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Licensing Questions Thread, Windows installers that will work with any key. in Technical; Hi, I have worked in IT Support for many years and I am thinking of setting up my own small ...
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    Question Windows installers that will work with any key.

    Hi,
    I have worked in IT Support for many years and I am thinking of setting up my own small business offering in home IT Support. I'm currently researching things I need to do before going out on jobs.

    My question is that if I come across a Customer who has a licence key label stuck to the machine but they have lost the recovery disk (like the Toshiba or Dell CDs) can I use any appropriate disk and just enter the Key on the Machine?

    Basically can any Windows XP, Vista, 7 installation disk be activated by any key?

    Just to clarify, a customer has a laptop that was pre-installed with XP Home when purchased but has lost the recovery CD. The laptop needs to be re-installed. Can I use any Windows XP Home cd to re-install the laptop, and simply enter the licence key on the laptop when prompted during install?

    If this is not possible, does anyone have any advice or alternate solutions?

    Any information will be gratefully received,
    V

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    the sticker on the bottom will activate the version of windows its for (but if its an oem you WILL need to phone ms and go through the activation that way which is a ballache)to install xp you need an xp code or a copy of a tosh/hp disk which fills in the code for youbut one hp disk should work in another pc

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    Thanks for the reply but I don't quite understand. The majority of recovery CDs are just images of the fresh install out of the box right?

    Surely that means that only the recovery CD that came with whatever particular model of machine will work, after all the motherboard and other components will be different on any other model, hence the image will not work (eg a Toshiba 1400 recovery cd will not work on an older model of Toshiba laptop with the motherboard being different, or will it?)

    I just don't want to have to keep a copy of virtually every recovery CD for every type of machine out there just incase one of my customers loses theirs.

    Is there no better way to get an XP, Vista or 7 installation disk that will work with ANY XP, Vista or 7 Licence Key.

    A while back I re-installed a friends Dell Computer with a standard XP Pro SP2 installation disk from work (not volume licence but the CD thats all holographic, so not a recovery CD) and when prompted to enter the Licence Key, I entered the key from the label on his computer which was for XP Pro. The installer wouldn't accept the key and, being as he never had the Recovery CD (he bought the PC second hand), I couldn't re-install. Would ANY Dell Recovery CD work then, even one that isn't for his model of machine?

    I'm sorry I just can't quite get my head around it.

    Thanks again for the help.
    V
    Last edited by Vizantis; 12th July 2010 at 10:12 PM.

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    No offence but if you dont understand the basics of the windows licensing scheme you may struggle.

    There the following types of win XP license for starters (not a full list i admit): -
    OEM
    VLK
    MAK
    BOXED Full Product
    Upgrade

    Each has a unique disk that will work with the relevant keys but no one disk will do all, you can hack the disks to make themwork for other keys but it will only work for one product type at a time.

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    No offence taken, I don't remember licencing details being part of the curriculum when I completed my MCITP and CCNA certifications, and being as I have worked with VLK's since I started working in IT Support, I have never had the need to understand the finer details of licencing options.

    I thought this forum was for asking questions so you can continue learning in a subject that absolutely no-one will ever know everything about. Sorry that my knowledge of licence keys is a little limited, but I ensure you that I will not struggle.

    I thank you for clearing up the response to my query and no offence, but perhaps you shouldn't be so quick to judge anothers depth of knowledge.

    Cheers,
    V

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    The XP installation discs are not like the Windows 7 discs where the install type is determined by the key you use. The only thing that makes all the discs different though is one file on the disc. Use some kind of usb installation and change the file when required.

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    Vizantis (16th July 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisH View Post
    The XP installation discs are not like the Windows 7 discs where the install type is determined by the key you use. The only thing that makes all the discs different though is one file on the disc. Use some kind of usb installation and change the file when required.
    its even possible to get x86 and x64 on the same pen drive so you can pick what cpu type and edition

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vizantis View Post
    A while back I re-installed a friends Dell Computer with a standard XP Pro SP2 installation disk from work (not volume licence but the CD thats all holographic, so not a recovery CD) and when prompted to enter the Licence Key, I entered the key from the label on his computer which was for XP Pro. The installer wouldn't accept the key and, being as he never had the Recovery CD (he bought the PC second hand), I couldn't re-install.
    I've had this problem in the past and got around it by doing the following...

    1. Install Windows XP from a disc which has SP3 integrated (very important). IIRC, the type of disc (OEM, VLK, FPP) didn't matter.
    2. Do not enter a product key when prompted.
    3. Once Windows has finished installing, download and run the appropriate Windows Product Key Update Tool from Microsoft's website.
    4. Enter the product key on the sticker and then reboot.
    5. You should now be able to activate Windows successfully over the Internet.

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    Vizantis (16th July 2010)

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisH View Post
    The XP installation discs are not like the Windows 7 discs where the install type is determined by the key you use. The only thing that makes all the discs different though is one file on the disc. Use some kind of usb installation and change the file when required.
    I'll have a crack at that.
    Thanks for the info...

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