Can I use a Dell CD key on a non-Dell machine? (XP)

By BobTheNob
Oct 15, 2007
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  1. My Dell desktop, which was running XP Pro, died. Since my (Compaq) laptop has been running XP Home, I thought I'd upgrade it to Pro using the CD Key from the Dell (copied from the sticker on the case). I wiped the laptop & installed XP Pro using a retail CD - but it does not accept the key! Am I SOL or is there a way to use the Dell key on the not-a-Dell laptop?

    TIA ... I've seen a few similar threads but nothing the quite matches.

    - Bob
  2. evilfantasy

    evilfantasy Banned Posts: 428

  3. bushwhacker

    bushwhacker TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,086

    Yes you can! All you have to tell the Microsoft that you had the dead laptop and you wants to reuse the key on laptop (windows xp home)

    I have no problem using this and matter of facts, i have a dell license key win xp pro on my computer, i activated it over phone, and they accept it, since i brought it from computer store.
    And i dont think the key should affect in any service packs.

    Plus, you still can use the other serial found on the website, after you got it working, pull up the activation, put down the serial from the DELL laptop and restart the computer. If it is not working.

    Call Microsoft and tell them you are using the pirated serial and you still cant put down the genuine serial, they will ask you to give them the serial. After they determine if it is genuine and they will give you the new serial or activation code.

    Hope it turns out all right.

    This may sound in pirat-e way, but this is a honestly way to bypass the setup and inform the microsoft to receive the new serial during the activation process, due to your non-working serial number.
  4. Fragrant Coit

    Fragrant Coit TechSpot Maniac Posts: 579

    The problem probably is you are using an OEM key with a retail CD - find an OEM Pro CD.
  5. N3051M

    N3051M Newcomer, in training Posts: 2,800

    although do remember that there may be certain licencing restrictions with manufacturer builds, like the words "this licence is only valid on this machine only... non-transferable.." or sorts along the lines.. please check beforehand.

    and yes, certain keys only work on the same exact installer for windows.. windows sp1 key won't work on a sp2 installer, upgrade key won't work on a full retail or OEM box, etc. Oh the joys of XP...
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,424   +281

    Technically no, you can't, because as N3051M pointed out OEM lisences are only valid for 1 computer.

    In reality though, you can, you won't be able to activate online, you'll have to call Microsoft up, they will ask you if that copy is currently installed on any other machines, you answer no, they give you a number to type in a box and then it is activated.
  7. bushwhacker

    bushwhacker TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,086

    And after you got activated, i suggest you to back up wba files so you can restore them after reformat and not to re-activate again.
  8. BobTheNob

    BobTheNob Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks, all, I will go this route. (Worst-case scenario, I should be able to finish the project for which I need XP Pro within 30 days, then flatten the machine & put Home back on it).

    Thanks!

    - Bob
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