How does the COA work.

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

I've been staring at my damaged windows xp pro oem version cd and wondering
how the COA product key works. Its been awhile since ive installed windows
from scratch and never really paid attention, I'd just enter the key and be
done with it.

The original disc is damaged and I have a new oem one on the way. From what
I've reasearched as long as the disc is an oem version it will work with the
coa that i currently have. Why is that? Does the key not really matter until
the computer connects to the internet/800 number to verify or what?

Its just something that got me thinking.

Thanks
Adam
6 answers Last reply
More about work
  1. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    There is nothing unique about your OEM XP disc. It is identical to millions
    of others. Windows uses your Product Key plus data about your hardware to
    create a unique identifier (stored on your hard drive) that "locks" the
    Product key to your computer (for 120 days, then the record is purged). That
    is the Activation process.

    "spudnik282" <spudnik282@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
    news:33343BB8-8782-4B7B-BFDA-635D5A996645@microsoft.com...
    > I've been staring at my damaged windows xp pro oem version cd and
    wondering
    > how the COA product key works. Its been awhile since ive installed windows
    > from scratch and never really paid attention, I'd just enter the key and
    be
    > done with it.
    >
    > The original disc is damaged and I have a new oem one on the way. From
    what
    > I've reasearched as long as the disc is an oem version it will work with
    the
    > coa that i currently have. Why is that? Does the key not really matter
    until
    > the computer connects to the internet/800 number to verify or what?
    >
    > Its just something that got me thinking.
    >
    > Thanks
    > Adam
  2. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    In news:33343BB8-8782-4B7B-BFDA-635D5A996645@microsoft.com,
    spudnik282 <spudnik282@discussions.microsoft.com> had this to say:

    My reply is at the bottom of your sent message:

    > I've been staring at my damaged windows xp pro oem version cd and
    > wondering how the COA product key works. Its been awhile since ive
    > installed windows from scratch and never really paid attention, I'd
    > just enter the key and be done with it.
    >
    > The original disc is damaged and I have a new oem one on the way.
    > From what I've reasearched as long as the disc is an oem version it
    > will work with the coa that i currently have. Why is that? Does the
    > key not really matter until the computer connects to the internet/800
    > number to verify or what?
    >
    > Its just something that got me thinking.
    >
    > Thanks
    > Adam

    The product license key isn't on the CD at all. It's just an sum that
    validates according to the settings chosen by Microsoft and they're the same
    on all CDs of that same type to put it simply. My key would work with your
    CD and many others for instance. They key does matter when you activate the
    product (perhaps you don't as it's OEM but on retail that would matter) in
    that it's checked to see how long ago it has been activated or if it's a
    stolen key.

    Galen
    --
    Signature changed for a moment of silence.
    Rest well Alex and we'll see you on the other side.
  3. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    Hi Galen,

    >> following your lead, text following yours...

    "Galen" <galennews@gmail.com> wrote in message
    news:%23YXx%23Z7RFHA.2964@TK2MSFTNGP15.phx.gbl...
    > In news:33343BB8-8782-4B7B-BFDA-635D5A996645@microsoft.com,
    > spudnik282 <spudnik282@discussions.microsoft.com> had this to say:
    >
    > My reply is at the bottom of your sent message:
    >
    >> I've been staring at my damaged windows xp pro oem version cd and
    >> wondering how the COA product key works. Its been awhile since ive
    >> installed windows from scratch and never really paid attention, I'd
    >> just enter the key and be done with it.
    >>
    >> The original disc is damaged and I have a new oem one on the way.
    >> From what I've reasearched as long as the disc is an oem version it
    >> will work with the coa that i currently have. Why is that? Does the
    >> key not really matter until the computer connects to the internet/800
    >> number to verify or what?
    >>
    >> Its just something that got me thinking.
    >>
    >> Thanks
    >> Adam
    >
    > The product license key isn't on the CD at all. It's just an sum that
    > validates according to the settings chosen by Microsoft and they're the
    > same on all CDs of that same type to put it simply. My key would work with
    > your CD and many others for instance. They key does matter when you
    > activate the product (perhaps you don't as it's OEM but on retail that
    > would matter) in that it's checked to see how long ago it has been
    > activated or if it's a stolen key.
    >
    > Galen
    > --
    > Signature changed for a moment of silence.
    > Rest well Alex and we'll see you on the other side.

    While this is essentially true, it is important to note that this only works
    for keys of the same type - IE: Retail vs. OEM, Home vs. Pro., etc. They
    aren't interchangeable. You wouldn't be able to use an OEM key on a retail
    disk. As far as the original poster goes, they should be able to use their
    old OEM key with their new OEM disk without issue.

    --
    Best of Luck,

    Rick Rogers, aka "Nutcase" - Microsoft MVP
    http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/
    Associate Expert - WindowsXP Expert Zone
    www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone
    Windows help - www.rickrogers.org
  4. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    "Rick "Nutcase" Rogers" <rick@mvps.org> wrote in message
    news:%23e0BUD$RFHA.244@TK2MSFTNGP12.phx.gbl...
    >
    > While this is essentially true, it is important to note that this only
    > works for keys of the same type - IE: Retail vs. OEM, Home vs. Pro.,
    > etc. They aren't interchangeable. You wouldn't be able to use an OEM
    > key on a retail disk. As far as the original poster goes, they should
    > be able to use their old OEM key with their new OEM disk without
    > issue.

    And then there are those BIOS-locked versions that will only install on
    the same brand and model.

    --
    ____________________________________________________________
    ** Post your replies to the newsgroup - Share with others **
    For e-mail Reply: remove "DELETE", add "~VN56~" to Subject.
    ____________________________________________________________
  5. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    In news:OFQi$LBSFHA.688@TK2MSFTNGP10.phx.gbl,
    Vanguard <Vanguard> had this to say:

    My reply is at the bottom of your sent message:

    > "Rick "Nutcase" Rogers" <rick@mvps.org> wrote in message
    > news:%23e0BUD$RFHA.244@TK2MSFTNGP12.phx.gbl...
    >>
    >> While this is essentially true, it is important to note that this
    >> only works for keys of the same type - IE: Retail vs. OEM, Home vs.
    >> Pro., etc. They aren't interchangeable. You wouldn't be able to use
    >> an OEM key on a retail disk. As far as the original poster goes,
    >> they should be able to use their old OEM key with their new OEM disk
    >> without issue.
    >
    > And then there are those BIOS-locked versions that will only install
    > on the same brand and model.

    Those OEM disks really can be a pain... I am not sure if people don't know
    this and that's why they buy them or if they know this and just don't care
    so they buy them or if, even, they've some other reason for continued
    purchased of these keys. I've never bought one and I'm surely not going to
    start now.

    Galen
    --
    Signature changed for a moment of silence.
    Rest well Alex and we'll see you on the other side.
  6. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    "spudnik282" <spudnik282@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote:

    >I've been staring at my damaged windows xp pro oem version cd and wondering
    >how the COA product key works. Its been awhile since ive installed windows
    >from scratch and never really paid attention, I'd just enter the key and be
    >done with it.
    >
    >The original disc is damaged and I have a new oem one on the way. From what
    >I've reasearched as long as the disc is an oem version it will work with the
    >coa that i currently have. Why is that? Does the key not really matter until
    >the computer connects to the internet/800 number to verify or what?
    >
    >Its just something that got me thinking.
    >
    >Thanks
    >Adam

    Here is how the Product Key works, at least insofar as I understand
    it.

    Validation of the product key is a multiple step process.

    1. When the 25 character product key is entered, the first check is
    to see if the values entered are valid. Certain characters in the key
    (I am not certain how many - it could be 1, 2, or perhaps 3) are check
    codes. That means that their values are determined by means of a
    specific formula that uses the other characters in the key to
    determine what thes check code should be.

    2. If the overall key is valid then it is further checked to see if
    it is valid for the specific type and version of the product that is
    being installed. Another formula is used to calculate a product type
    and version code and this is compared to the information on the CD to
    see if they match. At the highest level, this means that a product
    key for Microsoft Office cannot be used to install Microsoft Windows,
    and vice versa, but it goes much further than that. Product Keys for
    Windows XP Home cannot be used with Windows XP Pro (also vice versa)
    and Product Keys for OEM versions cannot be used to install retail or
    volume licensed versions (also vice versa).

    3. If the product key is valid, and it is for the correct product,
    version, and type then it will be installed. As part of the
    installation process the data used by Windows Activation is generated,
    based not only on the product key but also on certain specific
    hardware items found in that computer. When the online activation
    center is contacted this activation information is checked against the
    existing data stored at Microsoft. Three possible situations can
    occur at this time:
    a. The product key may be for a BIOS locked OEM version of Windows,
    in which case online activation will be refused. BIOS locked OEM
    versions are self-activating if the BIOS is correct so it is only if
    the BIOS does not match (e.g. motherboard replaced) that BIOS locked
    OEM versions will request activation, and these situations now require
    manual activation by phone, and this activation may or may not be
    given.
    b. The product key may have been previously activated. In this case
    the hardware identifiers are compared with those from the previous
    activation and if they are the same then the activation will be done.
    If the hardware identifiers are different then a telephone activation
    will be required.
    c. The product key may have never been activated before, in which
    case the activation will be done and the activation identifiers
    (product key and hardware details) will be recorded at Microsoft.

    Hope this explains the situation.

    Good luck


    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    --
    Microsoft MVP
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

    In memory of a dear friend Alex Nichol MVP
    http://aumha.org/alex.htm
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