Solved What happens if I have the same copy of XP on 2 machines?

Dell / Inspiron one 2320
January 4, 2014 at 12:37:19
Specs: Windows 7, 3.3 GHz / 4001 MB
Let me start by saying that I understand the rules of this forum and I'm not asking how to run the same copy of XP on 2 machines. I'm just trying to understand how the activation of XP works. Let me explain what's going on.

The History:

For years I ran 2 XP machines at home, one for me and one for my daughters. Both machines has legal copies of XP running on them. Both machines have been shut down for a couple of years since I bought a Win7 machine for myself and the girls have Mac laptops. Both machines were pretty beat up and slow at the time they were shut down.

Back in 2008 I apparently created a bootable XP install disk. It's got my handwriting on it, so I must have done it. ;-) Along with the date, I also wrote a Product Key on the disk, but I honestly don't know which of the 2 machines it belongs to.

The Current Situation

One of my daughters is home from school for winter break but she is taking an on-line course. It is recommended that the course be taken on a PC platform since the Vox Proxy application (animation for .ppv PowerPoint files) is not supported on the Mac.

I attempted to install the Vox Proxy app on her old XP machine, but it was just too darn slow and finicky. I ended up using the bootable XP install disk, choosing the Repair option, entered the Product Key from the disk and activated the OS as required. The performance improved significantly and while the machine is still pretty slow, it'll get her through her course.

The Question

Since I don't know which machine was used to create the bootable XP install disk, I am curious about what would happen if I powered up my XP machine and put it on the network. If the Product Key used to repair my daughter's PC is actually associated with my machine, what will happen? I don't have any plans to do this, but I'm still curious as to what happens if 2 copies of XP with the same Product Key show up on the network. Again, I don't know if the Product Keys are the same, but there is 50/50 chance that they are.

Thanks for any insight in this situation.

message edited by DerbyDad03


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✔ Best Answer
January 8, 2014 at 08:28:52
Go to the link below and download SP3. This will be a file you can save. Installing it will install ALL updates prior to SP3, assuming you already have SP2. If not, then download it also.

After SP3 is installed your computer only needs to find critical updates that came out after SP3 was released.

If SP3 refuses to install then you may need to manually go to the Windows update site and grab WGA.

I recommend you set all your Windows computers to find available updates and notify you but not install them. That way you can decide what to install. Microsoft sometimes wants to feed hardware drivers when the hardware is functioning fine. I RARELY install a Microsoft generated hardware driver unless that is the only one available.

http://social.technet.microsoft.com...



#1
January 4, 2014 at 13:28:50
You could have an issue if you have auto updater enabled. Otherwise MS isn't trolling the internet looking for things like that.

What would most likely happen is IF you have the same version on both machines and you tried updating both you might see a message stating that your copy of WinXP may not be legitimate.

You can recover the keys for both by using Magical jelly bean. I believe there is a way to change the install key without re-installing WinXP. I KNOW that is an option with Windows 7.


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#2
January 4, 2014 at 15:42:08
Thanks for the response.

re: "You can recover the keys for both by using Magical jelly bean."

It might not be "keys" (plural) anymore. ;-)

re: "I believe there is a way to change the install key without re-installing WinXP."

Well, if they are both the same now, I wouldn't know what to change one or the other one to. The only key I have is the one I wrote on the disk that I made almost 6 years ago.

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#3
January 5, 2014 at 07:31:32
You didn't post any specs for the "slow" machine. Does it have less than 2GB RAM? Less than 1GB? You shouldn't expect a system to be "fast" if it lacks the necessary hardware to allow it to perform well.

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Related Solutions

#4
January 5, 2014 at 07:35:34
Only one way to find out. Fire up the other computer. Isolate it from the net and disable auto updates so it doesn't immediately try to update. Then check the key.

If you installed from the boot disk the original installation files are probably still on the hard drive, unless you formatted. Even then, if you used quick format you may still find something.

I am not sure where the key resides in WinXP.

Speccy can also yield useful data.


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#5
January 5, 2014 at 08:15:02
There are articles various - including references too to in M$-land - re' the same OS (including XP) - using same key installation on two separate computers.

It would appear it's allowed… Certainly if one of them is a laptop… (These days even if both are…?) And an extension to that appears to be that if you have an installation at your office you can have a duplicate at home… The latter extension seems to apply to corporate licensed systems; but I have seen references to it for the general non corporate versions too.

This link may be of interest...

http://www.techrepublic.com/forums/... - note the distinction - retail etc. allowed.

But your situation is a little different to above? You have two copies installed - each with its own key... You may wish to change/correct the key on one of them.. Once you have recovered "all" the keys in both installations (OS and applications etc.) - make a note of them all (hard-copy, and also save to files and somewhere safe (maybe even two locations).

Then check out the assorted how to - below?

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/...

http://www.techrepublic.com/article...

http://www.mydigitallife.info/how-t...

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/produ...

http://www.wikihow.com/Change-a-Win...

And this little utility - seems to be quite effective too?

http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/det...


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#6
January 5, 2014 at 20:43:34
Thank you all for the suggestions. I'll check out the articles and also try to extract the product keys, just so that I'm prepared in the rare case that I would be putting both of these machines on the network at the same time.

Click Here Before Posting Data or VBA Code ---> How To Post Data or Code.


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#7
January 6, 2014 at 05:03:03
Derby

If you plan on keeping those computers as backups then I suggest you download all the service packs and updates from the link below, which allows you to archive them, instead of simply installing them.

Also, once they are fully updated, make an image of each one.


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#8
January 6, 2014 at 05:35:39
OtH…

That link would be useful to have/know… but - erm… I think it got lost in the posting?


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#9
January 6, 2014 at 10:50:01
trvlr, thanks for the heads up. Here is the link.

http://social.technet.microsoft.com...


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#10
January 7, 2014 at 17:19:12
OTH...

First, let me expand on a comment I made in my original post just so we are absolutely clear about what I did and what I want to do next.

In my OP, I said "Back in 2008 I apparently created a bootable XP install disk. ... Along with the date, I also wrote a Product Key on the disk"

That is not 100% accurate. What I actually did was create a bootable XP install disk and wrote only the date on it. In the same CD case I had another CD: An actual MS Windows XP Home Edition Upgrade Version 2002 CD. That is the disk that I had written the Product Key on sometime in the past. I don't know when I did that, but since the marker ink is a different color on each CD, I suspect that the bootable disk was created in isolation, and I simply stored both CD's in the same case.

When I performed the Repair on my daughter's machine by using the bootable XP install disk, I used the product key that was written on the authentic Windows CD. The system accepted it and I was able to validate that copy of Windows.

OK, so now let's move on to the status of my machine, the machine I was concerned about putting on the network because I didn't know if it had a matching Product Key.

Here's what I did:

I turned off Auto Updates, put it on the net, downloaded Magic Jelly Bean and ran it.

The CD Key does not match the key that I used on my daughter's machine. In other words, it does not match the Product Key written on the authentic Windows CD. That tells me I can have both machines on the net at the same time with no worries.

So here's the next question: As I mentioned in my OP, the use of the Repair utility significantly improved the performance of my daughter's machine. Let's say I wanted to try the same thing on my machine. If I use the same bootable XP install disk on my machine and use the CD Key found by Magic Jelly Bean on that specific machine, will it accept it?

In other words, is the bootable XP install disk just a "generic" install disk that can be used on any XP machine or did it work on my daughter's machine because the Product Key I entered (from the genuine Windows XP disk) matched what was on the bootable XP install disk? Is there even a Product Key on the bootable disk or does the utility just want make sure that you know what key is on the machine you are repairing?

Thanks again for your help.


message edited by DerbyDad03


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#11
January 7, 2014 at 22:23:27
Are both machines the same version of WinXP (home or pro)? We can assume they are both 32 bit.

There is no product key on the install CD. There were different types of install disks though. Basically there are 3 different types of disks for WinXP.

SLP, OEM full, retail full. Again, assuming 32 bit. SLP versions are those that came pre-installed on a new brand name computer. OEM & retail full versions Would have come with a Windows XP branded CD. The SLP generally did not come on pre-recorded media. Instead, the end user was required to create a restore set. That set would have included bundled extras like a version of MS Works and of course, all the crapware that comes on that type of computer.

SO, if you have a full version disk then you should have no problems using that CD along with the key for the computer you are installing to.

If BOTH computers were SLP installations then STILL, you would have no problem using the same CD for both as long as you have 2 separate installation keys.

I suspect you have a full version OEM or retail CD or you wouldn't be prompted for an installation key at all. See the link below for more on SLP installs.

I would suggest you make a backup image of the untouched machine BEFORE attempting anything. That way you can always restore without worrying about install keys and activation.

In the case of WinXP IF you had 2 computers running an installation using the same key, you would not be able to certify both computers are legal by installing Windows Genuine Advantage. Without WGA you can't install SP3 or non critical updates after SP3.

WGA is fed to you from the Windows update site.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/...



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#12
January 8, 2014 at 08:04:46
Thanks once again.

re: "I suspect you have a full version OEM or retail CD or you wouldn't be prompted for an installation key at all."

The part that is still unclear to me is that the disk which prompted me to enter the key is the bootable install disk that I made back in 2008. Since it doesn't have any kind of label on it, I don't know where the image came from, other than knowing that it came from one of my PC's since I remember going through the process to create it. I just don't remember why or from which machine. I can only assume that it is a full version OEM or retail CD since it prompted me. I guess it doesn't really matter as long as it works.

In any case, if I understand you correctly, I should be able to use that same bootable install CD to try a repair of the other machine. When it prompts me for an Product Key, I'll enter the one that is already on that machine.

One last question (for now!)

You said: WGA is fed to you from the Windows update site.

Since the bootable install disk was created in 2008, I am obviously way behind with updates. If I turn on Auto Updates on both machines after the "repair" will they automatically download all of the updates, including Service Packs and make them current? If yes, I assume this would take a few days, correct?

Thanks again for your time.

message edited by DerbyDad03


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#13
January 8, 2014 at 08:09:03
From my own experience post a rebuild/repair or whatever… When you enable the updates routine it will download the lot… Likely in blocks and it will take a wee while…

You can usually elect for custom or automatic installation… Overall I have found the auto OK for me...


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#14
January 8, 2014 at 08:28:52
✔ Best Answer
Go to the link below and download SP3. This will be a file you can save. Installing it will install ALL updates prior to SP3, assuming you already have SP2. If not, then download it also.

After SP3 is installed your computer only needs to find critical updates that came out after SP3 was released.

If SP3 refuses to install then you may need to manually go to the Windows update site and grab WGA.

I recommend you set all your Windows computers to find available updates and notify you but not install them. That way you can decide what to install. Microsoft sometimes wants to feed hardware drivers when the hardware is functioning fine. I RARELY install a Microsoft generated hardware driver unless that is the only one available.

http://social.technet.microsoft.com...


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#15
January 8, 2014 at 11:37:58

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