Article ID: 328874 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q328874
Warning The steps in the article are effective only on Volume License media. If you try these steps on OEM media or on retail media, you will not change the product key. When you install Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, the media must match the product key. That is, the channel (MSDN, retail, OEM, Volume License, and so on), the SKU (Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, and so on), and the language (English, French, and so on) must match between the product key and the media. This is necessary so that you can successfully enter the product key. If the installation media does not match the product key, you receive the following error message:
If you use a "leaked" product key (a product key that is known to be available to the public) to deploy Windows XP across multiple computers (a Volume Licensing installation), you might be unable to install Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) and later versions of Windows XP, or automatically obtain updates from the Windows Update Web site. For example, you might receive the following error message when you install Windows XP SP1 and later versions of Windows XP:
Product Key is invalid.
This article is intended for an advanced computer user. You might find it easier to follow the steps if you print this article first.
The Product Key used to install Windows is invalid. Please contact your system administrator or retailer immediately to obtain a valid Product Key. You may also contact Microsoft Corporation's Anti-Piracy Team by emailing email@example.com if you think you have purchased pirated Microsoft software. Please be assured that any personal information you send to the Microsoft Anti-Piracy Team will be kept in strict confidence.
PrerequisitesYou must have a valid product key before you can use the information in this article. To obtain a valid product key, click the following link to contact the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center:
Steps to change the volume licensing product keyThis article describes two methods for how to change the Windows XP product key after a Volume Licensing installation to resolve the issue. One method uses the Windows Activation Wizard graphical user interface (GUI) and the other method uses a Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) script. The Activation Wizard method is easier. However, if you must change the product key for multiple computers, the script method is more suitable.
Method 1: Use the Activation WizardImportant This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756If you only have a few volume licensing product keys to change, you can use the Activation Wizard.
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756/ )How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
Note We recommend that you run System Restore to create a new restore point before you follow these steps.
Reactivate Windows and add new product key
Method 2: Use a scriptIf you must change the product key for multiple computers, we recommend this method. You can create a WMI script that changes the volume licensing product key, and then deploy this script in a startup script.
The sample ChangeVLKey2600.vbs script and the sample ChangeVLKeySP1 script that are described in this section use the new volume licensing key that you want to enter as a single argument. It is in a five-part alphanumeric form.
We recommend that you use the ChangeVLKey2600.vbs script on Windows XP-based computers that are not running Windows XP SP1 and later versions of Windows XP and that you use the ChangeVLKeySP1.vbs script on Windows XP-based computers that are running Windows XP SP1 and later versions of Windows XP. These scripts perform the following functions:
ExamplesFor more information about how to script the product key, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
The following example shows how to use the ChangeVLKeySP1.vbs script from a command line:
http://www.microsoft.com/genuine/default.aspxIf you can install SP1 or a later version of Windows XP and you can restart Windows, you have resolved the issue. If the issue has not been resolved, see the "Next Steps" section.
If these methods did not help you, you might want to continue to troubleshoot on your own by using the following Microsoft Web sites:
For more information about invalid product keys, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/326904/ )Error message when you install Windows XP Service Pack 1 (S about invalid product keys) or Service Pack 2 (S): "The product key used to install Windows is invalid"
Article ID: 328874 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 11.0