product key on the bottom of my laptop

June 8, 2009 at 11:27:28
Specs: Windows XP pro sp2

i need help to understand how product keys work. i have just inherited a dell latitude D400 laptop. it has just failed a genuine windows validation. there is an xp product key on a sticker on the underside. if the previous owner had re-installed XP and used this key, could it have caused the problem?

i thought that the product key belongs to the machine and XP could be re-installed many times using it, as long as the key is not used for a different machine??

please advise

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June 8, 2009 at 11:45:42

You are correct in all your assumptions. It's very likely that one of two things happened:

1) your friend installed XP using a CD key other than the one on the bottom of the laptop

2) your friend installed XP using the key on the laptop, but it has also been used to install XP on other computers

You should try to find what key was used to install XP on your laptop. If it was not the key printed on the sticker, then you should change the key to the one on the sticker.

this will help with all that:

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June 8, 2009 at 12:12:01

Plus you need to have your friend complete the Ownership transfer form on Dell's website.


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June 8, 2009 at 12:15:14

Does that affect the behavior of Genuine Advantage validation?

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Related Solutions

June 8, 2009 at 12:27:30

Changing the ownership has nothing to do with WGA or what it does. Sometimes the WGA just fails and the operating system is reported as being pirated.

Go into add/remove and remove the WGA and then go to windows update and have it reinstalled. If it still shows that it is not correct then you can reinstall and use the key on the bottom of the laptop and then when it fails use the activate by phone method and call Microsoft. Don't mention anything about just buying it just tell them that you had to restore and the activation failed and that you have the correct activation code and sticker on the bottom....they will give you another number to replace the one that you have.

Change Is Good

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June 8, 2009 at 13:01:12

Actually you shouldn't have to uninstall the WGA, just try activating with the number on the laptop and use the M$ phone support . You don't have to register it, just activate it. Answer the Q's and tell them it's only on 1 PC and that your PC crashed and you are re-installing windows. They will give you a new set of activation numbers to insert and you'll be fine.

Some HELP in posting on plus free progs and instructions Cheers

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June 8, 2009 at 14:35:06

thankyou very much for all your advice. When i re-install my xp do i have to use a dell specific oem disc?

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June 8, 2009 at 14:43:56

No, you don't

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June 8, 2009 at 15:07:50

thanks again everyone. i followed the link and used jellybean. turns out that the product key doesn't match the one on the bottom. i'm gonna start over with a new larger hard drive and a fresh install.

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June 8, 2009 at 16:40:46

just to be clear, you don't have to start over by re-installing Windows. It is possible to change the key without reinstalling. Not trying to talk you out of it, but be aware that you don't have to go to all that work unless you want to for other reasons. Either way, have fun :)

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June 9, 2009 at 04:26:35

You could just restore from the Recovery Partition.


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June 9, 2009 at 14:06:56

i failed in my mission to use the keychanger, the product key on the bottom sticker wouldn't work.

does this mean that my product key is not gonna work with a fresh install either??

this machine is not worth spending loads of money on, so i will not be buying a new key.

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June 9, 2009 at 14:33:03

why are you trying a key changer? Read response 5 again

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June 10, 2009 at 05:48:04

The reason why the product key on the bottom sticker wouldn't work is because The COA number is specific to the bundled version of software that Dell shipped with your machine, and no other.

You need to buy retail boxed XP and use the key on a yellow label stuck to a card inside, marked 'Do Not
Lose this Number."


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