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A Big Problem


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#1 1up2down

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 03:11 PM

I recently purchased an XP Professional retail version from a seller on ebay. When it arrived it looked perfectly genuine and completely sealed. However, the box says it's for PCs with Windows 95 or earlier, or PCs without Windows. Almost immediately after it arrived, I received an e-mail from ebay saying they had removed this seller for breaches of their policies and advising me that I did not need to complete the transaction. But as they have removed him, I have no way of contacting him. Still, that's not the problem, I am sorting that out with ebay.

My concern is if this version of XP Pro is genuine or not, and if it is, then I'm wondering if it could be faulty or just a quirk of this particular version. It does not seem to install like any other. First of all, it would only install on a drive without any other operating system on it. OK I thought, it does say that on the box, so I installed it on a spare drive I had. Then realising I needed to copy something off the drive with the other system installed on it, I disconnected the drive and switched back to my other drive. When I had copied what I needed, I switched back again, only to find it would not boot up again, saying the NTLDR was missing.

OK, I knew how to copy this from the CD on boot up, so I was not too worried. However, there was no way of getting to the Recovery Console by pressing R to do this. So I decided to try repairing the system by installing over the top of the existing system as I had successfully done before. What it did though was to install a second system on the same C drive. They both boot up and there has not been an additional partition created when it was installed.

All this seems very strange to me, so has anyone any advice they can give me.

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#2 Albert Frankenstein

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 05:40 PM

At first blush it does not sound like a fake to me. But I am not sure on that.

You didn't say whether this version came with a sticker with a Product Key on it. Nor did you say whether you were able to activate this version. Both of those items would help authenticate the item.

Also, the disk should be holographic and have a wavy edge to the design if it is authentic.
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#3 1up2down

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 05:51 PM

At first blush it does not sound like a fake to me. But I am not sure on that.

You didn't say whether this version came with a sticker with a Product Key on it. Nor did you say whether you were able to activate this version. Both of those items would help authenticate the item.

Also, the disk should be holographic and have a wavy edge to the design if it is authentic.


Sorry, I took it for granted that by saying I had installed it that everyone would know I had used the product key. As for activating, I always thought that XP pro didn't require activating.

#4 Albert Frankenstein

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 08:43 PM

Sorry, I took it for granted that by saying I had installed it that everyone would know I had used the product key. As for activating, I always thought that XP pro didn't require activating.

Yes, XP Pro requires activating. And beyond the key, what I was asking about is the sticker. The sticker is made to only stick once. It is tough to remove from a unit. Did you get the original sticker with this?
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#5 zbd

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 09:56 PM

Run the "big fix" program to correct missing requirements. Good luck. http://www.majorgeeks.com/BigFix_d677.html

#6 1up2down

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 01:00 AM

Sorry, I took it for granted that by saying I had installed it that everyone would know I had used the product key. As for activating, I always thought that XP pro didn't require activating.

Yes, XP Pro requires activating. And beyond the key, what I was asking about is the sticker. The sticker is made to only stick once. It is tough to remove from a unit. Did you get the original sticker with this?


As I said earlier, everything looks genuine enough. All brand new and still boxed and sealed. The sticker has obviously never been removed from it's place on the folder in which the CD was in. But what amazes me is the fact that it's installed itself twice on the same drive. I thought that was impossible with any OS. Looking in My Computer and on the C Drive, I see one Program Files folder but two WINDOWS folders. Booting to one OS I see everything I installed, but booting the other OS it's just a bare clean install.

I think what might have happened is that when allowing it to install again, it must have thought it was updating an older version of Windows. So I guess what I need to find out is, how do I remove the second install, and how do I replace the missing NTLDR on the original install if I can remove the second one.

#7 1up2down

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 01:03 AM

Run the "big fix" program to correct missing requirements. Good luck. http://www.majorgeeks.com/BigFix_d677.html


Thanks for trying, but somehow I don't think this problem is going to get solved by Big Fix, although I have never used that program before and don't know too much about it.

#8 Enthusiast

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 02:01 AM

The duplicate installation may be the result of an error in the way you installed it.

Install it again but this time format the drive then partition it to accomodate which partition you want to install it in.

The reference to W95 may just be a result of it being a very old XP cd.

It doesn't sound like it's an upgrade version.

Win XP Pro will have to be activated regardless of which version you may have, even if it's an OEM version. Once installed properly it will prompt you to do so immediately and continue prompting, and if you haven't done so by the 30th day it will shut down and become unuseable. (this may actually be part of the SP2 upgrade which is absolutely necessary to have if this computer is to be connected to the Internet)

The "Sticker" albert referred to is called the COA which has a 25 digit unique key code which you need to activate your installation.

The following may help:
How to tell if MS Software is genuine
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/howtotell/en/faq.mspx

How to tell if a coa is genuine
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/howtotell/en/coa.mspx

If you unknowingly purchased a counterfeit Windows Op System
Genuine Windows offer
http://www.microsoft.com/genuine/downloads/FAQ.aspx
http://www.microsoft.com/genuine/downloads...?displaylang=en

Microsoft Product Activation Facts
http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/activation_faq.mspx

How to perform a Clean Install Windows XP
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/cleanxpinstall.html

Edited by Enthusiast, 05 December 2006 - 02:03 AM.


#9 Enthusiast

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 02:13 AM

Run the "big fix" program to correct missing requirements. Good luck. http://www.majorgeeks.com/BigFix_d677.html


Big Fix is actually a program that you install and allow to run in the background to automate updates.
I have used it in the past and it works pretty well, although with XP having automatic update capability Big Fix becomes somewhat redundant.

#10 1up2down

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 04:07 AM

If I format the drive, there is no problem reinstalling this OS, the only problem with that is, on my original install I have already installed some programs that have limited licenses. If I do another clean install, I may loose these programs altogether as I had to re-apply for the licenses after I installed them.

As for it being an old CD, I wouldn't have thought it could be that old as it comes complete with SP2.

OK, so now down to the activation. With my old XP Home Edition, yes after installing it gives you 30 days to activate it. Then I purchased an XP Pro x64 version which I found to have a lot of compatibility problems. This did not give me 30 days to activate it. Mind you, you could not get an SP2 download for a 64 bit version either. I made some enquires about the activation and somebody told me that XP Pro did not require activation.

Anyway, with all the problems I was having, I decided to push the boat out and get a 32 bit version of XP Pro which I now have this problem with. Again, this version has not given me 30 days to activate it, so I presumed the guy was right and that XP Pro does not require activating.

But this new 32 bit version I brought is definately different to any other OS I've have come across. With all the others. if after booting up your computer, you put the CD in the drive, it usually automatically starts and asks you what you want to do, repair the present installation, or install it again on another partition. With this CD it only continues to show the LED bleeping in the drive and nothing else. Searching the help centre tells you how you can go to Start and Run to install a recovery console from the CD, but that doesn't work either. It just asks you to put the CD in the drive when it's already in there.

I think it's a genuine enough copy though, and that the only reason the seller was removed for breaches of ebay policies was because he was not describing the items he was selling correctly, which is how come I ended up with these problems. A case of buyer beware, LOL.

Maybe I should simply accept the loss and purchase another Windows XP Pro, hopefully one which is not originally intended for updating older versions, and which I can do normal repairs with.

#11 Enthusiast

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 06:52 AM

Windows XP Pro definitely requires activation - that's what I am using on the computer I am using now, and I built the computer and installed XP Pro myself.

If your install disk has SP2 it is not that old. The reference to W95 ("However, the box says it's for PCs with Windows 95 or earlier, or PCs without Windows") is what made me think it was old.

The fix would be a full format, partitioning the hard drive the way you want it.

Other programs you have installed should have keys which should allow for reinstallation should you have a hard drive failure or a problem like the one you are now experiencing.

By the way, you mentioned "searching the help center". Does that mean that you got the boot-up to complete and that XP is installed and operating?

I don't see a reason to buy another copy. All that would give you that you do not already have is another license/key number.

One thing to look at is to make sure that the cd is listed as the first boot device in the bios so the computer boots from the cd - not the hard drive. Then you should be able to invoke the recovery console, check system files, rebuild the boot.ini, etc.

Edited by Enthusiast, 05 December 2006 - 06:59 AM.


#12 1up2down

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 12:30 PM

Yes, it does boot up, but after it went faulty, it would only boot if the installation CD was in the drive. Then as there was no repair console to copy the missing NTLDR file to Windows, I tried to repair the system using the CD to install over the top of the original installation, and this was when it installed another operating system on the same drive.

But tell me, how do you activate XP Pro if it's not instructing you to do so on the taskbar?

Yes, the programs do have keys, but you only get two unlocks. Then if for a very good reason like upgrading, you can get another two unlocks. I asked for the additional unlocks when I installed this system, so only have one left for each of the programs.

Why I was considering buying another XP Pro is because with the 64 bit version I have, when anything goes wrong, you have the repair console you can use to copy files back onto the system, or even do a complete reinstall over the original to repair it, leaving all your programs and what have you intact. This version does not do that, it only installs another OS instead. I would stick with my 64 bit version if it were not for most of my hardware and programs being incompatible.

#13 usasma

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 01:03 PM

Since it runs, contact Microsoft and ask them about the key - that'll settle the issue of legitimacy. I believe that they have a toll free number for these issues,
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