This article is intended for IT Professionals and systems administrators with legitimate corporate licenses for Windows XP Professional. It is not intended for home users, hackers, or computer thieves attempting to crack the product ID on a pirated version of the Operating System. Please do not attempt any of these procedures if you are unfamiliar with modifying the Windows XP registry, and please use this information responsibly. LabMice.net is not responsible for the use or misuse of this material, including loss of data, damage to hardware, or personal injury. INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND FREEDOM FROM INFRINGEMENT. The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document.
Checking the Product ID
During the installation of Windows XP Professional, you are prompted to enter a 25 digit Windows XP Product Key, which Windows XP promptly converts it into the system's product ID. Because of security concerns about piracy, Microsoft does not provide a tool that allows you to view the Product Key (or CD Key) that was used to install the operating system. However, Windows XP Service Pack 1 ships with a list of the two product IDs that are created by the pirated product volume license product keys. (The Product ID can be found by right clicking My Computer and choosing Properties) To determine eligibility for the update, Service Pack 1 compares the Windows XP product ID on the system to this list. The comparison and the list reside locally on the users PC and no information is sent to Microsoft as part of this process. Service Pack 1 for Windows XP will fail to install on installations of Windows with one of the following product IDs: XXXXX-640-0000356-23XXX and XXXXX-640-2001765-23XXX
The following message will be displayed if installation fails for this reason:
Service Pack 1 Setup Error The product key used to install Windows is invalid. Please contact your system administrator or retailer immediately to obtain a valid product key. You may also contact Microsoft Corporations Anti-Piracy Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you have purchased pirated Microsoft software. Please be assured that any personal information you send to the Microsoft Anti-Piracy team will be kept in strict confidence.
How to change your Product ID in Windows XP
If the product ID matches the invalid keys above, you may need to change the key (re-enter a valid key) in order to install Windows XP service pack 1, and to make sure your environment is legal. You could completely re-install Windows XP Professional or you can try the method below. (Please backup your system before attempting this.) This workaround is only for the corporate editions of Windows XP Professional using a compromised or illegitimate key. Windows XP Home Edition and retail versions of XP Professional are not affected by Service Pack 1. Although this procedure may work with other versions of XP, we have only tested it on the corporate edition (volume license version) of Windows XP Professional.
>>>>>> WARNING <<<<<<
This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs.
Backup your Registry/System State
Backup your system state by clicking Start > Run > and typing ntbackup
> Click the Advanced Mode button in the Backup Utility Wizard. >Click
the Backup tab, then in Click to select the check box for any drive, folder,
or file that you want to back up, select the System State.
As an alternative, you can backup just the Registry by clicking Start > Run > and type in Regedit From within the Regedit screen, right click My Computer, choose Export, name the file whatever you choose, and click Save
To change the product ID
Click Start > Run > and type in Regedit
Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\wpaevents
Remove the 'ca' part from the value. (Changing or deleting any of the binary values will accomplish the same effect)
Click OK and close regedit
Click Start > Run and type in: "%systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a"
Choose the 2nd option (phone activation)
Click Change Product Key (at the bottom)
Enter your valid Corporate Product Key
Press Update and close the window
Restart your computer
Verify the change
After the workstation restarts, click Start > Run
Type in: "%systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a"
Make sure the dialog box says 'your copy of windows is already activated'
If you performed the above steps incorrectly, or used an invalid key, your system may not be able to boot. Use the F8 key to boot to the last known good configuration and retry with a valid key
wet_paper_bag over at #winbeta has produced a utility which automates the process of modifying your registry for you. All you have to do is enter the CD-Key. We've tested this on our systems and it works fine, but we can't verify its stability or suitability for production environments, so use it at your own risk. That said, you can download it here: http://msbetas.net/files/xp_cd_key_changer.zip
We are hoping that Microsoft provides a tool for checking machine product ID's on an Enterprise level (either via SMS or another reporting tool) prior to the release of Windows XP SP1. Perhaps they'll see their way to making a tool that can verify and change the Product Keys remotely as well. For now, Microsoft has contacted the corporate customers whose keys have leaked onto the web, but has debunked stories that it is changing volume license keys, or the algorithm used to create them.