I have an old HP desktop that needs to have Windows XP reinstalled. It has Windows XP Pro on it and I have a generic Windows XP Pro OEM disc that is missing a key.
Is it possible to use a generic OEM disc to reinstall XP while using the COA on the case of this machine to activate it?
Yes. If you have a license key for Windows XP Pro, then any Windows XP Pro disk should accept it for activation.
The only way to know for sure is to try it.
However, be aware that many OEM discs are BIOS-locked and additionally, will only accept certain CD Key codes.
I've been administering Windows machines since the 1995 Windows 95 release, and my experience suggests that what you are trying to do is not likely to work. But it's certainly worth a shot, as long as you realize that performing the setup often destroys your Windows installation by the time it reaches the CD key entering phase. (In other words, often you cannot simply back out and return to your old OS at that point, because it has initiated the setup and made the PC to boot straight into the setup instead of your old OS.)
A client of mind has lost his XP home restore disk for his HP brand desktop. I need to reinstall windows for the client. I would like to know if a generic OEM install disk would work; by work I mean that when I put his CD key in windows will take it. I know I can order the cds but I need to get this done asap. I have read mixed things online and would like a definite answer if anyone has one.
It's possible, but iffy. I found (having had an HP desktop a few years ago) that HP's OEM keys are sometimes set up to only work with their restore discs. They may have changed how they work, but that was my experience. In fact, with mine I was even unable to use my CD key with a different HP model's restore discs. If it works, great, but I'm thinking it's very possible it wont. It certainly won't work with a standard XP disc.
It would probably work, as long as it's an XP Home OEM disk. The best way to find out is to simply try!
I would suggest doing a bare-metal backup of the disk with something like Acronis True Image or DriveImage XML.
There are different license keys for XP for Corporate Volume Licensed, OEM purchased/retail, and OEM pre-installed machines, depending on 'how' OEM the CD you have is, his key may not work.
For instance a Corporate Volume License key for XP Pro won't work with a Dell provided OEM XP Pro CD, and that Dell CD key won't always work with a retail copy of XP Pro.
As with many things this does depend on a few different things, so sometimes will work, sometimes won't depending on the exact CD key and CD type you have.
You can use any Windows OEM disk (matching the original XP version, Home or Professional) with the license key from the COA sticker.
Additionally, you should backup the Windows Activation files and restore them after the installation.