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Microsoft’s new Windows Product Activation presents support techs with all sorts of new challenges, including the need to have a valid product key to install, or reinstall, Windows XP on workstations.But what do you do if you can’t find the CD with the original key that matches the machine you’re working on? For years, Microsoft has (quite legitimately) been concerned about piracy issues surrounding its products.I think this is a hassle, but in the case of XP to 7, it's necessary.I was asked to "upgrade" a relative's machine from Windows XP to Windows 7, so I figured this was a good time to write-up the experience in case it helps others.Some folks who apparently have a pile of operating systems discs have proposed that one could upgrade from XP to Vista, then from Vista to Windows 7, but I think that's insane.Most PC experts will recommend you start fresh and "pave" your machine anyway.After the key has been activated, it can’t be used on another workstation unless you’re using a Volume-Licensed version of Windows XP.That means each Windows XP workstation in your organization has a different product key.
If you’re using an earlier version of Windows, Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder will display the product key you used during installation.If you're going to proceed with an upgrade, fire up Windows XP and follow the instructions below.The upgrade can be performed using a bootable DVD or USB Flash Drive.For exa My experience with users who perform an in place upgrade bears out they almost invariably end up being dissatisfied and end up doing a clean install within a few months.Upgrade installs have dramatically improved over the years and Windows 8 is likely the best yet, but it still can't compare to a clean install. You may save time right now doing the upgrade, but if you do a clean install within a few months, that saved time is false economy.