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Dell Dimension 2400 harddrive wed Gateway mobo

By bamagurl_62 ยท 11 replies
Sep 6, 2007
  1. Hi Everyone,
    Not quite sure where to post this problem of mine but this looked like a good place. I purchased a Dell Dimension 2400 in Nov. 2005, couple of weeks ago (after bad storm) it would not turn on.I finally decided to take it in for repairs, well the motherboard was fried along with a few other things. They had a good Gateway motherboard so they combined the two, took what was good on mine and put it into the Gateway. Hard drive works, I turn on the computer it loads all the way to our names but when you click on a name the activate windows comes up. I called Micro Soft and they say I am running a illegal copy because I purchased this from Dell and it needs to run on a dell motherboard. I cannot get into setup anything not even the internet. As of now I am not sure what is in my computer but I am running Windows XP Home Edition on a Dell Hard drive with Gateway motherboard. I also have product key but Ms would not take it. Can someone help please?
  2. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Unfortunately, your Windows and it`s key are tied into the Dell hardware and are not going to be accepted with your present hardware.

    The only thing I can suggest, is you purchase a new copy of Windows.

    Regards Howard :(
  3. bamagurl_62

    bamagurl_62 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for answering

    Is there no other way? When I turn it on, it looks just like it did before, all our names everything. It wouldn't be so bad but just downloaded my pictures. got a new grand baby all his pictures had only burned about half to cd. Oh well Thanks for getting back so soon.
  4. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    The computer shop that repaired the PC for you should be able to get any data you need off the hard drive.
  5. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +422

    What bothers me is the shop should have known there might have been a problem with Windows activation. Surely they understood how it works. Anyway, since you cannot activate Windows (unless or until you buy a copy), after 30 days from that "repair" your copy of Windows will be unusable. So the clock is ticking.
  6. bamagurl_62

    bamagurl_62 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Mailpup,
    The guy who fixed my pc works with my husband, he went to school on computers, he knew there might be a small problem combining two pc's but both had legal copies of windows xp (mine and his mothers). I have been on the phone to Ms and Dell for 2 days now. Ms says Dell has to give me a new key and Dell says they will if I purchase a new Dell motherboard. When I bought my Dell I understood that I purchased Winxp also. It says OEM but now it is more like I only leased the Software. I don't know where you live but here in the south times are hard and we try to help each other anyway we can and as I pointed out to Dell Support I now have a computer with two legal copies that is no good to anyone but hey Micro Soft got their money and so did Gateway and Dell. We the consumer got left holding the scrape metal. Sorry to run on like that but it is all true.
  7. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    You cannot "buy" a MS OS. you just purchase the license to use it. and in your case that license is tied to a dell machine. if you had purchased a copy of XP at the store then you would have gotten a license to use it on any ONE machine.

    The deal with OEM versions is that they are half the price of what is charged for a retail version.
  8. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +422

    Yes, it's as iss said, Microsoft restricts your ability to switch copies of Windows to different machines. I'm not saying I like it but it just is. Your husband's co-worker maybe doesn't completely understand how it works.

    One thing is unclear to me. You say you have two copies of Windows, one from the Dell PC (which you can't activate) and another one, from Gateway I presume. Is that one tied to your used motherboard? Is it being used by another PC? If not, what happens when you try to use it?

    Also, I only mentioned the 30 day time limit so you would be aware of it and save your data or do something about your problem before Windows becomes unusable. You won't actually lose your data but getting to it would become more complicated and I was trying to help you avoid that. While some of us on these forums might not be from the South, I wish to point out that we are trying to help you, a stranger, just the same. :)
  9. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    if youactually have an XP disk then you could create a bartPE disk using it and boot from it to retrieve your data.

  10. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    The Gateway restore disk might work. But of course it would wipe the drive clean. I would be willing to send you one out of curiosity, just to see if it will work... of course it will require a different product key.
    If interested send the model number or part number from the motherboard.
    In our conversations with Microsoft, they have told us the poduct key lives as long as the motherboard lives.
    If you can, find out if the tech shop knows the computer that the motherboad came from...
  11. bamagurl_62

    bamagurl_62 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hello again,
    I am once again legal to run windows xp and I feel like an *****. While everyone from support (both Ms and Dell) were pulling my chain I kept at it and finally got on line with help from another message board. Once in, I of course went to harass both companies from said computer. It finally dawns on me to replace the key that was given me by MS (by phone) with my own numbers (to which I was told would not work because of repair) and you guessed it, It does still work. I actually paid extra when I purchased my pc for the windows xp H.E. cd. Thanks to all who responded. Now where do I post the work around to get on line from a windows lock out? or does this board post such things? I do realize that there are pirates out there but the truth is they know a lot more than the average pc owner and in my search for help I read where other folks were just buying the new mobo or Windows Xp.
  12. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    If you own the computer, you will be fine. But periodically, you may get a big block on your screen that reports "You are Using Unauthorized Software" or other warnings.
    At that point, call the number offered on the screen and explain your situation. Usually they will issue you a code, let it go and not bother you further. Microsoft is only trying to catch people involved in Piracy.
    Based on our experience, I am very surprised you got it to work... because the product ID's are separated into so many versions that do not cross over.
    Thanks for the update on your experience. It is good news.
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