Q: Activate Windows XP - invalid product key


I have recently had to re-install everything on my laptop following a bad virus.  This included Windows.  However, now when I try and register I get the message that the product key is invalid.  I got the product key off of a sticker on the bottom of my laptop.

I also tried calling the activation number and entering the details from the wizard window.  This does not work as the automated message tells me that I cannot register and may have been the victim of software piracy.  I can then not get hold of a customer service representative as the automated line automatically ends the call.

I got Windows with my computer.  Does anyone know how I can get hold of Microsoft to speak to someone to get this resolved?  or does anyone know how I can activate?



Microsoft Activation Centers Worldwide Telephone Numbers:
(This site is for Volume License Activation but if you call they will help you)

The phone number you called does not work:
Microsoft Wordwide contacts:



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If you reinstalled from retail CD, the system accepts only retail product keys. To make it accept OEM keys, go to HKLM\SYSTEM\Setup\Pid and change the Pid value so that last three digits become "oem".

Example: if the original value was


then change it to


The actual values may vary depending on your language and/or service pack level.

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A product key is not a product ID (PID) number. A PID is created after a product is successfully installed. PIDs are used by Microsoft Customer Service to help identify the product when customers call in for support.


A product key is a unique combination of numbers and letters that is used during Microsoft software installation to "unlock" or open the product. If you do not enter the product key when you are prompted during the installation, the product may not open until you enter the product key.


Microsoft product keys contain 25 characters that are typically divided into groups of 5. The product key is typically located on an orange or yellow sticker on the back of the CD case or the DVD case. If the Windows operating system that you are using was preinstalled by your computer manufacturer, you may find the Windows product key sticker on the computer.


Product keys are specific to their software products. For example, you cannot use a Windows product key to unlock a Microsoft Office product.


To know more details on the error messages that you receive for the product key issues when you trying to install Windows XP, click here:


I hope the above information is helpful. If this post helps to resolve your issue, Please click the Mark as Answered check mark on this page it helps others who need quick access to answers THANK YOU AND GOOD LUC!

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I did install OEM WinXP from retail cd once, just because the retail CD had SP3 on it. The Pid value I posted determines the SKU and channel.

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I'm really struggling to resolve this.  I cannot get into the HKLM setup as everytime I boot the computer the only option I have is to activate window i.e. I cannot get into Windows itself until it has been activated and therefore cannot get onto the 'run' section.

I have contacted Microsoft on the number kindly provided above.  They have suggested that when Windows was reinstalled it was probably from a different version than the one that came originally installed on the laptop, as such the product key provided on the bottom of the laptop would not work.  They advised me to contact the manufacturer, ASUS. 

I contacted ASUS and they have suggested that I need to purchase a recovery cd from another company, Asusparts.  The ASUS people I contacted also tried to recover windows from a partition on my hard drive, but there was only one option in recovery mode - 1: C:/Windows and this required an administrator password.

I'm really confused as this seems like quite a straightforward issue.  However, the only way I seem to be able to get around this at the moment is by either buying another copy of windows or a recovery cd.  Indeed, I am not sure that a recovery CD is even the answer??  Nor, would I have a clue how to go about installing another version of windows onto my computer if I were to buy it??

Please advise if anyone has any more idea than I on ways to fix this issue?  Thanks,


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Hi Nh1985,

The version of Windows XP that was pre-installed on your computer was OEM (original equipment manufacturer).  Meaning that ASUS pre-installed this version on to your laptop and your Product Key goes with this version.  You need to get the recovery disk from them to make sure that you are reinstalling this same version so your product key will work. 

Regarding your administrator password, please see the following article:

If you are interested in buying Windows be advised that you cannot purchase Windows XP from Microsoft any longer.  If you are interested in upgrading to Windows 7, please see the following information:

Hope this helps! 

Microsoft Answers Support Engineer
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This works perfectly!! So simple, i had to wipe the laptop again to get the 30 day registry time again but it enabled me to login and make the change and use my official license code.

many thanks

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i tried to reinstall my windows xp proi on a computer only has 80 gb and it said invalid code the code is on the computer it wont let me

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Views: 14,868 Last updated: June 15, 2018 Applies to: