Windows XP Lost Key But Have CD

January 24, 2007 at 13:10:55
Specs: Windows XP, Dont Know

Like a dumba** I misplaced my box which had my key in it. I did not register my product. My roommate threw my box away on accident. I formatted my computer last night and when it asked me to enter a key, I realized I didnt have it. Now my computer is STUCK at that screen until I can enter the key. First thing I want to ask, is WHY Microsoft does not place the key ON the CD itself. I know I am not the first one to have this problem. It would be much more convenient if it was on there. Secondly, how can I find out what the Key is or do I just have to pay another 100 dollars for a new key? Someone please help me without having to spend money I do not have.

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January 24, 2007 at 13:35:02

I'm not sure if this will work. You will need another pc.Download nlite
Install to another pc. You will need to copy your windows cd to the other pc hard disk. Start the program, select unattended install, in there somewhere you will find you key.
Back it up write it down, e-mail it to a friend.

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January 24, 2007 at 13:37:49

well ... it's a HP computer and therefore an OEM machine (what happened to the sticker, if i may ask :-) so, not all is lost. contact hp tech support, provide the serial number and ask for a key.

Today's subliminal thought is: 'Calm down ... it's only ones and zeros.'

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January 24, 2007 at 13:39:33

When a friend lost his and I was installing XP on a new hard drive I called Microsoft. they e-mailed a replacement product key in about 10 working days. You have to have the install CD/s with you when you phone as they needed the numbers off the inner ring of the CD so that they can provide the correct product key. Of course this only applies to genuine MS product and not to a recovery CD from Dell, HP or any of the other makers. For those contact Dell, HP, etc.

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January 24, 2007 at 13:42:11

Story sounds suspicious to me.

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January 24, 2007 at 13:42:19

No that will not work, when you build a bootable ISO from nlite you need to have the CD key.The CD key is not stored on the CD anywhere. I'm afraid your only option is to buy another license from Microsoft.

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January 24, 2007 at 13:53:20


When I run nlite it puts the license key in, on the unattended install page. Under the general tab.

On the other hand, it might pick the key up from the pc that nlite is installed on, rather than the cd.

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January 24, 2007 at 15:46:16

Most OEM installs DON'T require a key. They rely upon the hardware to authenticate the install.
In fact you CAN'T get those install CD/DVD's to work normally on non-OEM computers.

The exception would be that your disk was purchased by itself and didn't come with the computer.

I read it wrong and answer it wrong too. So get off my case you goober.

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January 24, 2007 at 20:02:51

If it is a HP computer that came with OEM windows XP installed, I believe the key is also on the sticker on the computer. I don't know where HP puts the sticker, It's usually found on the bottom of the HP/Compaq laptops. On desktops it may be on the back or inside the case, but if it's an original, its there somewhere.

Diamond Jim

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January 24, 2007 at 20:08:01

By golly I am looking at a few HP's that the do have the key on the case in really teeny tiny letters. It must have been HP cause we didn't do it.

I read it wrong and answer it wrong too. So get off my case you goober.

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January 25, 2007 at 05:20:23

If your XP CD came from HP, they ususally prepare the CD such that XP installs unattendedly, which means it does not ask for a CD key. The key is in the winnt.sif file in I386 folder on the XP CD, which is used for unattended installation. You can open winnt.sif file in Notepad. If this file does not exist, you cannot install XP unattendedly out of the XP CD.

Sometimes, unattended install is done through Floppy Diskette. In this case there is a file called unattended.txt on the floppy that carries your product key. Look for a floppy diskette that should have been supplied with your PC.

If your XP install asks for a key, that means your XP CD does not have the key inscribed on it and there is no winnt.sif file. Therefore, you have to buy another key, maybe with a discount.

Hope the above helps.



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