Problems with Windows XP Key Number

  flecc 14:53 20 Jan 2003
  flecc 14:53 20 Jan 2003

I recently received a new computer from Systemax, XP preinstalled of course, with a Microsoft key number label on it and it was an SLP installation. (System Prelocked Activation)

As I always do, the first thing I checked out was the restore disc system to find if it had any defects, and yes, using it lost the Service Pack 1 installation which also meant the loss of USB2. No problem for me, but not very clever for an inexperienced user.

However, I didn't want their XP installation for the XP partition I wanted to keep, so reinstalled it from my own XP CD, attempting to use the Windows key supplied. This was refused as invalid, something which I understand is a common problem with new computers. I used my existing number meanwhile. It seems that suppliers take no care to supply the correct number for an installation.

If you have a computer with a preinstalled XP, it's a s well to find out what your correct key number is, don't rely on that label. Unfortunately, in XP the number is encoded into the registry in a way that makes it unviewable.

To overcome this, go to the following site and access the XP Viewkey program, you'll see the link to view your number in the middle of the items shown. It's a tiny program which you don't even install. Just select Open from the download options and it will instantly display your correct Windows key. If you're very lucky it might match your label, but in many cases it won't.

Alternatively. if you want to keep it for future use, just save to disc and again just click the exe file anytime to see the number, again no installation happens.

Here's the link:-

click here

  Sir Radfordin™ 14:56 20 Jan 2003

There seem to have been few cases of people not spotting the difference between an 8 and a B and a few other letters have been known to be mixed up.

  flecc 15:12 20 Jan 2003

I can assure you that's not the case here Sir Radfordin™, I'm careful about such things. There's one B and one 8 in the sequence and both were correctly and repeatedly tried and in any case, the correct number exposed by View key after I'd again used the restore discs was very different.

There are many reports about this problem and it's obvious that suppliers aren't taking care over this. Since the restore discs rely on the BIOS activation entry, they possibly feel it's not an issue.

  spikeychris 15:31 20 Jan 2003

Being doing a bit of work with this...

click here and tell me what you think Tony.


  flecc 15:52 20 Jan 2003

Thanks Chris, fascinating research on their part and yours. I've just given my new laser printer a bit of exercise so I can do a more careful read later, but it's interesting to see that Microsoft have addressed the second issue raised by Sir Radfordin™ so that inverted pairs are accepted. Very thoughtful of them.

The issue above is just plain carelessness on the manufacturer's part though, just sticking sheets of labels onto machines without regard to the number that actually belongs to each installation.

Naughty though, since it may have left me with a useless number. It's not accepted by the standard installation because it's an SLP number which doesn't match the BIOS entry, but I'm going to try it on another machine in due course to see if an SLP number can be used where no BIOS entry is involved. Hopefully Microsoft don't differentiate them.

  spikeychris 16:13 20 Jan 2003

Have you tried the XPDec the utility to be run from the command prompt.


  flecc 19:33 20 Jan 2003

No I haven't Chris, although I knew of it previously. I opted for the one I gave since it has the benefit of simplicity and just giving the key number.

One thing not generally realised about Licenturian, the site you gave, is that they created Product Activation for Microsoft. That's why they report favourably on it! The penny only dropped with me afterwards, I knew that I knew their name previously from somewhere, so there's no research involved in their site, it's just work previously done!

Microsoft contract out much of what they do. Even Windows 98SE consists largely of files created by outside suppliers which Microsoft assemble into the OS using linking components that they create. Even many of those DLLs are created out of house.

  woodchip 19:54 20 Jan 2003

Also what I have found depending on the software is, that if you hit enter instead of pressing the on screen button it does not like it I have had that with Win98 and other

  flecc 20:31 20 Jan 2003

Thanks Woodchip, but I do use the onscreen button. As said, the correct number was very different from the one on the label, obviously a supplier problem, and according to various mentions of this in the nmagazines, it's a common issue. The suppliers are just randomly applying the stickers instead of ascertaining that it's the correct one each time.

Since it's not relevant on a Prelocked Activation Machine where the number will never be asked for, they don't feel the need to care. It's when an installation CD is used that their error is exposed by the clash between the number they give on the label and the number that's recorded in the BIOS.

The reason for this posting is to enable others to get their correct number in case they might ever need it. It's not a problem for me.

  woodchip 22:45 20 Jan 2003

Yes I understand that and it's good point, but it depends on though’s using XP to copy this post of your’s and save for reference. They tend to shout for help when things go wrong instead of taking note of things like this

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