How to Change the Windows XP Product Type From OEM to Volume Key

Written by mike benson
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How to Change the Windows XP Product Type From OEM to Volume Key
Help changing the Windows XP product type from OEM to Volume License. (computer help image by Kelly Kane from

Windows XP distributions have different product types. Each product type has its own specific set of product keys. If you download a copy of Windows XP from the MSDN or some other location, it is not uncommon to be given the wrong ISO for the product key you have. Unfortunately, you usually will not know this until you have already installed XP and it tells you the product key is invalid. Luckily, even if you have already installed Windows XP, you can change the product type without having to uninstall.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Windows XP CD (Volume Licensing copy)

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  1. 1

    Power on your computer and insert the Windows XP CD. At the first bootup screen, press the "Delete" key to go into the BIOS set-up. If this does not bring you into the BIOS, look at the bottom of the first or second screen upon bootup. There will be a key specified next to the word "Setup." Press the corresponding key to enter set-up.

  2. 2

    Within your BIOS set-up, look for something called "Boot Device Priority." Select it by moving the arrow keys on your keyboard and press "Enter." If you do not see that particular section, look for a line labelled "Advanced BIOS Features." Navigate to that section and press "Enter."

  3. 3

    No matter which of those lines were applicable for you, you will see a line called "First Boot Device." Navigate to that line and press "Enter." You will either be given the choice to select an option or you will be cycling through the options when pressing "Enter." Choose the "CD-ROM" option.

  4. 4

    At the bottom of the BIOS, there will be a key next to the words, "Save and Exit Setup." Press the key and confirm the changes.

  5. 5

    Once your computer reboots, the Windows XP Installation Setup Wizard will start. You will not be reinstalling Windows. The documents, applications and settings on your computer will remain. Once the Windows XP set-up has loaded, press your "Enter" key when prompted to start set-up.

  6. 6

    Press "F8" to acknowledge agreement at the license agreement page. Your existing copy of Windows XP will appear in a list. Select your copy of Windows and press the "R" key on your keyboard.

  7. 7

    A dialogue box will ask you to confirm you want to repair this copy of Windows. Follow the onscreen instructions and the repair process will begin to replace your existing Windows OEM system files with the ones from the Volume License version.

    Again, so long as you follow these instructions exactly, this will not replace your existing documents or applications.

  8. 8

    Restart your computer once repair has completed. Go back into your BIOS and change the boot order back to the default, then save and exit. Remove the CD from the drive and the computer will now boot into Windows.

  9. 9

    Log in to Windows as an administrator. You may proceed with entering your Volume License Product Key, and the operating system will now acknowledge it as valid. Finalise by proceeding with the normal activation procedures.

Tips and warnings

  • Depending on the version of your Windows ISO file, you may have to reapply several Windows updates.
  • Do not use the "Push R to enter the Recovery Console" repair option. Only after you have got past the license agreement and see your existing installation in the list is it safe to use repair.

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