E-66

Reformat a HDD and maintain product activation of a PC with a VLK?

28 posts in this topic

A local school upgraded their computers and sold off their old ones (Pentium 4, XP Pro, 40 GB HDD), and I bought one to give to my parents. The HDD is formatted as one large partition. My thought was to reformat & partition it the way I like to have a HDD set up, and then reinstall XP and use the product key it's currently using. I talked to someone at Microsoft and gave them the current product key and they said this wouldn't be possible. I don't completely understand how all the VLK stuff works, but I guess because I don't have the original VL media or something? I guess it won't work if I reinstall XP from my own CD and then use the current VL product key. I'm not trying to do anything illegal - the PC would still have all the same hardware... I just don't like the way the HDD is set up.

I don't know why I didn't think about this until after I was done talking to the rep from MS, but instead of reinstalling XP, what if I made a Norton Ghost image of the current install, and then reformatted and partitioned the HDD the way I want to and then restored the image to the 'new' C: partition? Would that work? I've used the DOS-mode Ghost 2003 for over 10 years and it's always worked perfectly for me, but I've never tried to use it in the way I just explained. Thoughts?

If the Ghost option won't work, what about one of the various 'partition manager' programs that are available?

Thanks for whatever help you can provide.

Edited by E-66
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I think Ghost would work.

GL

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If the MS guy did not tell, I won't tell either, but ... The VLK is probably used on top of an OEM license. The OEM license is tied to the PC and the VLK license is tied to the school. You can't "use" as in "reuse" the VLK license as you're not from the school. You're on the thin line here. Either you Ghost the partition to a smaller one or you could try to find out if the PC had an OEM preactivated install before it was reinstall by the school. What brand is it ? Does it have a sticker ?

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Ponch, you kind of lost me with the VLK license on top of the OEM one. If they have 50 computers with OEM license(s), what is the purpose of the VLK on top of it/them? I don't understand the 'doubling up' of the licenses. Is it because the PCs would be being used in a professional context? (as opposed to a home user, I mean). Why not just have/use a VLK from the get-go?

To your other point, how would I find out if the PC had an OEM preactivated install before it was reinstalled by the school?

The PC is a Compaq Evo D510 CMT. I don't know what kind of BIOS it has. It doesn't say during boot nor when you're in the BIOS itself, and the options in the BIOS are pretty minimal compared to others I've seen. It does say this on the screen during boot:

Initializing Intel Boot Agent v4.1.08

PXE 2.1 Build 083 (WfW 2.0), RPL v2.74

Wikipedia just told me what 'PXE' is. I guess that's because the PC was a part of the school system's network, and I guess I can either shut that off or go into the BIOS and change the boot order. All of this is irrelevant to the reason for starting this topic, however.

I've done some Googling on restoring a Ghost image to a partition smaller than the one it was made from, and it 'might' work. That being said, I'm a little uneasy to try it because I don't want to end up with a boat anchor. I found a discussion on a Norton forum about using the Terabyte Unlimited BootIt partition manager program to resize the current partitions and avoid using ghost entirely (other than making a backup image after the partition resizing is done). It's mentioned in message 15 in this thread:

http://community.nor.../highlight/true

Any thoughts on trying to accomplish what I want by doing things that way instead of making a Ghost image of the current install?

Edited by E-66
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I have never heard of a school using anything but OEM computers as they usually purchased them in quantities at a special price. I seriously doubt you mean Volume License. The good guy/gal at MS probably understood that you gave him/her an OEM-type Product Key and indicated that it would not work with a Retail CD. Ponch has sufficiently described the "ties" of the two types of Keys you seem to be describing. And there should be (if I'm correct) a COA Sticker somewhere on -OR- inside (they sometimes "hid" them) the box.

In addition, IF I'm correct, there will be at least one Hidden Partition, maybe even two -OR- three. Get Gparted or a LiveLinux and boot to it to see the "hidden" ones (if any).

There ARE methods to creating an OEM-style CD but we can't really provide that here. You can find it on the WWW if you need to.

These may help understanding and provide some hints -

edit - Hmmm - you posted before I did. I will "assume" XP Pro OEM is on it -

http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/hp-compaq-evo-d510/4507-3118_7-20719364.html

http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/11349_na/11349_na.HTML

edit2 - may be no hidden partitions -

http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Desktop-Operating-Systems-e-g-Windows-8-Software-Recovery/Full-Recovery-of-Compaq-Evo-D510-CMT/td-p/2532177

Edited by submix8c
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I have never heard of a school using anything but OEM computers as they usually purchased them in quantities at a special price. I seriously doubt you mean Volume License. The good guy/gal at MS probably understood that you gave him/her an OEM-type Product Key and indicated that it would not work with a Retail CD.

I'm sure that schools, or school districts, do indeed purchase their computers in quantities at a special price, but my wife and I have each been involved, separately, with schools who did indeed use VLK licenses for their computers. It has been a few years, and it might not be common practice, either now or ever, but I have seen it done.

Cheers and Regards

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May be, but I find it "odd" that the school would sell a PC with a VLK and not "wipe" the HDD (SOP) whereas an OEM Install (plus COA) makes it irrelevant (maybe) depending on what it was used for (private school info e.g. used in the Office vs used in the classroom).

To answer the Ghost question specifically, YES you can do that but for a SPECIFIC partition "split", you'll need to

1 - Ghost Backup

2 - delete the larger

3 - define the smaller

4 - Ghost Restore

I would recommend using the Ghost Option "Image Boot" and a Full HDD Backup. You can restore just the single Partition from it.

After the Restore, you can proceed to create other Partitions within the Windows.

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May be, but I find it "odd" that the school would sell a PC with a VLK and not "wipe" the HDD (SOP) [...]

I agree with this point completely. In fact, here locally, there was a huge flack raised a couple of years ago when a school systems sold some hard drives that they were no longer using that unfortunately still contained student personal info, SS numbers etc. The drives had been "erased" before being sold but you know how little good that really does. As a result of that, SOP here is now to never sell HD's, but rather destroy them, and any old computers that are sold have their HD's removed. Yes it seems a waste when the drives could have just been securely wiped and then sold, but after being burned once...

Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt
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There isn't any private data on these PCs. I don't know what method they used, but they've been restored/re-imaged to 'almost' their initial condition. When looking through Explorer I saw some folders that wouldn't be there on a pristine install (like stuff for specific printer models and a few other things), but I deleted all that stuff.

Oh, and no hidden partitions, either.

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As to being "VLK" or not, that's easy: just right click on "My Computer" and select "Properties". You'll see a window like the pic attached. The "xxxxx-yyy-zzzzzzz-zzzzz" in it represents a number, known as MS Product ID (do not post your machine's full MS PID), of which the "yyy" part is the Channel ID. Now, any Channel ID begining with 6 (usually from 640 to 652) should mean "VLK". Just give it a look and you'll know for sure.

post-134642-0-82502900-1367704403_thumb.

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That was easy. It's 640 = VLK.

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That was easy. It's 640 = VLK.

Sure. That settles it. And, BTW, submix8c is right, Ghost can do it right. But, just to stay on the safe side, before proceeding, do use something like Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder v1.5, or your favorite key retriever software, to retrieve and save the product key, just in case.

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Then the school shouldn't have let all those computer go without formating (at least) the hard drives as the VLK license is tied to the school and giving the computer with the vlk license is ususally forbidden in those public corporations.

If the computer comes with an OEM XP Sticker, you should be able to easily reinstall after finding an HP XP media CD/ iso (or after creating it from other XP media).

But to answer the question, the fastest way to resize/move/change partition scheme would be booting to a Gparted live CD and modify the partitions scheme with it. My favorite Live CD with Gparted is systemrescueCD but you could use almost any live CD with gparted.

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But, just to stay on the safe side, before proceeding, retrieve and save the product key, just in case.

Yes, I did that last week before I called Microsoft to ask them about doing what I wanted to do. The rep told me it wouldn't work. So I have the product key, but in your 'just in case' scenario, what is having it going to do for me?

Then the school shouldn't have let all those computer go without formatting (at least) the hard drives as the VLK license is tied to the school and giving the computer with the vlk license is usually forbidden in those public corporations.

The school's name shows when I right click on My Computer and do a Properties. I don't know what to say about it. I can't say I'm surprised by it though, the way people do things these days.

If the computer comes with an OEM XP Sticker...

I don't know what to think now. I went and checked the case and it has a Windows 2000 Pro sticker on it.

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But, just to stay on the safe side, before proceeding, retrieve and save the product key, just in case.

Yes, I did that last week before I called Microsoft to ask them about doing what I wanted to do. The rep told me it wouldn't work. So I have the product key, but in your 'just in case' scenario, what is having it going to do for me?

I'm sorry! I should have read your 1st post more carefully. :blushing:

As it is, the answer to your question is: nothing much.

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