Changing Windows XP Professional CD Key

By Viper_0000
Aug 21, 2006
  1. I'm 97% positive this will work, but I just want to check with other people before I waste my precious time as I'm very busy.

    I have an HP Laptop, of course it came with a bunch of useless bloated recovery discs and partition. But it did come with a Windows XP Professional serial key. I'm aware that if I use my own legal copy of windows and legal serial number that's on the sticker on the side of the laptop it won't install. Here's what I want to do.

    Install Windows XP Professional with my legal serial key and legal installation disc. Then once I'm in windows, change the serial number to the other legal one that came on the sticker on the laptop.

    All responses will be greatly appreciated, Thanks.


    Nevermind, this process has been confirmed to work.
    An Administrator/Moderator can lock/close this thread now.
  2. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    It depends. The key may be for an OEM version which can be different from a full retail version. I've seen some weird stuff with Windows XP key compatibility.

    If you already have a machine with the version of Windows XP that you want to install, try changing that key to the laptops key and see if it works. That would answer your question. I would make a ghost image of the OS before you do anything, just in case.
  3. amymay

    amymay TS Rookie

    if your xp disk is the retail version then I will doubt it will accept your other key as I would of thought that would be an OEM key.

    You can create a new install disk if this is the case as WinXP's setupp.ini controls how the CD acts.
    First, find your setupp.ini file in the i386 directory on your WinXP CD. Open it up, it'll look something like this:


    The Pid value is what we're interested in
    Retail = 51882 335
    OEM = 82503 OEM

    So if you wanted a retail CD that took retail keys, the last line of your setupp.ini file would read:


    And if you wanted a retail CD that took OEM keys, you'd use:


    the first 5 numbers of your PID you do not change, just amend the setupp.ini file and burn another install disk
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