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XP Home OEM on Gateway wants activation.

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I needed to 'nuke and pave' a Gateway PC with XP Home*. There were no recovery discs and no recovery partition on the drive. So I used the magical jellybean keyfinder to get the OEM key (because I know the key on the COA would require activation), then formatted the drive.

I got a factory-fresh SP2 Home OEM CD and slipstreamed SP3's RTM build. Install went fine and it accepted the original OEM key.

But it's saying I have 30 days to activate. WTF? I've never seen that happen with an OEM version of XP Gold, SP1 or SP2 and a valid OEM key used on OEM hardware from the same company. Does SP3 try to make all versions of XP phone home?

*It came with Home on it so I figured the easiest thing to do would be to put Home back on it to match the COA label on the box.

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If you didn't use a Gateway OEM XP Home installation disk, you will get the activation prompts. Besides the product key, you also needed to retrieve the OEMBIOS.BIN, OEMBIOS.CAT, OEMBIOS.DAT, and OEMBIOS.SIG files from the original installation. These files cross-reference with the BIOS on the computer for preactivation. Without these manufacturer-specific files, your installation is not preactivated.

The Unattended guide explains this a little bit:


You may be able to recreate the correct files by following these instructions:


Worst-case scenario, you can keep the current installation on the computer, but use the Magical Jellybean Keyfinder to change the product key to the same one that's on the COA on the computer, then call in to Microsoft to activate it.

Edited by jrf2027, 26 April 2008 - 10:24 PM.

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