

is there a number i can call to get a new cd key? if so does anybody know this number?


thanks
 

Phoenix86

Supreme [H]ardness
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Mar 28, 2002
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When you are prompted to activate, XP will tell you the number. No need to look it up...
 

qweds

n00b
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Nov 19, 2004
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so...do I have to re-install again to get there?

I'm already running XP but without any service pack and now I can't service pack it.

Am I making any sense?
 

Bullitt

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
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There's a misconception. You will need a new "activation" code which is related to your ey, but it is _not_ the key itself.

when you reinstall XP you will be prompted for the activation part, either doing it online or via the telephone. You will have to have your original key and they'll give you the activation code. Without it, you will be able to use windows XP home for 30 days, then it will not function without activation.

You will be able to download service packs, etc but if you do not activate it, you will have a non-functioning windows XP home system in 30 dyas.

Just follow the instructions when reinstalling, its quite painless.......


Are you sure you dont have one of those "special" keys that dont work after SP1? :D
 

qweds

n00b
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Nov 19, 2004
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The one i'm running now is supposed to be 'Pro corporate'.

Thing is the code that was supposed to work with it didn't, some other Code my brother found from my family's house did work with this corporate version. So i wouldn't be surprised if it is a special code...argh.

I really don't want to buy Windows XP again.
 

qweds

n00b
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Nov 19, 2004
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31
so i tried to activate my windows and it just says windows is already activated... I know i didn't activate it

suggestions?
 

qweds

n00b
Joined
Nov 19, 2004
Messages
31
I bought a copy of XP with the CD key that it's using about 3 years ago. I didn't buy the cd and files etc that I just now installed windows with. The key for the CD I have now wouldn't work. I no longer have the original CD (Too many times back and forth across the country)
 

J4M3S0N79

Gawd
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Jul 25, 2002
Messages
812
Sounds to me like there are a few suspect versions of XP floatin around. Here is the deal from what I know.

For Home and Pro (NonCorp) there is an activation feature that requires you to 'activate' over the INET or by phone. See, the serial you enter runs a process that generates a profile that you give to MS, who in turn gives you the activation key (not serial) for your copy. This is stored in a file called wpa somethingor other. When you try to activate the serial again, MS knows you already acitvated a copy so you will be forced to deactive it (remove from old system) to move it to a new system.

For the Corp versions, the serial is all you need to run it, but MS was wise to the common pir8 versions serials and decided with sp1 to invalidate it. Furthermore, SP2 contained yet more serials that they blocked. The only way to use corp is to get a valid serial. Honestly, I say that you just sack it up and buy a copy...for something that is used 100% of the time you are on your comp...$130 is not a bad deal.

M
 

Rogue4mula

Gawd
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Aug 30, 2004
Messages
925
a friend of the family had that.. it said 2 days left to activate so it was a big deal, but when I tried to activate it said it was already activated.... long story short I had to reinstall windows...
 

odoe

[H]F Junkie
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Keep the discussions on this subject on the level folks.
 

qweds

n00b
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Nov 19, 2004
Messages
31
well with xp64 comming out I really don't want to buy XP32 again. I'm sure there's a thread with more info on 64 somewhere so i'll go find that, thanks
 

J4M3S0N79

Gawd
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Jul 25, 2002
Messages
812
qweds said:
well with xp64 comming out I really don't want to buy XP32 again. I'm sure there's a thread with more info on 64 somewhere so i'll go find that, thanks

I think that XP32 will be able to upgrade to 64for free.
 

todlerix

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Apr 25, 2003
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Didn't have time to read all response but I will share the info I know.


CD-key is used to activate windows, if windows is not activated in 30 days, your OS locks up til it is activated. Your only suppose to have the OEM version on 1 computers, the retail it is allowed on a laptop and desktop. Every three months they clear their activated database, so you CAN install it on another machine and activate it, but your not allowed to. When ever you do a repair install or a fresh install you must activate windows home and pro. There are two version of pro, the normal and the corparate edition. Corparate editons are very expensive and do no require activation. There are 4, to my knowledge, banned or blocked CD-keys for Corp. edition.

If your activation is rejected, you can call and activate it by phone, just tell them you had a hardware change, or your HD died etc...
 

S1nF1xx

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Feb 24, 2004
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It sounds to me like you're trying to use the wrong keys with the wrong versions. OEM keys with Corp versions etc. They are not interchangable. A retail XP key will not work on an OEM version and vice verca. You need to find the original keys and keep track of them.
 

thedude42

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
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yeah, i think that was a confused post. from what i understand, OEM and retail copies use the exact same method for authentication and contacting the WPA servers for activation. microsoft may keep track of which keys it gives to OEM licenses and which it gives to retail licenses, but the CD doesn't care. because microsoft can keep track of the keys in their database when you activate, there is no need to use a different algorithm for OEM and retail copies. if anyone knows for a fact because they have seen it themselves that this does not work, i'd love to know for my own trivial knowledge. you know it works if it gets past the windows setup screen, even though it may or may not activate at the end of install (if it doesn't activate, it just means they key is still on theior server).

to address the question of "how" WPA works, and how microsoft knows, the product key is one part of the equation. the activation code that the install generates is where your hardware comes into play. your CD key is one unique part, and the activation code is the other, but the activation code can change and still be legitimate, but the CD key cannot. when for whatever reason you need to re-activate, you can call microsoft and they can verify your product key is linked to an existing activation code. after that, they can invalidate that instance of windows, and create your new activation code based on your current system hardware profile.

as i am to understand, windows update will check to see if your WPA information is current, and is able to de-activate your install of windows if you have an invalid activation code.

if anyone can fill in the blanks here, i'd love to hear it, but this is as much as i understand the current system works.
 

Dallows

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didn't really bother reading that last post sorry, kinda skimmed it, but I tried using an OEM key with a retail Home and it didn't take, but I found one that worked. What are those WPA files again? I remember someone gave me the link to this site some guy made that he walks through all the setup options and mentions those files, I lost the link though.
 

Tordek

[H]ard|Gawd
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Dec 9, 2003
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Rogue4mula said:
a friend of the family had that.. it said 2 days left to activate so it was a big deal, but when I tried to activate it said it was already activated.... long story short I had to reinstall windows...
this the result of a crack... tell him to buy the os.
 
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