Are you sure you got a genuine copy of Windows XP? You might be prohibited from installing Service Pack 2 see Technique 4. Reading this technique only takes a few minutes, and it could save your tail some day. Figure
Windows XP Service Pack 1 volume license product key encryption
Are you sure you got a genuine copy of Windows XP? You might be prohibited from installing Service Pack 2 see Technique 4. Reading this technique only takes a few minutes, and it could save your tail some day. Figure And you should never rip those tags off your mattresses, either. If you bought your PC with Windows XP preinstalled, you might not realize that you have a product key, but you do. When you install or reinstall Windows XP, one of the first steps in the installation process requires you to type that key see Figure Locating the Key Take a minute or two right now and make sure that you can find your product key: The chassis sticker with your product key.
If you bought a copy of Windows XP, the product key is on a yellow sticker affixed to the plastic jewel case or cardboard folder that contains the Windows XP CD. Has the chassis sticker succumbed to years of abrading by an amorous house pet? You can get the product key back.
Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder reconstructs product keys, based on information buried in the Windows Registry. Internet Explorer starts downloading a Zip file. When IE asks if you want to open or save the file, click Open. After the Zip file opens, double-click the keyfinder.
If IE gives you a security warning, click Run. Eventually, the Keyfinder program runs, producing the dialog box shown in Figure Write down your registration key and then choose FileOExit to leave the program.
By verifying your key, you can avoid getting caught in a time-consuming crunch at some indeterminate point in the future. In fact, the Softies have, at times, made life very difficult for people who use bootleg versions of Windows XP: Microsoft is caught between a rock and a hard spot on this topic: Pirate copies of Windows get infected just as easily as legitimate copies. Restricting access to security patches only helps increase the number of exposed systems, and thus contributes to the spread of malware.
Of course, companies are particularly at risk. The Business Software Alliance www. If you want to save yourself a major headache in the future, take a few seconds to check the key. Compare the product key from Keyfinder with the one on the chassis sticker. Start at www. If your sticker really is bad, you got ripped off — and you can help fight against future rip-offs by reporting the offending party.
Hunting this one down is well worth your time, because an extra copy of Windows XP is floating around! Chances are very good you just switched around a couple of CD cases, but I know at least one person who discovered he had a long-forgotten legitimate, licensed copy of Windows XP sitting on his desk. If you have any reason to believe that you were ripped off and bought a pirate copy of Windows XP, contact Microsoft immediately: Microsoft takes this stuff seriously, because it loses billions of dollars a year to pirates.
People who sell you a bogus copy of Windows rip off Microsoft, of course — but they also take you to the cleaners. Save yourself a lot of time — and headache — by permanently keeping your product key with your CD.
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