I wanted to confirm that this was always possible so tried doing that on another pc I picked up used (an old Dell gx260 with a wiped and failing hard drive & no recovery disks). It didn't work - said "incorrect key". I wasn't sure of what all I did the first time so I went and called the Microsoft Windows Activation and went through the steps they outlined and it activated. I think I just activated that copy of Windows XP to be used on that computer - I didn't really want to do that (I ordered the recovery media for the pc from Dell and was going to use that.)
the questions I have:
did I just render that copy of Windows XP I used useless to be used on any other computer?
Once I use the Dell recovery disks to reinstall WinXP on it will it de-activate that copy of WinXP I used - activating the Dell version to be used with the pc instead?
is what I was attempting to do in the first place possible (using the computer's OEM product key instead of the key on a WinXP install disk) - I'm pretty certain that worked the first time?
I come across computers without the recovery media often - it seems that most people don't consider them important enough to save (arghhh!! - my pet peeve). A lot of pc's have recovery partitions that can be used - I come across many people knowledgeable in computers who don't seem to know that (and end up wiping them off the hard drive). I do know there's a difference between OEM versions of Windows and the Microsoft Windows installation disks - although I can't say that I understand all of that completely since I've seen WinXP install disks labeled OEM that looked the same as ones that aren't - that's a sort of a separate issue though.
anyway - I apologize for the verboseness of my post, but wanted to provide enough info. - thanks
Edited by erfahren, 04 February 2011 - 07:16 PM.