Changing Windows XP SP2 Product Key
March 28, 2005 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know if there is an easy way to change the product key for a copy of Windows XP Pro SP2 that has already been activated? [MI]

We deployed several new desktops this week that were imaged from images that someone did not strip the OEM license info from. All of the machines are legitimately licensed to use Windows and have the product key sticker - but of course Windows is using the number from the original image.
I've searched quite a bit, and cannot find any Microsoft documentation on this (big shock, I know) - and have not found any other sources that provide a solution. There is a documented procedure for changing the product key on a WXP SP1 machine by editing the registry or using a VB script, but this procedure doesn't work on the SP2 machines. Instead of the activation wizard popping up and letting you enter the key, it simply shows the "this copy of Windows is already activated" message.
My supervisor wants me to remedy the situation, even though technically we are probably covered legally. Any easy fixes short of having to re-image the user's machines?
posted by sixdifferentways to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Pretty sure there's a crack out there that does this. I'd give it a search at or ...
posted by fake at 5:38 PM on March 28, 2005

That's a possibility, though it's a bit ironic to have to look for an illegitimate program in order to try and make the OS more legitimate.
I guess to be specific, I don't even need to crack the keys - just a procedure that would let me erase the current ones and replace them with the "legitimate" ones, or "deactivate" Windows.
posted by sixdifferentways at 5:45 PM on March 28, 2005

The only ones I know are what you listed, specifically the best being that VB script, But all those are for SP1 or earlier.
Because thats when microsft patches stopped working on one class of generated key.
Nothing like that has happened since SP2, so i dont know if there would even be any illigitmate programs that could help you.
posted by Iax at 5:59 PM on March 28, 2005

I wouldn't be surprised if MS would give you free tech support to remain legal. Try phoning their anti piracy number, I think it's something like 1-800-RU-LEGIT. Might be 888 or something like that, tho. Hopefully you don't end up calling some 90's rap group. :-D
posted by shepd at 6:14 PM on March 28, 2005

shepd has the right number. You might also try WinKeyFinder. Looks like it will let you change the key or re-activate windows. I'm not sure if it works on SP2, and since I'm on a corporate XP box right now, I can't really test it. Nothing too shady, I'd think, since PC World and MajorGeeks are both hosting it.
posted by sysinfo at 7:36 PM on March 28, 2005

Thank you sysinfo - from the documentation, it sounds as if WinKeyFinder will do the trick. I'll give it a shot tomorrow and post the results in case this thread is searched in the future.
posted by sixdifferentways at 7:57 PM on March 28, 2005

don't fuck it up.
posted by centrs at 9:19 PM on March 28, 2005

WinKeyFinder worked perfectly.
posted by sixdifferentways at 11:26 AM on March 29, 2005

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