Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Installing Windows XP using one manufacturer's CD on a different manufacturer's PC might sometimes work but it's not guaranteed at all.

Can I install Windows XP using one manufacturer's CD on a different pc?

For example, can you install onto a Gateway PC using a Dell Windows XP distribution?

The best answer I can give is: probably not.

There are situations it will work; typically using CDs from the smaller OEMs who've not customized their Windows XP distribution disks. However the larger manufacturers like Dell and Gateway often include drivers and utilities specific to their hardware.

It might work, but I wouldn't count on it.

Article C2091 - June 30, 2004 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

December 20, 2004 7:04 PM

It does work as I have done that. I bought a Dell which came with a CD for XP. Dell PC is now scattered amongst my other computers as I pulled it apart and used parts on various computers. I used the CD on one of the computers and worked fine.

Only hesitation I had was with the activation and the confusion about the legallity of it. I had bought a PC and came with a XP CD. Now it's no longer in existance and I had paid for the software as no one can buy a Dell without an operating system and it didn't say that it was OEM so it should be perfectly legal. If we look at Dell site now it still doesn't say the operating system is OEM.

May 19, 2005 2:54 PM

mine is the reverse. an unused xp home edition on to a dell.. window says it is already activatedbut every day it says the same thing as it continues to count down the days

January 4, 2006 2:44 AM

Someone gave me an IBM Netvista with a bunk version of XP Pro. I have XP Home Edition install CD from Dell with a valid product key. So far when I insert the CD it accepts the product key, but I haven't gone through with the installation. Will this work on this IBM?

January 20, 2006 9:46 AM

I have a recovery cd from Toshiba that has XP home on it, I don't have the laptop anymore and wanted to see if I could use the recovery cd to install XP on a Dell without an OS. Can that be done? Thanks

January 20, 2006 10:00 AM

I don't know if anyone reads this still since this post is REALLY old but I can provide some relatively accurate information on this process. While it "may be" possible to install software that came with a computer (OEM) onto another computer (either from the same manufacture or a different one), you may run into some small conflicts with OS configuration and driver stuff and more importantly (OK, that depends on your personal perspective...) you would be in violation of the EULA (or the legally binding, and sometimes controversial agreement you make when you use a Microsoft, and almost any other non-freeware product). OEM software is only authorized to be installed on the computer system it is distributed with. While there are some weird exceptions, (like faulty motherboard replacement blah, blah, blah...)in general you are only allowed to (re)install OEM software on the computer it was sold to you on. Like I said, I this may not "stop" you, and the activation process may not either, but as far as "rules" go, there you have it. Hope it helps!

January 20, 2006 10:09 AM

Thank for you the quick response. The laptop I have is going to the junk yard. So I am going to wipe everything clean. Since I bought the XP software when I bought the laptop I wanted to see if I could put the OS on a another machine that doesn't have an OS since the OS on the laptop will be deleted. It sounds like that is possible to do. Is that something that is hard to do? Thanks

February 5, 2006 10:00 PM

Well, I've not been able to install OEM software on a Dell Dimension 1000. It gets down to about 20 minutes and hits me with a stop screen...and won't correctly copy all the files off of the disk.

Some OEM will do fine, but not usually on a Dell...

February 8, 2006 10:21 AM

Alright, another question:

If I own a copy of windows 2000, how many computers THAT I OWN could I legally install it on? Is it 1 copy of windows per computer or is it OK to install your copy on, say, 3 computers?

As for the OEM windows, often manufacturers will configure their windows to recognize certain tags in the motherboard bios. When windows is ready to install, it checks for the tags, and if it doesn't find them, refuses to copy to the HD.

So if its the same motherboard with a different CPU/GPU/RAM/HD it shouldn't matter, but otherwise its iffy.

February 8, 2006 11:18 AM

You need to check the licensing agreement that comes with, or is displayed on install, for Win2k. I *believe* it's one computer per copy, but I could be wrong.

chris stone
March 25, 2006 5:24 AM

i have 2 diffrent models of emachine computers one has a manufacturers CD. could i use that cd on the other computer to fix missing system files?

April 2, 2006 1:31 PM

I live in Luxembourg and I purchased a Laptop Samsung in Germany (they are MUCH cheaper there....) with a German version of XP Home installed (and I do NOT speak German!). I already had a PC at home and I had bought a XP Professional English version 2 years ago, separated from the PC itself (it's a OEM version) the point: I would like to install the same software on my laptop (I also bought Office OEM) but I do not know if I am legally allowed to do it since I have to register online after the installation. Does anybody know if I can do this? what happens if I install XP Pro anyway and then I connect to internet for registration?

April 5, 2006 12:38 AM

2 trick: First of all, MS Windows XP Pro licence provides option to change from one language to another, depending on language. Each language vesrion is worth some amount of points. You can change from one to another only if version that you want to change to has equal or less point's worth comparing to version you bought. To find to witch language you can change, call your local MS support. If you find any that suits your needs, you'll have to buy cd-kit from your local software suplyer (typicaly worth ~20$) whith new version. And conserning OEM MS licencing polytics is strict - OEM is sold with computer. You can change some parts of it during time - upgrade or replase damaged, but you can't change computer. If you trow out old computer, you must trow out all OEM software with it. Teoreticly, you can change all parts of PC as upgrade lets say in half a year, but it's kinda slippery - will it or will it not be considered breaching OEM licence agreement depends on interpretation of local authority - you can get away with it, or you can suffer full consequenses.

July 28, 2006 10:58 AM

I've installed two Dell OEM CDs on two different home built computers and have had absolutely no difficulties in licensing, Windows updates, drivers or anything else.

Course, they were built from scratch with completely blank harddrives, so your mileage may vary. But there's nothing that says it cannot be done.

August 9, 2006 4:03 AM

Ok, I have access to a bunch of dell's with unused XP home oem serial numbers (cos they all use 2000 on a site licence); will these serials (which have Dell on the windows sticker) allow activation on my home-built machine?

Leo A. Notenboom
August 9, 2006 9:46 AM

Maybe. I know I do save all my CD keys because when the OS is no longer used it's at least legal for the non-OEM version to "move" it and install on another machine. Now as to the OEM version you'll need to check the eula for the legalities. Then it comes down to hardware compatibility, which is addressed in the article you just commented on.

August 29, 2006 5:36 PM

Im in the process of building a new desktop, I have an existing laptop with came with OEM XP-Home, now I was able to get a legal version of XP-Pro from university with a valid key. I obviously installed pro onto the laptop. My question is can i install the dell laptop back to the OEM XP-Home and use the XP-Pro for my new PC?

November 9, 2006 12:41 PM

Usually Microsoft allows you to use these programs (my experience with installing office) on a home computer and one portable computer as well. (please read the licensing requirements on that came with your disk).

January 9, 2007 7:59 AM

My friends computer had tons of viruses, abut alas she couldn't find her xp cd for reformatting. I reformatted for her and used the license number that was on the side of the computer. I than had to call in to confirm the number. The person asked me if it was installed on one machine. Was she asking me about the media that I used? I only used the one license that was on the side of the machine. Did I do this legally? Or can you not install using a different cd?

January 25, 2007 7:36 AM

Yes, I have friends that have installed the same XP on numerous machines, didn't have a problem with anything. I have XP Home OEM and have it on 3 machines in 3 different cities all online, with no problems. Only thing is if you want the newest IE you have to revalidate you XP license. No loss really as Firefox is better anyway. I heard from someone that M$ only keeps records for 90 days for product activation. I don't know how accurate that is but I never had a problem but it was always more than 90 days between the installs.

Mike G
April 3, 2007 12:59 PM

Yes there is no reason at all that you cant use another companies distro to reinstall on your machine.Ive done it numrous times with different distros from different companies. I was hesitant at first, the first time my drive crashed because of HP's so called recovery partition getting corrupted. I had loads of personal documents, mp3's and other stuff i wasnt about to just let go and have to pay another 200 bucks for a licensed xp cd since mine came OEM. The Gateway distros come with seprate disks of recovery and drivers. I just ahd to do a little digging and find my own drivers for this machine after i pulled what i wanted off of it and DBAN'd the drive and reinstalled everything fresh. The only thing you might have some trouble with is if you use your COA number during activation one too many times. Just call up Microsoft Tech support, read them the 30 or so numbers your computer spits out, and let them know your were reinstalling on the same machine, and you upgraded some components, preferably the motherboard. Regular upgrades like drives or mem sticks usually dont trip the activation feature but a motherboard certainly will. Just be prepared to do some digging for drivers for your machine. Maybe after reinstallaton, it would be a great idea to make yourseld a rescue cd. Ultimate CD for Windows and some various Linux LiveCD's make great recovery cd's, easily making that Windows recovery cd worth about as much as coaster me if you have any questions..

[email address removed]

Petty Problems
May 5, 2007 12:50 AM

You really have petty problems, people.

I happen to have bought a Laptop with a genuine Windows XP Professional License. The Key, or any of the valid one I own, does not work on any of the cracked (i.e. not requiring activation) Version of WinXP, even the most recent.

So I have come to suspect that there must be a difference between OEM-Installation CDs (Recovery-CDs,Rescue-CDs, all those) that contain WinXP in a congested form and all the others. Your claim that all conventional WinXP CDs are alike might be true, but this goes not for OEM-Systems.

So there must be a difference in the algorithm that checks the key for every System-Builder-Company. If MS would be really determined to keep me from running a legal key on a different WinXP-CD, they might have hidden several checking functions in the binaries of the Installation Program, and only their order of running through the key might be changed without changing file sizes at all. This would allow for identification of a key contingent of the OEM-Seller.

Any help?

May 28, 2007 7:13 PM

If I have Windows Xp Pro with SP2 2002 on a computer that was built by a friend and have a CD Key can I use the Windows Xp Pro SP2 2002 CD that says distributed with new pc's on my other computer I am building it is still wrapped and never has been used it is a official Microsoft Windows Xp Pro SP2 2002 cd

The Gamecat
June 7, 2007 5:59 PM

For those of you having problems with this, I'd advise using a free program called nLite which will let you unpack the contents of a Windows install disk, modify its contents by (among other things) changing the drivers--which is what makes a particular manufacturer's Windows CD "special"--and then burn a new install disk with your custom drivers.

Typically this is used for created unattendend corporate install disks, etc, but it should work to modify a particular manufacturer & model OEM edition.

Note that some of these manufacturer's disks are not really Windows setup disks but rather are "restore" disks which contain a hard disk image of the system partition as it was upon delivery--this is an entirely different animal and is much harder to use with unintended hardware.

Google nLite if you want to try it.

June 25, 2007 4:57 AM

I have someone with tons of spyware and virussen.
Now he wants to do a clean install but he hasn't any CD from windows XP but has Windows XP preinstalled OEM version, can he borrow someone else CD of windows XP to do a clean install and use his own serial from the sticker he got?

Gene Kroll
September 21, 2007 10:06 PM

I accidently delete a User Name called "PC" on my friends computer in "Users Account". She is blind and I cannot get back to put it because it wants a password even though it did not require it before when I worked on her computer. I just wanted to list her name as the "Adminstrator". The "PC" must have been the "Adminstrator". She had Windows 2000 on it.

What I need to know is that I have a friend that went to school for 5 years for computing and does computing for a large company but has never use an OEM disk.

Long ago I installed XP Home on one of our computers and OEM XP Pro on the other computer. What I want to know is can I reuse either OEM XP disks to install on her computer. The disks did not come from any big company. The XP Home disk is a holographic disk. I cannot burn a copy of either disk but would I be able to install one of them again on a different computer? Your help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Gene Kroll

September 26, 2007 9:28 AM

I work for a computer repair center and I am trying to find the legal issues with us keeping copies of windows xp oem copies and reinstalling it on clients computers and using their product keys from the bottom of their laptop. Is this legal? Does anyone know where I can find a formal document that is from Microsoft?


November 8, 2007 1:03 PM

I'm a PC and Mac technician, and this is my understanding of how OEM installation and activation works.

From what I understand OEM installations of Windows pre-installed on the Big Manufacturers' machines (Dell, HP etc.) don't generally require activation after installation as they use a value stored in the OEM BIOS, unique to that manufacturer and only present on their machines.

When it is installed, Windows checks for this value - if it's present it knows the copy is licensed - otherwise it assumes that it is installed on an unlicensed machine and requires activation. Naturally, since PC Bioses are almost always shadowed in RAM nowadays, that means one could install a driver to trap this call to the BIOS and return the required value but that would be totally illegal and I would never condone anything like that...

This would be why, I am guessing, the product keys could be slightly different, but the installation files themselves should be the same (specific drivers for hardware may have been inserted, but XP uses generic drivers well enough for most items, and you can update them later - the irritating one is Wireless and LAN can sometimes not be recognised if built into the motherboard, without the chipset drivers, leaving you unable to connect to the net and find drivers yourself) - I have one XP Professional CD which is use to rebuild any machine I need to...

The license you buy is for the product key, AFAIAA, not the installation media itself.

In summary - use any CD you can lay your hands on to reinstall but only use *your* legitimate product key - never lend your key to someone else, or borrow someone else's - it won't work...

November 16, 2007 5:32 PM

I have a gateway pc that had windows 2000 on it and i installed a dell OEM XP PRO CD onto the pc and it worked fine. You can use a OEM disk on any computer but will have to change the COA once installed; It should be a sticker on the side of your computer. You can change the COA if you go to activate the computer over the phone it will have a button on the botton of the screen were you can change it.

November 21, 2007 2:43 AM

Hey, i have bought a copy windows xp and installed it but later decided to format the computer because it had abit of problems.Can i reinstall windows again using the same CD and CD key etc.?

Richard walsh
November 24, 2007 5:44 AM

Can I use any windows xp CD disc to reload windows xp if I have the key number of that computer on the bottom sticker? If the computer has xp home also, can I load up xp pro using the computer key numbers on that computer's sticker?

Leo A. Notenboom
November 24, 2007 8:33 AM

Hash: SHA1

John: Yes, you should be able to do exactly that.


Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


dennis webb
November 30, 2007 1:31 PM

I've worked on HP/Compaq in a corporate environment for about 10 years. through trial and error I have discovered that you can create images on newer PC's and then just plug that harddrive into an older HP/Compaq, and it will work great if the chipsets are similar. agood example would be the HP/Compaq EVO 510 PC shipped with Win XP pro. I often image a pile of hardrives using the restore disk. Then, since i have 200 site licenses for WIM XP pro, i will plug those imaged harddrives into some older PC's, a Deskpro EN 733, for example, and that hardrive with XP pro will find all the drivers , work great, and no activation of any kind is necessary. I make sure to never exceed the number of site licenses that I legally own.

December 9, 2007 3:58 AM

Hi,have just bought new computer with Vista-it sucks big time-my old pc was XP-I have the original cd and licence key number,can I download thatXP to this new pc- Kelly

Leo A. Notenboom
December 10, 2007 12:26 PM

Hash: SHA1

As I understand it, it's legal to try as long as that license key is used on
only one PC. In otherwords you'd have to remove XP from the old PC that was
installed using that same key.

The real issue is the one addressed by this article: if it's a "plain" XP,
should work ok. If it's an OEM edition, then it's harder to say.


Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


February 13, 2008 5:47 AM

It is absolutely legal to downgrade Windows Vista Business to Windows XP pro. I pesonaly have made this on my laptop which came with preinstalled Windows Vista Business using an OEM Windows XP SP2 installation CD for Dell desktop machine. Only when the Windows asks you to activate it you have to generate new code by entering again the product key of the OEM installation disk. With the new code you call Microsoft on the telephones listed and they will provide you with activation code.

March 14, 2008 2:31 PM

I have a Dell desktop (Dimension) and also a Dell laptop (Inspiron 1100). Can I use the Windows XP disc that came with the desktop to re-install the system in the laptop using the product key number from the laptop's sticker? Could I re-install the system in a Toshiba laptop? I read some comments about reinstalling different products, but the answers left me confused. Please answer me in plain english.

March 19, 2008 6:56 PM

Ok, My Sony Vaio is in pieces (37 actually) and I have a home made desktop with no OS. How do I take my recovery CD and install Windows? Sony wasnt kind enough to split the OS with the bundled crap. I do have the driver recovery CD. Am I to install the Sony drivers on my home made computer then try and install the the recover?

April 16, 2008 6:58 PM

In my experience, I used a windowsxp distribution disk from LG to install to my IBM/Lenovo notebook.

Karl T.N.

May 8, 2008 9:51 PM

If you use for example a dell reinstall for windows xp and you use it for a hp computer. It will work but will tell you that you have to activate windows within 30 days. Also a lil pop will appear in your task manager from time to time reminding you to do so.

May 27, 2008 5:19 PM

I bought a used computer a few years ago with a COA copy of XP Pro, which used to validate as a legit copy , but will not anymore (I suspect the seller was using his employer's COA licenses w/o their permission). Meanwhile, I bought an old Dell Dimension 4400 without a hard drive, and installed the hard drive from my other computer into it. When I called up Dell about something else, they mentioned they could send me a reinstall Cd for XP Home. So now I have a CD for XP Home, but Dell will only support a clean install, and I'm not sure I want to downgrade from XP pro to XP home. I definitely don't want to reinstall everything on my computer, since there are other programs I don't have disks from. So, two questions: is there any chance the XP Home disk can be used to validate the copy of XP Pro that's already one the hard drive? If nbot, is there a way to downgrade from the nonvalidatable XP pro to the valid XP Home without having to reinstall everything on my computer?

June 18, 2008 11:16 AM

I used a Windows Professional 2000 CD from DELL to reformat a new, blank hardrive on a separate computer that used to have Windows ME (this was a DELL computer) for NTFS (needed to use it for backup purposes). It formatted the harddrive correctly, but then it installed the OS and, although it was unintended, it works perfectly.

June 20, 2008 11:19 AM

my son has a dell xps but warranty expire, he has error message that say \windows\system32\config\system at start up
and use the set up disk for windows and press r to repair but he has a problem he dose not has the setup disk;He cannot get pass this screen can some one help him.!! Thank you.

June 20, 2008 11:21 AM

my son has a dell xps but warranty expire, he has error message that say \windows\system32\config\system at start up
and use the set up disk for windows and press r to repair
but he has a problem he dose not has the setup disk;He cannot get pass this screen can some one help him.!! Thank you.

August 12, 2008 2:20 PM

For the user who has got dell xps with error message at startup, is this the message,

"Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM "

it means the system registry hive is corrupted, you need to follow this article ""
this will only work if you have sucessfully started the computer at least once before, if you have reinstalled etc since the error came up, it wont work and you will need to use the dell recovery disk if you have got one

August 24, 2008 8:13 PM

I have a HP machine that I am trying to install the OEM disk I got from HP for WinXP. When I enter the key from the bottom of my pc it tells me that the key is invalid. Any ideas? I called HP and they told me that I needed to talk to Microsoft and Microsoft told me that it is an HP problem. Am I going to have to buy a new XP cd??

September 2, 2008 11:46 AM

Some different versions of the install disks will not accept every key during the install. If you can get through the install portion without having to enter a key you should be fine and should be able to use any windows xp key. If it is a volume license disk, they have special keys. The brand should not matter except for specific drivers you must download from the website.

October 4, 2008 5:04 PM

I've used a Dell OEM Windows XP disk to reformat and install the operating system on a couple of other brand computers,a Gateway and a Compaq,never had a problem .You do need to get your drivers from the computers manufactures website,and a valid product key is needed for activation.

October 16, 2008 6:38 PM

thnx for viewing your website its simple to understand and informative.

October 27, 2008 4:26 AM

I have used Keyfinder to read the product key on several computers that have been in my possession since new and not one of them corresponded to the COA stuck on my computers !! Which code should I use if performing a cleanre-install

November 12, 2008 7:20 AM

I bought an old Dell GX 270 POS PC on ebay. It has no OS. Can I install Windows XP, Home or Pro? If so do I have to buy the install CD from Dell??? Or can I use any Windows XP full install disk?
Any info will help!

January 11, 2009 2:06 PM

Has anyone tried to load Windows XP Home SP1a used for an HP or Compac PC onto a Gateway running Windows ME?

david schorfhaar
January 16, 2009 7:33 AM

if you have a cd burner and a program that burns iso' images like nero burning rom you can use a free program called nlite to make a copy of an install disk and strip away any unwanted junk on it like manufacture specific hardware and trial programs that clutter up your pc it will also make it so you can use it with any pc but you will have to find all the hardware drivers over the internet usually you can use your pc's service tag on the manufacturers web site to get them then burn them all to a cd to install after you install xp with nlite you can also install service pack three to your new install disk you make along with all other current updates so when you install xp you don't have to download all that stuff each time remember though you still need a product activation key to install xp

Judy Bierman
March 28, 2009 10:11 AM

Sorry but "reading" about computer stuff may as well be Greek to me. My Dell with Windows XP Home Edition, recently crashed completely. My son, who knows way more about computers couldn't even get it fixed. He did find a way to get me a 30 day trial which will expire in about 12 days at which point I won't have a computer again. He copied all my programs and stuff on a CD for when we can get this one fixed.
He said I need a new install disk but I don't know where to get one. And when I get a disk, will that also have the Operating System or is that something different altogether? I really need my computer to work!

You should have received an operating system install disk with your machine, or you need to ask Dell for one. That has the operating system on it.
- Leo

April 4, 2009 4:15 PM

Can I use my dad's start up disk on my computer? I lost my disk and we both have a Dell.

April 21, 2009 10:41 PM


the simple answer to using a dell oip system onany other brand is no not a chance in hell can only use on dell as for hp can only use on hp this applies to laptops for sure desktops if its a hp copy of windows and is not unbranded then no hp dell only as they did not pay half as much for the op system and its volume licenced

April 24, 2009 8:36 AM

Reinstalling Windows XP or Vista using OEM Windows Operating System Reinstallation Discs.

Recently, my Dell Dimension 4400 finally gave out. I couldnt even find my reinstall Disc. I ordered a new disc and reloaded my system.

How to reinstall windows xp or vista onto your dell.

The First Step! Save money! Use the disc that came with your Dell computer to reinstall windows. No need to call a computer Tech anymore. You have everything you need at your fingertips!

Pre: Make sure you download the Ethernet and / or Wireless Networking driver from and save it on a disk, flash drive, CD etc.

A: Look at the Windows Product Key sticker on your Dell PC. Write down the version of Windows.

B: Take your Dell Windows Reinstallation CD/DVD and insert it into the cd/dvdrom drive.

C: Press F12 during bootup. Choose boot from CD/DVDRom.

D: Follow onscreen instructions and reload windows.

If you dont have a Reinstallation CD/DVD, you can go to: or Dell for a replacement.

The Second Step: Follow windows Prompts and Reinstall Windows.

The Third Step: Reinstall the Network drivers then go to and download the rest of the drivers for your PC. Once all the drivers are downloaded. You can install them one by one.

Now your system should be Completely clean and new!

May 31, 2009 6:57 AM

I just installed Dell Windows Xp on my gateway computer, and the computer couldn't configure the graphics. everything was stuck on 4bits..something like that. and the windows were gigantic!

August 20, 2009 10:45 AM

This is a definitive Answer from Microsoft, for their OS, OEM Software. I'm a seasoned OS Installer, so my professional position is :I have to know, to protect my customers."

Rather than go into the fine print of this issue, there are just two things to keep in mind for using OEM OS installers . . .

1. Is it a legal copy from the Original Owner, with all its virgin, un-used license information? That is, it must be NOT installed anywhere the Owner states it cannot be, while you are using it.

2. Here is a clear guide to OEM software, and how Microsoft stands on the issue of using theirs . . .

It is the best thing for the novice OS Minds posting here to get to the core issues about what "OEM" stands for, and how various OEM software owners license their products, both soft and hard-ware.

September 5, 2009 1:46 AM

..but can I install my xpPro on my other laptop with corrupt xpHome OS, both being Toshiba laptops?

October 18, 2009 8:39 PM

Hi, I have the laptop dell inspiron e1505, my problem is I not to have the dc original for repair windows xp, my problem is not conection the internet, Iam use now other computer for copy de software for repair my computer, de problem is this computer have windows vista my computer have windows xp, I need repair my computer and not undertend

November 1, 2009 5:45 AM

i have changed modems from dell to hp. i lost my internet explorer on my dell pc(which i want to keep and use). how do i retrieve my internet explorer? i've tried restoring, all i get is the icon and this page can not be displayed. i have atnt(bell south) as my isp. i have run new disc that they sent, the original disc, when signed on with them as isp. nothing seems to work! i have masn on this hp modem and windowsme. i want my windowsxp and internet back on my dell pc modem. PLEASE HELP?

Charles Tilley
November 4, 2009 11:58 PM

NO, you can't do this, even if you did, the WGA notifaction would fail. I used a Dell original reinstallation disc, and everything went smoothly. It had to download SP3 when I updated, but it was no problem, and the WGA passed with no problem as well. Look, you can find these reinstallition discs on eBay all the time for $10 to $20 for various brands. These are perfectly legal to use, and they are cheap. The only catch is when you use these discs, Windows knows the serial of your motherboard, so if it's a Dell, get the right one. Also, you can't upgrade from XP to Vista or vise versa with the disc. There are some (even on Leo's forum) that knocks these disks around, saying there no substitute for a backup, but just today I reinstalled a fresh copy of Windows XP Pro SP3 in 2 hours without a hitch. Yes, you have to start from scratch, but it beats paying full retail and it's not a illegal download. I have 3 of these disks and I wouldn't take twice the price that I paid for them.

Tech Guy
January 4, 2010 10:28 AM

I am working for a company that is throwing away thier extra dell winxp pro and winvista business reistallation disks from rite out of the box. So im saving them. A few of the other techs im working with installed these copies on thier machines. They said after the install register it and it works. Given they are dells they did it on i have my suspicions as to whether it will work on other machines besides dell. Come to find out a few of them did install on machines they built and it worked. The trick is registering it i guess. And of course getting the rite drivers for the non dell pcs.

March 2, 2010 9:33 AM

You guys are [edited]. You can put any Del OEM onto any computer but you will just have to have a 25 COA that is not in Microsoft's data base as being used. You will get a Dell folder that you can delete. You can even activate with an HP 25 COA code. So this means you can take a Dell Oem CD of XP, put it on an HP and activate with a Sony. I have seen it done hundreds of times at a computer shop that I used to visit. You can do MS updates as well. Get real! Quit being scared of the MS cops.

April 12, 2010 8:33 AM

i have a compaq r4000 with all discs... i have brought a second hand time 7321 for a back up but there are no discs for it.. would i be able to use my xp disc from the compaq, i have found a drivers disc for the time machine, but dont want to have to spend out on another xp copy if mine will work...

anthony diodati
September 12, 2011 6:08 PM

i got this computer used, its a compaq EVO, The guy I got if off had re installed windows before he gave it to me.
I had to change the HD a few years later, and He gave me a re installation disk, but it is a dell disk.
XP installed with out a hitch, and all the drives installed themself, I did not have to look for a one (Driver)
Thing is, I have to activate XP, and it's telling me my
COA is not correct.
I never got a product key with this disk.
I explored the install disk and found some text folders with a bunch of product keys in them, but none worked.
Is there anything I can do or do I have to buy a new complete install.

October 21, 2011 5:58 AM

I have a dell reinstallation CD for windows XP and I was wondering if I can use that on my Toshiba that also runs XP. I was going to try it but I dont want to mess it up anymore than it already is...So if somebody could comment I would greatly appreciate it...

I'd recommend re-reading the article you just commented on. It answers your question.

Mark J
October 21, 2011 1:17 PM

Unless it's an actual Windows XP installation disk, it's unlikely that it would work. Often installation or recovery disks are a disk image designed for that computer that will be copied to the disk and usually isn't compatible with other computers.

November 26, 2011 3:16 PM

have successfully changed the registry for the proper references for scannow. Have used exact copies to C: I386 directory and done scannow, with each and every exact copy of I386 (eight total) on my machine, I always get errors not right CD.
I would so appreciate help, i have used each one of the I386's at a time, malware smeared my PC and I really need to know what to do. Got no CDs with the PC, was built by a local co. no CDs, and out of business now. Is legal copy.

February 16, 2012 9:47 AM

I need to reformat a Dell Dimension desktop, but I don't have the discs. Can I use a retail version of windows xp then use the original manufacturer serial key posted on the side of the computer?

Typically, no. OEM product keys typically only work on the OEM products that they came with. If you purchase a retail copy of Windows use the product key that came with it.
February 29, 2012 8:10 AM

Now call me silly, but if you can't use the OEM Windows version you bought/ paid for, there are is one question that comes to my mind:
so why can I then not order a machine WITH THE OS I WANT? Example: I want a Dell Latitude, or an ASUS Ultrabook, but only with Win XP Pro and not Win7. I bet you a 100 whatever-currency-you-are-on I will get a very polite "Sorry sir, but that is not possible"... So we all have to, not only pay for change of OS, but also spend loads to upgrade all your other software (eg Adobe, office programs...)?

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