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signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5

[MCE] COA/Key and OEM version: Questions

I've inherited a laptop, a real old one with XP MCE. The restore partition wasn't there to be found and the install was borked. Since I am not the original owner, but got the laptop from them because the USB doesn't work now, I figured I'd see what I could do with it.

I put a Cardbus USB card in it, and it kept BSODing, so I tried with a LIVE linux disk, and it worked, so, since the Win install was flaky (constantly BSODs and checkdisks), I tried using an OEM copy but not the one that came with the laptop since it is nowhere to be found.

Are OEM copies different where the key won't work if it isn't a copy from the company that made the computer? IOW, are OEM Win disks different and dedicated to certain keys?
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markofmayhem
Why not now?
Premium
join:2004-04-08
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:5
There is a flat text file on the OEM disk with the install script, this is where the OEM key is. If it doesn't match one of the BIOS outputs, the install won't activate. OEM just pre-activates the install. Even if you use a different OEM disk, you can change the key to the COA sticker and then activate as a "retail" version (which will most likely spit a 1-800 number you will need to call). Or, do one of these reinstall:

1. XP is old enough, you could probably google the model of the laptop and find what key that script should have in it and burn a new OEM XP MCE disk with nLite placing the proper OEM key into the field. nLite has enough documentation to walk you through this.

2. Stop using the OEM, install a retail XP MCE version instead and use the COA sticker key. You will need to follow up, mostly likely, with a phone call to a 1-800 number. No big deal: you lost the recover disk, the partition is not recovering the OS, and you reinstalled. You can create a retail version also using nLite and burn to a new disk.
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Octavean
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-31
New York, NY
kudos:1
reply to signmeuptoo
There are different versions of XP Media Center Edition. The three major version I recall are the original 2002 release, MCE 2004 and MCE 2005. For the version of MCE that are upgradable via a service pack alone the COA you have would likely be valid.

However, if for example, the version of XP MCE your laptop came with were the original 2002 release and you were trying to install the final XP MCE 2005 version, I don't think the original XP MCE 2002 key would work. Or the other way around,....


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5
Why oh why must MS make things so hard for people trying to be legit... A key should just work. Oh well, looks like I will have to wing it...

Thanks guys.


Octavean
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-31
New York, NY
kudos:1

2 edits
Good luck,....

Microsoft's plans for Media Center Changed over time. Initially you couldn't buy just the OS and had to buy it with a rather expensive OEM Media Center system. XP Media Center Edition 2005 was the first version sold without the need of an OEM system and the last XP version before moving on to Vista, which, included Media Center in specific versions.

So earlier versions of Media Center simply weren't intended for the general user to install.

The latest version of XP (sevice Pack 3 ???) should, if I recall correctly, allow for install without a key just like Vista and Windows 7. So if you have a really up to date version of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 install media you might be able to do the install without the key. Then rearm every 30 days for a total of 120 days. Not the best but better then nothing until you get this sorted,....

Never tried that with XP so not really sure,...