I have a legit Windows XP key but no disc

By Deery50
Jan 21, 2013
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  1. So I am sort of a computer noob here. I was just wondering if it was possible to get a copy of the windows XP home edition Iso file, I have a product key but It was on a computer that broke. I don't want to download a torrent, I would like an iso file that is untouched. I've been trying to figure this out for two days. Thanks.
  2. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,197   +555

    I don't know how you'd get a Home Edition ISO. Official MS ISO's that I know of for educational purpose distribution are Pro copies. This advice is on the edge of forum rules, but since you have a product key I'd just download a torrent. There are plenty of copies online that are untouched.
    m4a4 and misor like this.
  3. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,550   +18

    I would not advise torrents.
    1. They are a major malware vector.
    2. The end result is likely to report as "not -genuine"... so even with your genuine product key, SNAFU.

    In the US, sometimes you can find "surplus" copies of software (unused) at computer shows.
    I would be inclined to find an on-line store (good reputation) and pony up the $30-$50 necessary for a new/unused copy and key.
  4. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,197   +555

    As long as you download an ISO copy of the disc, there are no problems with 'non-geniune' messages etc. I have done this numerous times when I didn't have a disc handy. (By the way, my keys are obtained via legit MS avenues)
    m4a4 likes this.
  5. Deery50

    Deery50 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 32

    Can u link me with one? Thanks.
  6. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,550   +18

    Techspot Terms of Use include...
    I think even discussing the possibility of downloading MS software via Torrent infringes these terms of use.
    Mods may disagree, but...
  7. Deery50

    Deery50 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 32

    I didn't realize it was illegal. Sorry nevermind
  8. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,197   +555

    As I said, this is probably very close to (or is) a breach of TS rules. I don't know for sure that ISO copies of Windows are illegal, but Microsoft does hand out ISO's to corporations etc..

    Either way, no way would I give you a link to any ISO I find on the web - find it yourself and then we can't get in trouble. :)
  9. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TechSpot Addict Posts: 1,325   +95

    Do you know any one who has a copy of win xp. If so you can use that with your key if your key is legal. Finding a xp Iso . Is going to be very hard. The web site My digital life which is a legal site for (Win Iso) . Use to have win xp iso for download that were legal. But I would not count on it now. Beings win xp will not be support after next year.
  10. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,019   +83 Staff Member

    If you have a legitimate key, I would also recommend just torrenting an official retail ISO, which is easy to find and you can check the hash to make sure it hasn't been tampered with. Piracy breaches our rules. This isn't piracy. Maybe it's kind of in a grey area and torrenting is always a controversial topic, but Deery has a legal license to use the software. What is it anyone's business where he/she actually gets that software, especially in a purely digital format? Hell, if you're that spooked about getting a copy yourself, PM me and I'll find you a copy, download it, double check the hash and transfer it over Skype or something.
    m4a4, misor and Cobalt006 like this.
  11. Deery50

    Deery50 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 32

    Yeah, Idk if I would go to downloading a torrent for it. It's not that important to be it's just for a virtual machine. I don't understand the whole Hash buisness also.
  12. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,019   +83 Staff Member

    In reductive dummy terms (which is all I can manage on the subject), you can use one of many cryptographic algorithms (such as MD5 or SHA1) to produce a hash output that is unique to a given piece of software.

    So, for instance, I installed Windows 8 recently and HashTab says the MD5 checksum is 7A10316A79A543F2BF4953A4332B4323, while the SHA1 checksum is E63C1D3733532ABC7AB28F3D61526E361E80271A.

    I can Google those and see that I have the official RTM build. Generally, when a retail Windows ISO is listed on a torrent site without any funny business, they'll say so outright. Then you just double check for yourself.
  13. Deery50

    Deery50 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 32

    Oh ok, I think I understand. And there is no way a company can like fake a hash?
     
  14. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,019   +83 Staff Member

    Well, to use a tired cliché, people once thought the world was flat, so I won't pretend to know the realm of all possibility, especially on a topic I'm poorly versed in. That said, as I understand it, causing a deliberate collision with MD5 has been possible for a few years, though it's not exactly cheap or easy. As far as I know (and someone can correct me here), it hasn't been done yet with SHA1. It's theoretically possible and the algorithm is recognized as "broken" but no practical attack is available yet -- as in, they're too computationally expensive. Not to mention that you can easily check the ISO's MD5 and SHA1 outputs, so the attacker would need collisions on both. Unless you're worried about the NSA using some uber classified supercomputer to bug your Windows ISO, you can probably torrent one and sleep fine at night.
  15. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,256   +110

    It might be easier to ask around and see if your friend has a disk handy.
    misor likes this.
  16. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,259   +216

    I've had the exact same issue, and worked around it 2 ways that others have suggested already. Borrowing a CD of the exact same version matching your key and installing from that works just fine. So does finding a solid and unmodified torrent to install with. The whole "grey area" thing is really rather black and white, in many respects: you paid for the license key, the CD (or torrent) are just the media. Without the key, you are typically locked out of things like updates and other items requiring confirmation of a genuine and valid key.

    That said, there are a few caveats to consider. First, you may find that the torrent method makes certain things much easier. Consider that you can find a torrent of the latest Service Pack version of XP Home, which streamlines the install and update process.

    The second caveat is something nobody really asked: is your PC a home-built or later updated system, or was it a canned off-the-shelf unit (like Dell, HP, etc)? The reason I ask is, those OEM units tend to have full system restore CDs specific to a model, with all of the installation and registration embedded in them. You can run into weird issues with trying to restore just Windows on those systems, as your key could be a very odd specialized OEM license that won't work with a retail Windows install CD. I've run into this issue myself a few times in the past on older XP systems. It can also be a hurdle if the system is very old, and you are talking about a Windows XP Home "upgrade" version, which has its own share of issues when trying to do a straight up install and bypass the upgrading portion of the process.

    Just a few things to keep an eye out for...
    B00kWyrm and Matthew like this.
  17. Deery50

    Deery50 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 32

    Thanks for all of your results! :)
  18. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Posts: 4,554   +184

    I have an XP pro cd & product key, but no way to duplicate it.:confused:
  19. iametony

    iametony Newcomer, in training

    Hey I know exactly what your going through, Same thing happened to me except it was a Vista cd I needed. I'll tell you what. I have 2 XP Home Edition Reinstallation Cds. 1 comes with SP1. If you can figure out how to get 1 to you without me having to pay a penny its yours... just let me know..


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