Article ID: 918342 - View products that this article applies to.
Warning The steps in this article only apply to Volume License media. If you follow these steps on OEM media or on retail media, you will not change the product key.
When you use a leaked product key in a Volume Licensing installation to install Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Server 2003 on multiple computers, various issues may occur.
Note A leaked product key is a product key that is available to the general public.
For example, you may not be able to install Windows service packs or to automatically obtain updates from the Windows Update Web site. You may experience the symptoms that are described in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base articles when you install a Windows service pack:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/326904/ )You receive a "The product key used to install Windows is invalid" error message
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/883254/ )You receive a "The product key used to install Microsoft Windows may not be valid" error message when you try to install Windows XP Service Pack 2
842196This article describes how to change the Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 Volume Licensing product key after a Volume Licensing installation. For this procedure, you can use the Windows Activation Wizard graphical user interface (GUI) or a Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) script. The Activation Wizard method may be easier. However, you may prefer the script method if you must change the product key for multiple computers.
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/842196/ )"The product key used to install Microsoft Windows may not be valid" error message when you try to install a Windows update in Windows Server 2003
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:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756/ )How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
If you do not have to change many Volume Licensing product keys, you can use the Activation Wizard.
Note We recommend that you run System Restore on Windows XP to create a new restore point before you follow these steps. For information about how to create a restore point by using System Restore, see the "To Create a Restore Point" help topic in Help and Support.
Use a scriptYou can create a WMI script that changes the Volume Licensing product key, and then deploy this script in a startup script. The ChangeVLKey2600.vbs and ChangeVLKeySP1 sample scripts use the new Volume Licensing key that you want to use, in a five-part alphanumeric form, as a single argument. We recommend that you use the ChangeVLKey2600.vbs script on Windows XP-based computers that are not running Service Pack 1 (SP1) or a later service pack. We also recommend that you use the ChangeVLKeySP1.vbs script on Windows XP-based computers that are running SP1 or a later service pack. These scripts perform the following functions:
For more information about how to script the product key, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
You can use the ChangeVLKeySP1.vbs script from a command line by performing the following action:
Click Start, click Run type the following command, and then click OK:
c:\changevlkeysp1.vbs ab123-123ab-ab123-123ab-ab123Note In this command, ab123-123ab-ab123-123ab-ab123 is a placeholder that represents the new product key.
Article ID: 918342 - Last Review: December 11, 2007 - Revision: 3.5
Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.