Here's the details. I have an old neighbour whose tower just stopped running (while he was using it). I've done all the typical troubleshooting and cannot pin it down- other than either the board or the CPU (possible overheating NB). You cannot get it to stay powered up long enough to do anything with it. Tried new PSU, swapped RAM, tried a stick of my own known good, have everything unplugged except the monitor, KB, mouse. I did manage to get it going for a few minutes once- but that was it. Even tried clearing CMOS, new battery, etc...
According to a MS KB, a swap of motherboard can be accomplished by a repair install- booting from CD. I happen to have a nice dual-core w/4GB RAM sitting right here. Now, I do not have the original key because the old guy had someone probably keep the sticker (or it was pirated). Meanwhile, I have a new XP Pro I could put on it for him.
Now, you're saying, "why not reinstall clean"? Because, I had just done a tune-up a few months back, it's running perfectly, & he has programs he wants to stay on it that he cannot replace.
So- my question is (& please only reply if you have actually done this before): can I, when it asks for the 25 digit key during the repair, use the new & different (legit) key- or will it balk that it's somehow not the one "inside the registry"?
Answer by TheTechDude · Jan 16, 2013 at 10:27 AM
During a system repair in Windows XP it will not ask for a license key. If there is some way to run the repair and add a product key the best thing to do would be to not put in any product key and let the install just go through. Then when you get into Windows and it wants a activation key you can put it in. However, in all the times I have run XP repair from the install disk it has never asked me for a key.