Windows XP - help with product key etc

By pixiepoo ยท 7 replies
Oct 1, 2007
  1. I am thinking of purchasing a used PC but i wanted to check a few things before I comitted to buying.

    My main issue is that it is not being sold with an OS. It has got XP Pro loaded onto it but the advert says that they are not selling the product key/licence with it so it simply for testing then should be taken off on receipt of the PC.

    What I want to know is can i keep that OS on with the product key and license or is that illegal?

    If i do have to change it, i can't afford to buy the full XP cd - how does the 'upgrade' XP CD differ? ( I have access to the upgrade version)

    I think i heard somewhere that to use the upgrade CD you need to have the previous product key (which i dont have)...

    I do have a Windows 98 full edition CD with product key etc - is there any way I can put that on the PC and then put the XP upgrade CD on after (eg. as i have then have the product code)

    Sorry this is long winded - hope it makes sense!
  2. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    Strictly speaking you should not use the OS without the licence key at all.
    There are different keys for different types of XP (OEM, upgrade and so on).
    If you know which one is installed you can buy the right key and, using the activation wizard, change the key for a legal one.
    Your idea about Win98 and then the upgrade should work but you need to format the drive first. You will lose any other files or programs on the drive.
  3. pixiepoo

    pixiepoo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Do you know around how much the activation keys cost?

    As far as formatting goes - once I have received the computer I would want to format the hard drive so its clean and i can start afresh - and there wont be any of my files on it. Is this easy to do?

    Will formatting the hard drive effectively take off the unlicensed OS so I can put windows 98 on etc.?

  4. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    Activation keys will cost the same as the software bundle I think.
    You might find this URL helpful =
    Formatting when running a new installation is part of the process wizard - windows 98 is a bit different unless you have the start up boot floppy available.
    Formatting the hard drive will empty the drive as you suggest.
  5. pixiepoo

    pixiepoo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    sorry to be a nuisance - would you be able to expand a bit on the whole windows 98 boot floppy thing (i am new to all this)

    Does this basically mean that without the boot floppy i would not be able to replace the XP with the windows 98?

  6. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    This might not be 100% accurate as it is a while since I did this. (if you are in the UK, please say so as I could mail you a bootable floppy).
    Win 98 does not boot from the install CD but needs a boot from a special floppy which sets up the drivers for the CD and presents you the installer with some options on how to proceed. This is because in the good old days (when men were men, women were women and computers knew the difference) the facility to boot direct from the CD was not part of the PC construct.
    Ditto for some of the Win98 CDs - I have two here and one of them will permit the machine to boot, the other not.
    Try it and see - if you cannot boot from the CD you will need the floppy.
  7. pixiepoo

    pixiepoo TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes i am in the UK - if i end up getting the computer that floppy would be very useful to me!!

    So just so ive got this right in my head - if i get the computer which has XP installed, i can put the windows 98 CD in and as long as i have the boot floppy it should format the hard drive, take the old OS off and leave me with win 98??

    Does downgrading the OS has any negative effect on things such as graphics cards? (it has an ATI radeon 9500 installed) Or will it just adapt until i upgrade it to XP

  8. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    In order to use the upgrade CD you either need to use a previous older version of windows, 98, ME, etc.... OR

    borrow a full version of the XP CD and use YOUR key from the upgrade CD. It will work.

    It is illegal to transfer the XP CD per license rules, but it is legal to borrow the full CD, PROVIDED you use your upgrade key that you BOUGHT. The computer cannot tell the difference.

    XP is quite cheap these days. I suggest getting the full version anyway.
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