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Reformat... Problems


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#1 lhamil64

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 01:01 PM

I have this old dell computer that only had 128mb of ram on it. So i formatted and put Damn Small Linux on it (which i hated lol) and then i got more ram (now it has 512mb) So i thought OK ill put xp back on now that it can handle it. I loaded XP pro and it worked, but it didn't recognize some of my drivers (display, sound, etc.) And then when i was playing around with the display settings, it said i needed to restart. So i did. But when i restarted (tried a few times) it showed the windows xp logo and then when it would show the welcome screen, just showed a black screen. No mouse. Ctrl Alt Del didn't do anything. So i put the xp disk back in and did a repair. Right now i'm at the product key screen. I am entering the key in correctly but it keeps saying Invalid Key. I tried to find a program on the internet that would allow me to extract the key from the CD but all of them just find the key of the computer your using. I tried that just incase i am looking at the wrong case or the key changed somehow or something. If anyone knows of a fix to the black screen problem (without format or repair) please tell me. Or if you know of a program that will extract the CD Key from the cd then tell me also. Thanks.

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#2 Andrew

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 01:28 PM

Try booting Windows in Safe Mode:
  • Restart your computer.
  • When the machine first starts again it will generally list some equipment that is installed in your machine, amount of memory, hard drives installed etc. At this point you should gently tap the F8 key repeatedly until you are presented with a Windows XP Advanced Options menu.
  • Select the option for Safe Mode using the arrow keys.
  • Then press enter on your keyboard to boot into Safe Mode.
  • uninstall the graphics drivers
That should force Windows to reset the display parameters.

As for your Product Key problem: product keys are not stored on the CD. Any valid key will work for any CD (provided they're the same version of Windows).

#3 lhamil64

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 03:29 PM

I had tried safe mode. It starts to boot up, and then it restarts. I'll try the option that says "Disable automatic restart on system failure"

And for the CD key thing, are the keys stored on the internet or something? if they are then that might be the problem because i have wireless on this computer. I had got the internet working but i'm not sure if it would work during repair/install.

#4 Budapest

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 03:44 PM

You should check for a sticker on the side of your computer case which should have the License Key.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

—George Bernard Shaw

#5 Andrew

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 05:13 PM

Keys aren't technically stored anywhere. What happens is that MS created a special, secret algorithm that generates a key, which is then sold to a customer along with a disk. On the disk, there is a validation program that checks the key you enter against the secret algorithm and yields a "good" or a "bad" answer. Then Windows contacts one of Microsoft's servers that has a secondary validation program which recheck's the key against the agorithm as well as againsts lists of keys that have been issued, keys that have already been used once, and keys which have been blacklisted. If your key fails the algorithm check or is on the "already used" or "blacklisted" lists or is doesn't appear on the "has been issued" list, then it fails activation and you have to contact MS to correct the issue.

Thus any key which has been issued but not used or blacklisted will work on any Windows CD provided the key and the CD are for the same version of Windows (i.e. a key for XP Pro won't work on XP Home or 2000 Pro, etc.)

#6 lhamil64

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 06:41 PM

Oh i think i get it. It's weird though, its almost instant that it shows the "invalid key" error. I guess ill quit the repair and try to boot up. Unless it will automatically will start the repair installer from now on (that would suck) if that happens, i guess ill have to call up MS to figure it out.

#7 usasma

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 08:57 AM

Boot errors with black screens are commonly caused by 3 things with XP:
1) Hard drive issues (not real common)
2) Corrupted boot sectors (the repair should've fixed this)
3) Corrupted/missing video drivers (most common)

I would guess that the system didn't come with XP Pro on it (XP Home seems to be the choice of OS when only 128 mB of RAM is installed). Are you using the Dell CD's that came with the computer? If so, contact Dell for a solution (I did this not long ago with Win98 and Dell was very helpful). The sticker on the case should say if it's XP Pro or XP Home also - and, as you've found out, they're not interchangeable! :thumbsup:
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

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#8 lhamil64

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 09:26 AM

Well, we were helping someone clean out a shed and this computer was found in there. So i am not using the dell CD's. It came with XP Home on it but i do not have an xp home disk. I still don't get why the CD key wouldn't work though.

#9 usasma

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 09:35 AM

Because the CD key is for XP Home NOT XP Pro. I'd suggest either borrowing an XPHome CD (technically a violation of the EULA, BTW) or contacting Dell for a set of replacement CD's (usually a lot less expensive than buying an XPHome CD).
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#10 lhamil64

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 09:51 AM

I think there is a miscommunication here. I installed XP Pro on this machine. I am trying to use the same CD key that came with the XP Pro cd i am using. I had gotton xp pro to install, but now during a repair it is asking for the key again (which i am entering correctly) but it's coming up with an error saying invalid cd key. I actually do not own an XP Home cd-rom. The only way i had xp home on this box was because it came with it. I tried formatting to but Linux on it. XP Home is long gone now (because i have formatted it like 3 times lol)

Sorry if i was a little unclear.

#11 usasma

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 10:10 AM

The XPPro key should work with the XPPro CD. Are you using a different CD from the original that you installed XPPro with? If you're using (for example) an XPPro OEM key - it may not work with an XPPro Retail version.

Extracting the CD key from the installation that's currently on the hard drive should be possible - but I don't know how to do that without booting into Windows. If there's nothing to save on the current installation I'd suggest that you format the hard drive and start over with a clean install of XPPro.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#12 lhamil64

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 12:23 PM

OK if i can't get it working, i guess i'll have to do that.




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