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What good is a windows COA sticker?
January 15, 2009 11:41 AM   Subscribe

What does it mean when a used laptop is advertised as having Windows XP installed and coming with a COA sticker? Without having a Windows install cd, is there any benefit to having such a sticker? Would it, for example, permit one to call MS and obtain a new install disk for Windows XP?
posted by washburn to Technology (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Typically that would be an OEM sticker. It would be up to the manufacturer to supply you with any Win XP discs or recovery discs. Don't count on any of that coming without paying for it.
posted by Gungho at 11:46 AM on January 15, 2009


My understanding is that when you buy a copy of something like Win XP you are buying the license itself (in this case evidenced by the serial on the sticker) not the actual software or the media its on per se (though this is certainly factored into the cost). You could easily download the software from someplace (I'll leave that to your enterprising imagination) and install it with that serial and all would be hunky dory.

IANAL and this is just my understanding. Feel free to correct me.
posted by zennoshinjou at 12:03 PM on January 15, 2009


Actually, yeah, you probably can call up Microsoft. Check out this page.
I don't have the Office 2007 CDs, but have a license key for it. When my Outlook install became corrupted, I called up to get a CD. It was wonderfully easy - live human (speaking American English - makes it just that make easier) answered after going though 2 or 3 menu options. She took my product ID number and set me up to have a CD delivered in about a week. It cost $20-$30 ("shipping"), but I also got a second product ID out of it.
posted by niles at 12:08 PM on January 15, 2009


I believe MS ties their OEM licenses of Windows to a particular motherboard. I don't think you could use that COA to install a copy of Windows on any other computer except that laptop. Here's a link detailing what I'm talking about. Here's another.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 12:09 PM on January 15, 2009


The benefit would be basically that you would have a product ID code (on the COA sticker) to use when you went to reinstall XP. Obviously you would still need the XP disc to perform the OS installation, but you would have at least cleared one hurdle in having the PID.
posted by karizma at 12:22 PM on January 15, 2009


SpikeLeeMajor...., this has happened to us quite a few times, and we just do the telephone registration, where it asks "Have you changed any of the hardware?" (yes), and "Is this key installed on any other PC?" (erm, no) - and voila. No problem.

I might be misreading your comment, though...
posted by HopperFan at 1:09 PM on January 15, 2009


And reading further on the Michael Stevens blog, seems he came to the same conclusion after some add'l info came in.
posted by HopperFan at 1:12 PM on January 15, 2009


What does it mean when a used laptop is advertised as having Windows XP installed and coming with a COA sticker? Without having a Windows install cd, is there any benefit to having such a sticker?

That means that the copy of Windows on the PC is legal (assuming the version of Windows installed is the same as the COA). If there's no COA, either on a sticker or in some documentation somewhere, the copy is not legal.

Would it, for example, permit one to call MS and obtain a new install disk for Windows XP?

Probably not. The manufacturer of the PC would have to provide this. If you had a retail version of Windows, then MS would be the ones to contact.
posted by gjc at 5:13 PM on January 15, 2009


My understanding is that when you buy a copy of something like Win XP you are buying the license itself (in this case evidenced by the serial on the sticker) not the actual software or the media its on per se (though this is certainly factored into the cost). You could easily download the software from someplace (I'll leave that to your enterprising imagination) and install it with that serial and all would be hunky dory.

IANAL and this is just my understanding. Feel free to correct me.


I believe that's true. As long as there are no violations in how you obtain the CD.
posted by gjc at 5:16 PM on January 15, 2009


I think that there are seven different XP install ISO's -- I know for a fact that there are four of them -- and each one of which will only work with certain keys. The ones I know for sure:
** XP Home OEM install
** XP Pro OEM install
** XP Home 'bought off the shelf'
** XP Pro 'bought off the shelf'

So if you do go 'shopping' online for an XP OS install ISO you'll want to make sure that it's an OEM install disk ISO, and 'shop' for XP Home or XP Pro, depending upon what is licensed upon the machine you've purchased.

Last month I did a re-install of XP Home on a laptop my sister gave me, used an 'off the shelf' copy of XP Home to do the install, got to the point where it asks for the key, I plugged in the key off the machine, it would not install, though it was a valid key.

No way was I going to use the key off my XP OS that I had laying around when I knew that the machine has a perfectly legal copy of XP on it; I called Microsoft support, very helpful people, transferred me here and then there, ended up talking to a guy who told me why it wasn't working, said that there was no magic way I could get it to work shy of having the particular ISO that that key would work with. So what he did was assign me an extra, valid XP home key that'd work with my 'off the shelf' ISO, I plugged it in and was on my way.

So. My experience with Microsoft support, the two times I've ever called them, has been pretty damn good. I cannot stand the way they do business, how they've jammed their software down everyones throat these past fifteen years, buried their competitors, but that's business, they are scum. But they are scum with good customer support, in my (admittedly limited) experience with them.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:06 AM on January 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I bought a used computer with a sticker on it and wanted to install XP but also didn't have a disc. My other computer had a pre-installed backup of XP on it and I burned a disc from that. When I went to install it on the new computer it said the serial wasn't valid and to enter a new one. I entered the one on the sticker and it activated fine.
posted by gfrobe at 1:19 AM on January 16, 2009


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