I would like to legally make my copy of Windows XP work!
March 4, 2012 11:04 PM   Subscribe

I need Windows XP on my boot camp capable Macbook Pro. I purchased the home edition SP2 a long time ago, but have now lost the product key / activation. I'm looking for legal ways to install XP tonight or tomorrow.

I still have the installation disk. I'm willing to pay for a new key from microsoft, if they sell such a thing. Or I'd like to buy a fresh copy in Los Angeles by tomorrow. Every store that I've looked into that normally sells software only seems to be selling Windows 7 now.

I could order one from Amazon and have it overnight, but I wouldn't get it until Tuesday. (That's my backup plan.)

It has to be Windows XP, there is software that only runs on that platform. I know I could buy Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise edition and run it in XP mode, but I'd rather avoid that if possible. (That's backup plan #2.)

Also, I can't find the receipt for the software I purchased, and it's not OEM, so I think calling Microsoft Customer Service or scanning my computer to get the lost key is out. It was installed on my Mac at one point, but I didn't like how much hard drive space it was taking up, so I deleted it.
posted by visual mechanic to Technology (6 answers total)
I installed XP on my bootcamp partition from an older machine -- I am fairly certain that once it is installed, it will just run a check to make sure it is a legit copy. I don't think you have to enter the key. This was a few years ago, though, but I'm pretty sure that was how it worked. Since it sounds like you have a legit copy, you should be fine.

I would just try and install it and see if it works...at the worst, it would tell you that you have 30 days left to activate, and you could try and find another copy in that time....

When I installed mine, it was from the install disks from a laptop that had died, and that worked.

I would just try it without the key before calling Microsoft or something like that. It doesn't take that long to install. The long part will be updating it once it is installed.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 11:50 PM on March 4, 2012

oh, and for what it's worth: I also made a second virtual machine with a copy of XP 64bit. However, I don't think I had the right key for that or something....but it worked for a month before it would just prompt for activation. I ended up not needing it anyway, so I never activated it...but at the very least, it should work for a while.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 11:52 PM on March 4, 2012

Do you have access to a PC with working Windows XP? Can you get Parallels locally? If so then you can do a transfer. NOTE: You may have to have the activation number. As mentioned above I'v also seen it may be possible to delay activation, but I've also seen it balk at booting a transfer to parallels without a proper activation number.
posted by Gungho at 6:08 AM on March 5, 2012

Best answer: Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate includes full legal "downgrade rights" to Win XP PRO, Pro only, and you would have to already have an original XP Pro disc to install. XP Home is not covered for this.

Otherwise, a possible long shot you could try today, try thrift shops, pawn shops, used computer stores, for an old machine with an XP Home sticker. You may find one for $50 or less and broken is fine. You can install with that serial number, and when activation pops up you can "fight" with MS on the phone that you are transferring the license to your new installation.
posted by caclwmr4 at 8:32 AM on March 5, 2012

If you have the XP currently on a machine, there are programs (Freebies) designed to extract the key from the OS. Hiren's Boot CD comes to mind.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:13 AM on March 5, 2012

For what it's worth, unless your Mac is out of date, it won't allow you to install anything older than Windows 7 via Boot Camp unless you're willing to get creative.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:49 PM on March 5, 2012

« Older What are the arguments against trade union...   |   An alternative to whiteboards/chalkboards? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.