Why is my actual Product KEy different from Dell COA sticker's? Product ID vs Product Key? reinstall

Discussion in 'Windows OS and Software' started by lucirz, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. lucirz

    lucirz Notebook Consultant

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    Ok so this post will be separated into several parts/questions for clarity. I'm not sure why i didn't post this years earlier because i've had the disc for years but was too lazy to ask this question and am curious now. Basically i bought an inspiron 1520 with windows XP home and it came
    with a windows xp home"re-installation disc" as pictured below. Now i was curious and i used magic jelly bean key finder and found that the product key on the back of my computer aka the "COA product key" is different from the product key listed by the key finder program. NOW i've already searched and read posts on this but maybe i'm so dumb that i still don't understand it so i need some more clarity.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    1) Why is the product key (COA sticker) different from the Product key listed by jelly bean key finder?
    What's the Difference between a product ID and product key? The reason i ask is because i've used the re installation disc to install windows xp on several computers of different brands, not just dell, and using the magic jelly bean key finder, it shows they all the the same product id and product key.
    That is the product id is : 76477-OEM-0011903-00102
    And the product key is RCBF6-6KDMK-GD6GR-K6DP3-4C8MT
    What does the product ID actually refer to and what does the product key refer to in this case?

    I read on several forums that supposedly there is a check that goes on when using the re installation CD and it checked the bios for the product keys or to make sure it's valid or some stuff like that? IF So, how comes all the product KEys are same? are the product keys stored in the bios or does the disc contain it already? Since i was never asked to enter a product key upon installation!! i'm confused by what people mean when they say "stored in bios".
    Also when i tried and downloaded a legit RETAIL copy of windows xp home from digitalriver (when they were still online) to test, the product key on the back sticker of my computer didn't work, NEITHER did the product key that i got from the magic jelly bean key finder. This leads my into my next question:


    2) What's the purpose of the product Key sticker on the back of computer? That COA sticker with the product key is supposed to be used to reinstall the OS right? But when i used the re installation disc that was provided by dell to reinstall the OS, i was never prompted to enter any product key. BUt when i tried the product key on the sticker for a retail version of windows xp home, IT DIDN'T WORK so WTF is the point of it??? Also why didn't the product key provided by jelly magic bean key finder work for the retail windows xp home edition either?


    3) i read on several founds that the OEM re-installation disc was only supposed to be for MY particular computer and won't work on another computer, especially if it's not a DELL brand. But
    I was able to use the CD to install on a several dell inspiron 1520 and vostro 1500 (ok they're basically the same computer so i see why i could), but, I i was also able to install on a dell inspiron 700m, dell optipliex gx260 desktop, 2 HP laptops, 1 Compaq laptop, AND A custom built
    desktop my brother built from 2001 with custom specs. AND at NO TIME i was ever prompted to enter any product Key for the windows xp home? So this means the product key was built into the disc? Also i never had any problems post install with authentication or anything, it
    basically said i had a legit copy, so i'm confused, i thought i was not supposed to be able to use the re-installation disc to install Windows xp on a dell computer of a different model, LET ALONE a DIFFERENT BRAND like HP or a custom built desktop!. SO why was i able to?


    4) Now since 2007, i have not bought a new computer at all and still am using xp (don't laugh). But i've heard that re-installation Discs no longer comes with the purchase because manufacturers are cheap now and that they provide a "recovery partition" that just basically restore and image back to factory settings, but you can't really use it to install a clean OS like my re-installation disc used to do? MY bro recently bought an HP laptop and they tried to charge him like $30 for the REcovery DIsc/USB. But the recovery disc /recovery partition preinstalled into laptops these days are different than my re-installation disc from 2007 right? in that they are basically an image of the OS with drivers/programs at factory state, but don't allow you to install a new and clean OS installation correct?

    PLease help a dumbass like me understand, thanks
     
  2. KLF

    KLF NBR Super Modernator Super Moderator

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    1 . COA sticker key is your personal license key for that particular computer, it is unique.

    Sticker key is not used during large scale manufacturing (who would want to be THAT guy who types license keys all day long), instead they use same key for every computer. Like the one you listed there. System is built in three parts: computer motherboard bios has one part, the key itself is second part and the third is a certificate inserted into the install media. When all three are found and they match each others, installation activates without internet connection. When they don't match, windows should prompt for a proper key.

    2. Back in the old days the COA sticker would activate any retail CD Windows of same version without any problem. Some jerks found that out, and they bought like 1000 DELL computers, built 1000 of their own and took sticker keys from DELLs, saving the cost for 1000 system builder licenses. Since then system was changed, the COA sticker would not automatically activate, instead they all require phone call activation. They would also know what batches of COA stickers could be stolen or sold illegally and they can be blacklisted altogether...

    Anything from Windows XP to 7 works the same technically.
    Windows 8,8.1 and 10 store their key in bios so the system is reversed.

    3. I'd mainly say the idea is that the install discs have built in drivers for certain computer it was sold with. It might cause strange behaviour or simply not work in a different computer at all. Or it might work perfectly... Depending on the hardware and luck :p Recovery disc might also have other software than windows bundled in and those could be licensed for certain model only.

    4. Size of OS installations has grown a lot, recovery partition contains different programs and probably several different languages of them too. Instead of a recovery disc, it would be like 28 CD's or 8 DVD's now. Most new computers that I've seen, tell you to create your own recovery USB drive or stick first. It would take a 16 or 32GB thumb drive or external hdd. Since they aren't mass produced in large scale anymore, those few who didn't make the backup themselves and now need recovery discs/usb need to pay more.

    Luckily OS install discs Win7-> can be downloaded from Microsoft for free, so clean install is simple now. Since windows 8 even key isn't needed as the setup program (should) read it from the bios during install.

    I probably forgot or missed something, so.... ask :)
     
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  3. lucirz

    lucirz Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for the DEtailed explanation but i still do have some questions.

    1) i'm still confused as to the COA sticker's purpose originally? it's supposed to be entered as the product key when re-installing the OS? again, not sure what the point of it is since i never had to enter it and since the COA sticker product key NEVER worked when i entered it on an actual windows xp REtail Disc (not the reinstallation disc i was given). ALso when you say: "computer motherboard bios has one part, the key itself is second part and the third is a certificate inserted into the install media". if the mobo bios has one part, and the certificate inserted into the install media is one part...where is this Key for the second part located?
    Still confuses me cause i was able to install the OS on different computers with different brand, different bios and part with no problem...
    Also still under what's the different between the product key and product ID found under jelly bean and how come it's the same for all the computers i've installed xp home on using the re-installation disc?

    3) the re-installation disc that was given to me in the picture above did NOT re-install any Drivers or programs, only the WIndows OS and a completely clean install. in fact the drivers were located on other discs as well as with the factory programs. The re-installation disc functioned like a retail Windows xp home disc, except it never asked for product keys or required activation lol, so that really confused me.

    4) so you're saying for newer laptops and newer windows OS, if you download the clean install disc for windows through Microsoft, you're never required to provide a product key cause it reads from the bios? Also i'm still confused as to what is actually stored in the bios? the bios stores the product key from the COA sticker?

    THANKS
     
  4. KLF

    KLF NBR Super Modernator Super Moderator

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    How did you try the activation? You first went thru automatic internet activation, which said no. Then you phoned the automated system and typed those bazillion codes with your keypad. When that didn't work, system transferred you to a real person who told you in person your license key was invalid?

    It's also in the recovery media. But if you use a clean retail disc, even if you knew the key (like you do) you wouldn't have matching certificate and key wouldn't work.

    System isn't perfect :p Some parts are interchangeable within limits.

    ID is just something that's calculated from the key but that's about what I know. As far as I know, ID has no use anywhere. I guess it could be broken down to tell you OS version and something like that but there are simpler ways to tell it when you are in front of a PC...

    Then you got one of the good discs :) That would have been accompanied with a separate drivers disc originally.

    That's why the windows new 8 and 10 stickers look different
    [​IMG]
    Key is in bios and accessible with certain programs:
    [​IMG]
    The key is unique to that motherboard. If the motherboard is warranty replaced, it should also contain new key.

    Sometimes installation programs don't read the key correctly (hasn't happened to me tho). If that happens, one has to install correct OS manually and hope it autoactivates after install... or dig the key out with a keyfinder and enter it manually.
     
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