A good MicroSoft Support Experience!


Active Member
I have a ViewSonic ViewPad 1000 that I bought from a defunct .com biz via ebay.

It had a genuine WinXP Pro COA on it, but had the company's volume license XP Pro OS installed over the original. Becuase of this I could not install any updates via Windows Update.

I contacted MS, via a special link for "genuine advantge" issues and told them my story, including the including giving them info about the volume license install via a diagnostic tool and the product key from my COA.

They sent me an email with a few follow-up questions and suggestions (including contacting the reseller, which was not possible since they are out of biz). After answering their questions and re-iterating the status of the reseller, they sent me a link (please, don't ask me for it) to an application that would replace the invalid key with my valid one.

It worked perfectly and was resolved with only 2 emails!
There is a tool (or at least there was on 2000) to allow you to see the key and update it. I'm assuming the same is in there for xp (although possibly only for certain installation types such as volume license, etc).

I had seen this in corporate environments where it is typical to clone machine images for speedy setup, the obvious issue being the key and machine name would be the same. The machine name is simple, but there was a tool (maybe the resource disk?) to do the update for the license.

Of course you mention a link, so that implies it is not resident on the machine in XP. I am going to assume the tool is out there on technet or the like for corporate administrators.

Curiousity getting the best of me, I found the following in a couple of clicks:

That might work only for that type of update, the one I saw (I think) was blue screened like some of the windows setup screens.
Wow, Mike.

Although the url they sent me was different, it looks like the same application.

I'm impressed with your searching. I searched for several days for that application and could not find it until I emailed MS support and they sent it to me.

What search string did you enter?

The only thing I could ever find was a vbscript (both on the MS site and some other sites)that you could use to change the key on a volume license installation to another volume license installation, but not from any-type of personal/private license install.
I used "update windows xp product key" I tried something else first and got a mess and changed it to the above.

I've also had to deal with them a lot in the past or try to find information on obscure problems so I may be climatized to the site... B)
For balance I had the reverse situation. While I don't recommend to my clients to by their machines on e-Bay my company likes to do so. They use the logic that we have the ability to deal with issues that arise from doing so.

Anyway, when my eBay laptop arrived it had XP loaded on it. Best practices said I should reload it from scratch from our volume licenses, however being busy it was easier to just get to work.

I ran into the same situation where I could not get something I needed via Genuine Advantage. No biggie - we are Microsoft Gold and so I called our guy. He poked around and came back with I have to reload the machine. I called a few other divisions at Microsoft and always got the same thing. No way to convert an OEM to a Volume without a reload.

I tried Microsoft's tool linked above as well as a few other 3rd party tools to change this thing, but nothing would get me get through GA. Oh well, finally bit the bullet and reloaded it.

(Note to self, reload when it was new would have been MUCH easier than after I had all the crap loaded up on it that I use......)
I believe this is because they have a different set of valid keys. You can have two versions of say, XP and depending on the keys you have, they may only work on one version of the install. This is even in just trying to enter the keys from a clean install, it just wont accept it.

Perhaps there is some highe reason to it, but I never figured it out, just knew that is the way it was.