Solved Did I Fry My XP OS?

Dell / Inspiron one 2320
January 26, 2014 at 17:05:13
Specs: Windows 7, 3.3 GHz / 4001 MB
Some of you may recall the thread I started a few weeks ago about using the same bootable XP install disk on 2 different computers. You guys helped me figure out how to find the Product Key on both machines and I found that they were indeed different.

OK, so I finally got around to attempting the same "repair" on the second system that worked so well on the first machine. I set the BIOS to boot from the CD drive, put the bootable install disk in the CD drive, but after "Press any key to boot from CD", it just sat there flashing the cursor. No light on the drive, no spinning sound, nothing.

After about 5 minutes, I shut it down via a long hold on the power button and tried to restart Windows normally. I was presented with the screen that says "Windows did not shut down properly, what do you want to do next?" I tried Safe Mode, I tried Start Windows Normally, I tried Last Known Good Configuration. Each time the system would try to start Windows, then flash a blue screen so fast that it was impossible to read and then take me right back to the "Windows did not shut down properly" screen. It was an endless cycle.

Next I set the BIOS to boot from the DVD drive and put the disk in the CD drive. This time it booted to the screen where it gave me the opportunity to install Windows or go to the Recovery Console. I choose to Install Windows, expecting it to tell me that it found a copy of Windows on the machine, "Do you want to attempt a repair?" like it did on the other machine. Instead it said that it could not find a copy of Windows on the machine and that I needed a valid install CD in order to determine if I was eligible for the "upgrade".

The only genuine Windows disk I have is a Windows XP Home Addition Upgrade CD and I'm not sure if that CD will work since it has the Product Key from the other machine written (in my handwriting) on it. (I did not need to insert this CD when I used the bootable install disk to repair XP on the other machine, but I did enter the Product Key that was written on it when requested.)

OK, so at that point, instead of trying to fix Windows by inserting the genuine disk, I decided to install the drive from the "now bad" machine as a slave in my other system just to see if I could get to my files. They all seem fine and I can live with that, since I can at least copy what I need to my Win 7 machine over the network.

But, I'm still curious: If I put the genuine Windows XP Home Edition Upgrade CD in the broken machine, will it install Windows even though the Product Key written on the disk doesn't match the Product Key that was on that machine? As you can tell, I'm still confused by the Product Key and when and where they have to match, CD vs. machine itself.

Once again, any help you guys can offer this OS rookie would be appreciated. Thanks!

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January 26, 2014 at 19:55:06
✔ Best Answer
One thing to keep in mind is the CD must have a matching SP ( service pack ) to do any work on the hard drive. It's a bit more complicated than that as other factors come into play.

Googling gets this, google further if you don't find the answer.

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January 26, 2014 at 22:22:14
The product key isn't in a file on the disk. The disk contains a formula to determine if the key you enter is valid. MS made the disks in batches, with each batch having a different formula so a valid key from one batch probably won't work on a disk from another. But that's the only limitation.

The COA sticker on the case ideally was used for an incomplete factory install. You'd boot up the first time and it'd ask for a product key and you'd enter that one.

The automatic restart on error (the momentary blue screen) can be disabled. There's info here:

Click on 'disable automatic restart on system failure'.

You should be able to use an upgrade disk to do a full install by providing a disk from a previous OS. Details in step 9 here:

(We used to do that with 9X but I wasn't sure it also worked with XP.)

message edited by DAVEINCAPS

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January 27, 2014 at 02:39:38
As Johnw comments the disc used to repair an installation must have the same service pack as the "damaged" installation - or a later SP.

This requirement has given rise to the use of slip-streaming the required SP into a copy of the XP setup disc. Slip-streaming means copying the basic setup disc and adding the updates to create an updated setup disc; which will have incorporated the SP updates.

If the"repairing" disc doesn't have required/updated files which are already present in the damaged OS you get the result you did - no OS found...

Slip-streaming was (is still?) used to create an automatic, all in one, installtion set of files to install/set up a bunch of computers in an identical way; and also reduced (reduces) time and effort when commisioning a large number of computers. It could (can) be run from a network source, or each computer using a disc locally.

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January 27, 2014 at 09:59:27
The key should NOT come into play until the install process has started and you are asked for the key. At that time if the key is in use elsewhere or has been determined the MS to be pirated then you won't be able to proceed.

I think that any disk for a qualifying product should work.

I found an article that covers your situation. Link below.

You do NOT need to actually install the qualifying product. Simply insert the disk when asked and then you can go back to the WinXP upgrade disk.

message edited by OtheHill

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January 27, 2014 at 20:01:20
Thanks again, guys. I'll take a stab at getting the machine running, but it won't be for a couple of days.

I'll let you know how it works out.

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message edited by DerbyDad03

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January 28, 2014 at 09:13:57
Don't forget that XP doesn't natively support SATA drives.

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