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How do you figure out what version of XP is what?

By racerx509 ยท 4 replies
Oct 8, 2007
  1. So I run a small computer shop. We try to cling as closely to the law as possible, avoiding any and all instances of improperly skirting the copyright law when concerned with reinstalling operating systems. Of course, it rears its head often with XP and to a lesser extent 2k. Particularly what I am referring to is the fact that there are about 5 FRIGGIN VERSIONS OF XP!!!!

    There is Xp home (oem and retail), Xp Pro(oem, retail and VLK), Xp MCE (oem and retail), XP VLK (volume license copy) and each version of said XP (well I know home and pro did) came with different service packs. Anyway, what all this means is that each version of XP also comes with a different type of serial key.

    Through the wonders of the magic jelly bean serial extractor, I can extract serial keys and registration info from the customer's computer when they come in the shop, making repair installs fast, easy and legal, as 99.9% of all customers lose their reinstall disc, but it quickly becomes a PITA when selecting the disk to do the reinstall. Some machines like dells, HP or compaq have the serial and version of Xp clearly printed on their case, but I get quite a few that do not.

    It becomes a terrible guessing game as to figure out which XP version the serial key and registration information matches and if you get it wrong, you have to spend another 60-90 mins or so waiting for the new install to take. Hopefully the next one will fit the serial key you found.

    Long story short ,I am looking for any software or some tell tale method of figuring out which XP version and service pack goes with which serial key. It would save me much time, money and heart ache as well as help me help out a serious number of customers that come through my shop.

    Also, this goes for some machines which will arrive hopelessly blue screening, not booting into safe mode either, which I have extracted keys from.

    Anyone know of any way to do so?
  2. leadpill924

    leadpill924 Banned Posts: 119

    Go to Start> Run> type 'dxdiag'
    It should say Operating System 3rd from the top.

    EDIT: Oh sorry I read the thing wrong. This might help though
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,397   +36

    Why not use this or any other tool to change the key on a functioning computer? If that PC has XP Pro installed and you enter a key for XP Home, it'll show up as invalid. It'll save you a lot of time. And I don't think you'll come across the VLK version too much, although when you do, it'll probably be the only time you'll need to do too much work.
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,452   +6

  5. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 867   +12

    I took this from Nodsu's link

    If the destination computer does not work very well, you can get the ID by attaching the hard drive to a working machine and mounting the appropriate registry hive. Highlight HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE in your local regedit and choose File > Load Hive. Then browse to X:\Windows\System32\config\SOFTWARE (where X:\Windows is the drive letter and path to the Windows installation in question). It will ask you what key to mount; you then give it any name you like, and it will appear under your own HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Drill-down through Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion in this new key. You will see ProductID on the right. Do not forget to highlight the top key of the mounted hive, and choose File > Unload Hive when you are done.
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