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View Full Version : Acquiring Windows Install CDs...


baelrath
11-18-2007, 09:30 PM
I would like to obtain a copy of all relevant Windows CD's for use in the event that a client does not have their original disk. Branded disks (Dell, Compaq, etc) aside, where would I purchase a copy of these without having to buy licenses, as my clients should have their own license:

Windows 95 / 98 / ME / XP, including the variations such as OEM, Home, Upgrade, Professional, etc.

Also, let's say I have an install disk for a client, but they have no license key, is it possible to buy just a key online and use it immediately after purchase?

Brandon
11-19-2007, 12:10 AM
I have no experience with this site but I know a couple other people on here have recommended it.

http://www.restoredisks.com/

Not sure about the license key.

Bryce W
11-19-2007, 05:08 AM
You can also subscribe to the Microsoft Action Pack (http://partner.microsoft.com/actionpack) which has these contents (https://partner.microsoft.com/40013779). Unfortunately, it has everything older than 2003 taken out. Perhaps you can buy the old 95/98/ME/NT/2000 disks on Ebay? They would be dirt cheap.

The branded stuff can come from RestoreDisks.com (http://www.restoredisks.com/) as Brandon mentioned.

To get stand alone license keys, you can use the following link on Microsoft.com to purchase them:
http://www.microsoft.com/products/info/editorial/22/promotions/wal/

Just enter your product ID and hit submit. Pricing is halfway down the page.

baelrath
11-19-2007, 07:54 PM
Thank you both, your suggestions will be very helpful. I suppose it was wishful thinking that I could just buy a CD combo pack or whatever of each of the major OS's from somewhere. Should have known it wouldn't be that easy, but now I have some choices.

Thanks again.

GraemeP
11-20-2007, 04:08 AM
Bryce do you know how much the action pack costs? I have been told its AUD$699 I dont know this for sure tho.
Thanks

Bryce W
11-20-2007, 12:32 PM
According to the Australian page for the action pack located here (https://partner.microsoft.com/Australia/program/managemembership/actionpack), $699 AUD appears to be correct. If I was just starting out I wouldnt bother with it and hit eBay for some old 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP disks.

GraemeP
11-20-2007, 11:54 PM
Would there be any problems using copyed cd if you were using the customers legal key?

Bryce W
11-21-2007, 01:26 AM
I dont think so, but dont quote me on that, I might be wrong. Anyone else know the answer to this?

JohnR
11-21-2007, 01:47 AM
Anyone else know the answer to this?

I do.

And the answer is "No. All Windows CDs (of a particular flavour) are the same. All that matters is that the license key you have match the CD you're using."

I use copied CDs pretty much constantly.

I make a practice of copying every new Windows CD or DVD I come across. I keep this copy in a little binder I keep in my briefcase. As long as I never install a copy that doesn't have a valid license key, I'm not violating MS' license.

If you have a Windows XP Home Retail, Home Upgrade, Home OEM, Pro Retail, and Pro OEM CD, you'll have almost every CD you need. Add in a Vista DVD (the same DVD for ALL versions, only the key matters - a GREAT change) and you're almost certainly done your collection. Action Pack and Volume License are *rare*. You'll never see a home user with them, unless they bought the machine from a corporation.

And, in that case, you can tell the user with all honesty that you don't have the right disk to reinstall their license.

GraemeP
11-21-2007, 11:09 AM
Thanks for that well i know how im going to save $699 on the ms action pack :)

Gilby
05-07-2008, 10:11 AM
As long as I never install a copy that doesn't have a valid license key, I'm not violating MS' license.


Thanks for this info. Could you please explain how you determine the customer's Windows licence key and whether it is valid?

geekhelp4u
05-07-2008, 12:25 PM
their windows license key should be on a sticker on the side of their machine. If not, programs like magical jelly bean ( http://magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/ ) will allow you to view and even change the keys. If they key is not valid, you will find out during MS updates. Sometimes, it is as simple as calling the 800 number they give you and verifying that the key you are using is for that machine... this is a voice activated process. If it fails that, usually time to buy a new copy of XP! If it is on a major brand machine such as dell, toshiba, gateway, etc... then it most likely is an OEM key. If the sticker on the side has a key for windows 98, ME, 2000, etc... and XP is installed, then it most likely is a retail key. I personally think Dell XP disks are the best OEM disks. I have used them on many computers, not Dell, and it works fine. Also, don't forget that every version of XP from microsoft has a 30 day key. Meaning you can do a fully automated install using this key, and it will work for 30 days. All you need to do when the install is finished is change the key! And don't forget nLite is your friend. Might as well slipstream SP3 on your disk before you install!

Action Pack and Volume License are *rare*. You'll never see a home user with them, unless they bought the machine from a corporation.

Which happens a lot lately. A lot of people are buying old corporate machines. Especially if they work for the company and get a great deal when the company upgrades. Lucky for me, not only do I have a Volume License Disk... I also have a volume license key who's volume is "unlimited"! Although I only use that key for my computers and in emergencies.

Anyone know the legal issue on Windows Disk Distribution? Is it legal to trade copies of these disks with people... so long as you are not trading activation keys? If so, maybe we could help each other out in here and do a little tit for tat till we have all the disks we need!

JohnR
05-07-2008, 12:58 PM
Gilby: Could you please explain how you determine the customer's Windows licence key and whether it is valid?

Step #1: Check the side or top (desktop) or bottom (laptop) of the machine. If they've got an MS holographic sticker, they've got a valid OEM license.

Step #2: Check the box their Windows disks came in. If they've got a flat standard-sized Windows folder with a CD in the middle and a license sticker, they've got a valid retail license.

Step #3: If they have neither a sticker on the side nor a folder with the Windows disk and the license, then run Keyfinder to get the key, and run Windows Update to see if it's genuine. If it manages to get past Windows Genuine Advantage, then it's legit.[1] Check the System control panel, and sometimes you'll get an indication of whether it's OEM, volume, or retail. Other times, you might have the guess, and reinstall if you guessed wrong.

Anyone know the legal issue on Windows Disk Distribution? Is it legal to trade copies of these disks with people... so long as you are not trading activation keys? If so, maybe we could help each other out in here and do a little tit for tat till we have all the disks we need!

I'm not aware of any actual legal issues with copying Windows disks, as long as you're not intending to pirate the software and you're not distributing the keys. However, I'm also not a lawyer.

[1]: Or, at least, legit enough that I'm not going to argue with the user over it.

Gilby
05-07-2008, 01:20 PM
If they key is not valid, you will find out during MS updates. Sometimes, it is as simple as calling the 800 number they give you and verifying that the key you are using is for that machine... this is a voice activated process. If it fails that, usually time to buy a new copy of XP!



Thanks for this info.

I'm assuming that if you install a copy of XP with a key found with keyfinder and then find out that the key is invalid, e.g. MS updates don't work, that you would be in breach of the licence? I'm in Australia and so that US 800 number is probably no good to me.

I am interested in any other ways to validate a customer's Windows before installing a copy and using their key. Has anyone used the xpinfo utility to verify windows and does it reliably work? Any other ways to validate someone's windows?

JohnR
05-07-2008, 01:29 PM
I'm assuming that if you install a copy of XP with a key found with keyfinder and then find out that the key is invalid, e.g. MS updates don't work, that you would be in breach of the licence?

#1: No, they would be. You're acting in good faith, and, at worst, you won't be able to Activate Windows and it will shut itself down in 30 days. Before those 30 days expire, you need to contact Microsoft and either buy a new license, or get an exemption from the key.

#2: That's actually a different 800 number for every area. There *is* a number local to you, guaranteed.

#3: There are dozens of reasons why a license would work before a reinstall, then fail activation (and deny you updates) after a reinstall. Only a very few of those reasons are actually malicious. A major hardware change, some missing drivers, or even something as simple as "You last installed this copy two years ago and today MS' Activation Wizard feels poopy" can result in a legit copy failing to activate on a reinstall. And when that happens, you call them on the phone, punch in the 40-digit code to the touch-tone system, and either the computer will give you an install code, or it will transfer you to a live operator who will ask you questions like "how many computers is this installed on?" before giving you an install code.

Gilby
05-07-2008, 01:34 PM
Gilby:
Step #3: If they have neither a sticker on the side nor a folder with the Windows disk and the license, then run Keyfinder to get the key, and run Windows Update to see if it's genuine. If it manages to get past Windows Genuine Advantage, then it's legit.[1] Check the System control panel, and sometimes you'll get an indication of whether it's OEM, volume, or retail. Other times, you might have the guess, and reinstall if you guessed wrong.


Thanks JohnR.

This was a situation I saw today. Windows XP Pro would not start normally. It would start in safe mode with networking but internet was screwed, so no way to do Windows update. There was no sticker on the box and the guy has no CD. I could get the key with keyfinder but if I installed a copy of XP using his key and it turns out to be invalid then I think I would be breaking the licence agreement?

Gilby
05-07-2008, 01:40 PM
#1: No, they would be. You're acting in good faith, and, at worst, you won't be able to Activate Windows and it will shut itself down in 30 days. Before those 30 days expire, you need to contact Microsoft and either buy a new license, or get an exemption from the key.


OK, so as long as you are using a key that the user already has then it is the user that could get into trouble. Thanks for clarifying that.

Johnthegeek
05-09-2008, 12:37 AM
I have run into several other repair companies using hack or bootleg cds. Avoid doing that. It seems like a quick fix but if and when M.S. rolls out a new fix you have a customer who spent $$$ at your shop to get a "you might be a victim of piracy" message.

They won't be happy with you even if you were trying to help. Get a good collection of install disks from as many sources as you can (hp, gateway, dell, retail). They make the job easier, legal, and more professional.

geekhelp4u
05-09-2008, 08:27 PM
hmm I found a copy of a windows iso DVD for XP that has 9 in 1 on one disk.

DVD Content:
- Windows XP Pro Corp
- Windows XP Pro Retail
- Windows XP Pro OEM
- Windows XP Pro Upgrade
- Windows XP Home Retail
- Windows XP Home OEM
- Windows XP Home Upgrade
- Windows XP MCE 2005 Retail
- Windows XP MCE 2005 OEM

It allows you to extract them all individually as an iso! Now I am adding SP3, IE7 and WMP11 using nLite and WMP11 Slipstreamer. I am then making the individual ISOs to do a fully integrated install using the 30 day keys provided by Microsoft Technet, so that all I have to do is use a key changer (after install) to change the temporary key to my clients personal key. Looks like when I finish this, all i need to find is a DVD of the Vista Disk so I have all of them (HINT HINT IF ANYONE HAS IT!!!!). Debating on if I really need a windows 95/98/ME disk as I never even see these on computers anymore! Anyone know the laws of distributing these disks to IT professionals? I will gladly send copies of what people need (for $0.10 CD Cost + Shipping Fees) for non profit if it is legal!

MHCG
05-09-2008, 09:04 PM
I don't think it's illegal as long as you're not distributing licenses. It's just media.

Holzster
05-10-2008, 12:47 AM
Here are the different XP CD's you need.

XP Home OEM
XP Home Full
XP Home Upgrade

XP Pro OEM
XP Pro Full
XP Pro Upgrade

XP Pro Cooperate Edition

XP Media Edition Disk 1
XP Media Edition Disk 2
XP Media Edition Integrated


And remember on Vista the "Upgrade Edition" will install on a bare machine it does not look for any files before the install - this has been tested in Vista Service pack 1 (http://windowssecrets.com/) this is a great site. So that is one less Vista CD to carry

JohnR
05-10-2008, 02:05 AM
#1: I believe you mean "volume license edition", not "cooperate". And there's also the Action Pack Subscription edition, but that's really rare. A home user will *never* have that edition, unless they bought a used corporate machine AND the corporation was small, lazy, and/or cheap.

#2: Vista comes on DVDs, and all seven Vista version have the same DVD. One, identical DVD, the different license keys install different versions. So you only really need the one.

Crgky127
05-11-2008, 03:43 AM
Is a technet plus subscription (349usd, 249/209 with coupon code) worth it?

tartis
06-12-2008, 01:29 PM
I picked up a home built PC last night that had Windows errors. The guy did not have his CD's, so I ran a repair using a Dell XP w/SP2 CD. I get done with the repair, and it now wants to activate with Microsoft. I can't locate a Windows XP CD on his machine case. Any ideas on how to make this work? Is this because I used the Dell CD?

Crgky127
06-12-2008, 03:04 PM
Did you try magical jelly bean key finder?

Blues
06-12-2008, 05:33 PM
I picked up a home built PC last night that had Windows errors. The guy did not have his CD's, so I ran a repair using a Dell XP w/SP2 CD. I get done with the repair, and it now wants to activate with Microsoft. I can't locate a Windows XP CD on his machine case. Any ideas on how to make this work? Is this because I used the Dell CD?

That is where I try not to be I need them to provide me with something that proves they have a legitimate copy. I am not saying that this one isn't but we are with out a key, cd, or sticker. I don't put the sticker on my PCs that are for my use but I have a box with all that in it, usually the motherboard box they are perfect for it. I would say it is either becuase you used a different CD or becuase they were not running a legit copy before.

JohnR
06-12-2008, 11:49 PM
Short version: No, it's not the Dell CD, it's that he needs a license key.

Long version: Dell's CDs automatically install a version with a Dell license key - *not* the one on the case sticker, but that doesn't matter, because you have the legit one on the case sticker, so it doesn't matter what one's on the machine as long as it's the same version.

However, the Dell copy of Windows is also set up for the Dell hardware on the Dell machine the CD was made for, and, when it doesn't recognise the Dell hardware, it figures you just made a big hardware change.

And since you just made a large hardware change, you have to reactivate Windows.

And since this is a *huge* hardware change - a completely "new" system according to the Dell installation - it fails reactivation.

Right now, there are two possibilities:

A) The guy has a legit retail Windows license, you've just installed an OEM copy that he DOESN'T have a license for, but there's really no harm done and you can reactivate by phone. Tell it to activate by phone, call the MS rep, tell them you just reinstalled Windows, yes this copy is only installed on one machine, and they'll give you a key to manually activate it.

B) The guy doesn't have a legit license at all. In which case, you can still activate it over the phone, but then you're a party to software piracy.

There is no C - if he had a legit OEM license, the sticker would be on his machine, because OEMs are legally required to do so by the license itself. Some people don't do that when they build their own machines, but that's their call. No reputable computer store will do it for someone they don't know really well.

You're in a bit of a bind.

My solution:
Tell him that without evidence of a license, you cannot activate Windows for him. Let *him* call Microsoft and talk to the rep and put in the code. Or sell him a new copy of Windows, but I really don't suspect he'll take kindly to the $500 price tag on XP Pro Retail, and you can't get XP Home any more. So, if it's legit, tell him he has to do it because he can't prove it, and if it's not legit, tell him he has to do it because then it's his act of piracy, not yours.


In the future, ALWAYS get a license key before reinstalling Windows. Either get it off the sticker, out of the retail packaging, or out of the Windows installation itself using a program like Keyfinder.