Backup activation/OEM information on a compaq

By Vigilante
Oct 20, 2007
  1. Hi all.

    I'm hoping somebody already has this procedure they can share with me.
    I have a Compaq 6000 with XP Home on it, a customer apparently did some kind of reload which wiped out the Compaq recovery partition. The install is clean but there are traces of old programs through the file system and registry though the programs don't work and have no uninstall info. So I want to do a clean install.

    The problem is, I don't have the Recovery Partition, and I don't have Compaq XP restore CDs. I want to reload this with a normal XP Home CD, it's all I've got. However, I don't want to have to fight with activating keycodes, OEM info and all that because it's a Compaq key.

    So while the system is still working, I want to backup all the info relating to product key and activation and any Compaq OEM files that are needed, so I don't have to call MS or any garbage like that.

    I know you can back up wpa.dbl and wpa.bak, but is that it? Has anybody done that before? Will the Compaq XP product key work if I use a regular XP Home CD? If not, how can I reload it? Can I use a regular product key and then just change it to the Compaq one after reload?

    All suggestions welcome,

  2. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    Well here is what I'm talking about.

    OK so I couldn't wait, I reloaded XP with an OEM Xp Install disk, naturally it would not accept the stupid Compaq product key. So I went ahead and loaded it with a different key.

    Once the installation was done, I ran Microsoft's own keychange program called "keyupdatetool_enu.exe". The program changed my key without a problem, Jellybean keyfinder now reports the correct key as on the Compaq sticker.

    So I'm thinking everything is OK, XP is loaded, shows the right key, but it is not activated. So I go in to Safe Mode and restore the wpa.dbl and wpa.bak files and reboot the system. No good, still wants to activate. So I try to active, of course the computer can't validate it so it transfers me to the Indian guy. The Indian guy has me repeat the ID again, then he repeats it back, then it doesn't work still. He has me run the Update Key function and it produces the same ID. So he transfers me to another rep who wants me to just call Compaq, she further states that the tech support place is closed and say between 5am and 9pm Pacific, and I am 4pm mountain, so they shouldn't be closed anyway.

    This is why I posted my original question, to avoid this crapola. I've already spent more time just trying to get the key to work and activate than I have installing Windows and drivers. And now I'm stuck with a computer that won't take the old wpa info, and won't produce a valid install ID. This bugs me.

    Any help would be great before I rip this thing apart or just crack it, cause I don't have time for this.
  3. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    OK, I'm done.

    Since I couldn't successfully change the keycode, I figured I'd have to keep reloading it until an XP install I had took the key by default.
    Luckily, I have multiple versions of XP Home, that is, one for volume license, one for OEM, one retail, etc... I also found out that if you try to install XP FROM Windows, it will ask for the product key early on, which acts as kind of a test to see if will accept the OEM key. One of my disks DID accept the code, luckily, so I reinstalled XP with THAT CD, and was in shape, activated fine without even having to call.

    All this and it only took 2 hours to get a valid install and activation. Hence, why I asked how I can backup the activation info, when just the two wpa files don't work. Oh well, I'll remember this method.

    All done.
  4. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    The wpa.* backup "loophole" was closed shortly after XP SP2, after a lot of sites started telling how to back up the activation files.

    I guess a full partition image backup should still work.
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