|"Is there a way to pull the key from a 98 install disk?"|
NO. It's not on the CD.
Windows 98SE CDs have Second Edition printed on them - the original version Win 98 CDs do not - which do you have ??
If you got the CD with a pre-built computer there may be an official Microsoft sticker on the computer case it came with, if it's 98SE. The label has the Product Key on it.
If it's an official regular Microsoft OEM or Retail CD, the Win 98 original version and the earlier 98SE CDs came with a booklet that had the Product Key printed on the front page of it. Win 98SE CDs sold after late 1999 or so came with the official Microsoft label that the system builder, or you if you bought the CD yourself, were supposed to stick on the case.
If none of that helps,
- do you have a Win ME CD for your ME crashed system and the Product Key for that ?? All ME installations are supposed to have the official Microsoft sticker on the computer case that has the ME Product Key on it.
If you have the sticker and the Product Key for ME but not the ME CD, you can borrow a ME CD or use a copy of a ME CD, preferably a CD-R, use that with the Product Key on the sticker, for the same version - Retail or OEM.
The official label on a brand name system is always for an OEM version of Windows. The CD or CD copy to use with the OEM Product Key must be an OEM CD or acopy of one - it must have "For Distribution with a new PC only" or similar printed on the original CD.
If you make a copy of a Windows CD, use "disk at once" or similar in the burning software to copy the CD, otherwise the copy won't be bootable. A CD-R should work with any computer's optical drive; other types of burnable disks may not read properly in a drive it was not made in.
NOTE that if you are trying to install Windows on a hard drive on the Dell computer, there are a few websites on the web that specialize in collecting and offering for sale the original Recovery or Restore disk set for brand name system models. They are either the set that came with the computer, or the set you were supposed to make by using a brand name supplied program that was already in the Windows installation while Windows was still working fine. If you can find a set for your particular model, the set typically costs a lot less including shipping than even a new OEM Windows CD.
- if that doesn't help....
Microsoft has no way of checking whether your Win 98 or 98SE Product Key is already being used by someone else. Any Product Key that abides by the mathematical rules required by the Win 98 or 98SE version will work with the CD during Setup, and Microsoft can't tell whether that key is being used by someone else afterwards.
If you know someone who has a Win 98 or 98SE CD, whichever is the same as yours, and they have the Product Key, but are no longer using Win 98 or 98SE, use their Product Key.
If you know someone who is still using 98 or 98SE, use the same Product Key as they're using.
If they are still using 98 or 98SE, but don't know the Product Key.....
If Windows 98 or 98SE is installed on a working computer........
- which is it - Win 98 original, or Win 98 Second Edition ?
If you're not sure, RIGHT click on My Computer - Properties - which WIN 98 version it is, is shown on the right on the first screen you see.
You can find out which Product Key the booted Windows 98 installation is using by doing this.....
Start - Run - type: regedit , click OK or press Enter.
Click on Edit - Find
Search for : ProductKey
(no space between; it doesn't matter what the case of the letters are)
Searching the registry for that is relatively slow, but you will get a result eventually.
Note that if there is more than one Microsoft program installed that has a Product Key, you need to make sure the Product Key is for Windows - if it is, the next line under the line found will say
Product Name: "Microsoft Windows 98"