Instructables
Picture of Recover XP CD KEY
product key.jpg
Dont you hate when you have to reformat your hard drive or when it breaks? Well you probably think to yourself "I'll just reinstall" and realize !@#$ i lost the sticker with my cd key, or the kids tore it off, or the sticker on the top of your desktop rubbed off from over use and overflow of cds. fear not I HAVE YOUR SOLUTION.
 
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Step 1: Tools

Picture of Tools
You will need your Windows XP CD, your computer (now if you are thinking, my computer wont work without finding out the cd key, your wrong you can install the 30 day trial) and to calm down lol.

Step 2: First step

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Insert the XP disk in your pc or someone else's i don't care. Right click and press explore.

Step 3: Step Two

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Click on the folder that says i386, and find the file named UNATTEND.txt, copy it to your desktop (click and drag). open the file and press ctrl+f and type "ProductKey" and there it will be in ""

Step 4: Microsoft problems

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if you are changing hard drives you may want to call microsoft to get a new key but if the one you found on your disk works then dont bother, Hope you enjoyed my first instructable.
Bi111 year ago
Me! Nice? Surely sirs, you jest... Rather late but curious: I only recently discovered the site and as I was having computer troubles, timely enough. Many thanks, but to what end is the information?? I have several CDs of XP, some "Home", some "Pro". Some legal, some questionable. Some "cold start", some "restore". Since my Toshiba (A-75) went south, I have been trying to get my AutoCAD back up running.

I followed (sort of) the instructions for this article. What I found was curious, at best. Using a "hex" editor and examining the file "unattend.txt", I found the key ID number toward the end of the file. The details of why I checked several disks are unimportant, needless to say I did so. From widely desparate sources, the "Key" was the same on each disk. Having double-checked to be sure, I thought to ask you what the significance of this number is. Or to rephrase, would any sticker number work with any disk? Possibly useful there; I may have several stickers up for grabs in the not too distant future. For obvious reasons, I can't ask uSoft staff. They decline to even discuss XP any more, as does Toshiba.

In my case, AutoCAD will not operate on the newer versions of Windows, hence my efforts with the recovery of these machines. I first bought a new Toshiba toward this end. When the CAD wouldn't initialize, I sought assistance. In both uSoft's and Toshiba's eyes, the multi-thousand dollar program is "so what, tough s#!t, get over it"... I'm not very pleased with either vendor.

The net result was swapping the new Toshiba, with Windows 8, for an older machine as a parts source. Far cheaper than paying the price for a replacement LCD screen. I am familiar with the known problems of the older Toshibas, both their design flaws and thermal problems with high horsepower CPUs in a laptop. Having made repairs to the screen several times, the most recent was the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back." OK, wire not straw, but the comment fits. And the thermal issues now take me about an hour, once a year, or so.

The bottom line here is that if it won't run AutoCAD, it's about as useful to me as a dead cat. But, I do thank you for reading this far in the ramblings of an old man. If you would follow up and find a resolution, I would be interested, if only to scratch an itch.
Bi11
The Artificer

abadfart5 years ago
will this let me install XP on a new machine?
ProjectZro (author)  abadfart5 years ago
sorry for the slow response time. No this only works with OEM machines. in other words machine specified disks like toshiba or E-Machines. this is only in case that the sticker on your tower or laptop gets scraped off and it asks for the product serial number.

if it is a legit copy you are trying to install then call microsoft and tell them that the serial number isnt working and the store refuses to refund your money *cough* *wink, wink*
lol thanks some of my media programs have been crashing vista
benjgvps5 years ago
I used Magic Jelly Bean Key Finder to get the MS Office 2007 key from my brother's laptop. My mother took the disk from the huge case and threw the case out forgetting to write the key down. Saved our asses big time!
whatsisface5 years ago
I use Magic Jelly Bean.
WolfDog5 years ago
Also works if you look in c drive and the i386 folder, and follow the rest of the instructions. I used it to find mine as the sticker has worn of the bottom of my laptop.