Dumb XP question

I’m getting ready to sell a laptop, but before I do, I am going to reformat the hard drive and put XP Pro back on it, which is what was originally installed. (I had upgraded it to Win7.)

The Genuine Windows XP sticker on the bottom of the computer has what appears to be a product ID, so can’t I just grab a copy of XP Pro from digitalriver or something and enter that ID? (I think I nuked the recovery partition when I upgraded the OS.)


If it is in this format, yes: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

Note that Windows XP Pro probably won’t have any of the drivers your laptop requires, so you’ll have to go to your laptop manufacturer’s website and download and install them separately.

Just a guess, but if it’s in this format …

… then yes, you should be okay to go. Try to match the product you buy with the one listed on that sticker if at all possible Jerry.

EDIT: Beaten by LoK. Khaaaaaaaan!

Thanks, guys.


I have a legit key, rei. :) It’s the media I needed. But I have that too, now.

That actually leads me to another question: The laptop I’m getting ready to sell has one of our volume licensed installations of Windows 7 Enterprise, which is why I want to format that drive so that I can use Win7 Enterprise on the laptop I’m buying to replace it.

But there doesn’t appear to be a way to “deactivate” Windows 7 to free up that install. Do you anticipate any problems activating Win7 on the new machine? I wonder if I’m going to have to convince some nice person named Chad in India that yes, I really DID uninstall Windows 7 on the old laptop.

with typical home use licenses, it’s all automated. it won’t even be the 2nd time you activate but quite a bit after. depending on if you use MAK or KMS activation methods, i’m not sure how it works since i haven’t yet exceeded our site’s win7 activations.

It depends, if it’s a true volume MAK key, then your admins can use the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) to manage those. You can help them locate your PC with your computer name, OS version installed and any other details you know.

If it’s a KMS key, no worries, it will time out after a certain period and since the KMS server no longer sees it, it removes that client license count.

Either way, I would give your admin a call to let them know you’re removing a license so they can follow up with that whenever your next true-up is with Microsoft.

Activating your copy of Windows 7 on new hardware may trigger the activation guard. If that happens, you call the 1-800 number and recite back your long string of numbers, and the person on the other end of the phone recites back theres.

The convincing is just answering the question “Is this copy of Windows installed on any other computer?”

I’m the admin. :) Gotta wear a lot of hats around here.

The MAK stuff is really weird to me. We got five licenses for Win 7 donated to us through Tech Soup, but the MS licensing site shows that we actually have 50 activations available on that one key. Seems ripe for abuse, if I were so inclined. I guess they could come after us if they started seeing that product key being used all over the world (and more than 50 times, obviously).

You should be fine then Jerry. That 50 key limit sounds like you have a MAK key, so what happens is that you use that to install onto your machines at work. They then use up an activation on that license count. Unfortunately there is no way to really remove a MAK use (imagine that) unless you call in with detailed information to Microsoft. In that case, you can more easily do it if you just keep track of what hosts SHOULD be licensed and using that to report to Microsoft when needed. The VAMT will help with building that list of computers (called a CIL.)

You can verify what kind of key you have by running this at a command prompt (and waiting a few seconds):
slmgr.vbs /dli
or for more extended info:
slmgr.vbs /dlv

On that latter command, if you aren’t using VAMT or similar, then the information displayed after that command is what you need to note for your records.

Final note: I have never had to call in to the Microsoft Activation Center to add back licenses that were released. In general, I’ve only had to add MAK keys to our count. Maybe someone here has done a true-up on a MAK and can explain what Microsoft will ask you.

This is one reason why if most of your users are on the network frequently (within a six month time period) then KMS keys are much simpler. They automatically renew within that 180 day cycle and if missed … the key is revoked to that machine.