I was installing the OEM version of Windows 95 on VirtualBox the other day for reminiscence sake, and for some reason I had two different product keys. I tested both of them to see which one mapped to the CD, and to my surprise both product keys work with the installation. I always thought the product key and CD were one-to-one, but is this not so with Windows 95?
When Windows 95 was first introduced, at that time access to the Internet was still very uncommon, with people using 14.4 kilobit in about 1994 or so. All computers could not be guaranteed to have modems to call in to a licensing registry, and Ethernet was uncommon except in schools and businesses. So how would the software be able to easily know if a product key was being uniquely entered for each installation?
Most modern standardized Windows install media can be used an unlimited number of times, but requires a unique product key for each installation. The product keys themselves are tied to hardware inside the computer, commonly the MAC address of the network interface, which every modern computer now includes integrated by default.
For modern Windows installations that include Windows preinstalled and no product activation is needed, that is a special short-run customized installation media used by a vendor for all their products. That install media is not uniquely tied to that specific computer, but will work for any similar system from the same product family.
CD distribution media is difficult/expensive to make unique. I once worked on a very low-volume product. We devised a technique to make the CD "proof of purchase" i.e. baked the product key into a unique CD which could not be copied.
Our technique relied on burning a writable CD and then making a small scratch on the label side at a fairly specific radial distance. The CD distribution included one huge file which contained nothing more than the product key in a specific encoding and pattern. The scratch rendered some portion of this file unreadable. The installation process would read this file and expect to find it mostly readable with the correct data pattern, and some portion unreadable. If the file met this criteria, it would accept the CD and register the installed software with the license key encoded in the file. Any attempt to copy the CD would fail because of the damaged file.
The technique itself worked well. We could reliably produce a CD that could not be copied and was proof of purchase. It worked for our low-volume product (a few dozen copies), might have been sustainable for hundreds of copies, but impractical for larger distributions because each CD had a one-off generated license file which took time to generate and even longer to burn the distribution onto the CD. Typical CD distributions involve a CD master which is pressed in the same way as vinyl records; each CD is identical.
Bottom line: while it is possible to bind a product key to a specific key (we demonstrated one way to do it), it isn't practical or economic to do for anything published in volume, especially not on the scale of an O/S.
To use KMS, you need to have a KMS host available on your local network. Computers that activate with a KMS host need to have a specific product key. This key is sometimes referred to as the KMS client key, but it is formally known as a Microsoft Generic Volume License Key (GVLK). Computers that are running volume licensing editions of Windows Server and Windows client are, by default, KMS clients with no extra configuration needed as the relevant GVLK is already there.
If you want to activate Windows without a KMS host available and outside of a volume-activation scenario (for example, you're trying to activate a retail version of Windows client), these keys will not work. You will need to use another method of activating Windows, such as using a MAK, or purchasing a retail license. Get help to find your Windows product key and learn about genuine versions of Windows.
If you are converting a computer from a KMS host, MAK, or retail edition of Windows to a KMS client, install the applicable product key (GVLK) from the list below. To install a client product key, open an administrative command prompt on the client, and run the following command and then press Enter:
We recommend that you use the Windows user interface to change your system settings instead of manually editing the registry. However, editing the registry may sometimes be the best method to resolve a product issue. If the issue is documented in the Microsoft Knowledge Base, an article with step-by-step instructions to edit the registry for that issue will be available. We recommend that you follow those instructions exactly.
Data Protection Manager (DPM) is a key member of the Microsoft System Center family of management products and is designed to help IT professionals manage their Windows environment. DPM is the new standard for Windows backup and recovery and delivers continuous data protection for Microsoft application and file servers that use seamlessly integrated disk and tape media. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, see How to back up and restore the registry in Windows XP and Windows Vista.
Windows 98 is a continuation of the Windows 95 product. The major change is an insanely heavy focus on web integration. The help system, many applications, and even the desktop are redesigned to make use of Internet Explorer. Windows 98 runs on top of the same "MS-DOS 7.1" with FAT32 support as Windows 95 OSR2, and it includes support for USB. Windows 98 had two major releases - a First Edition and a Second Edition. It was followed up by Windows ME.
Note You should follow this method if this error code occurs after you upgrade from Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition.Start from the Windows XP CD-ROM, and then perform an in-place upgrade repair. Make sure that you use a valid product key. For more information about performing an in-place upgrade, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Note In the previous command, you must replace File_Name.extension with the file name from the list of files in this step. Additionally, File_Name.old represents the new name for the file name. For example, use the following command for the Wpa.dbl file:
To work around this problem, use one of the following methods.Note If the methods in this section are unsuitable for your situation, then use the methods in the "Workaround for an error code that is not in this list" section, and begin with Method 1.
The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.
If you want to make up your own key of the form nnn-nnnnnnn, it seems that the first three digits can be any number you like while the last seven digits must add up to a multiple of seven. A really boring (but easy to type key) is: 111-1111111This key has been used successfully with: BackOffice 4.5 (Beta 2) Flight Simulator 98 (OEM) Liquid Motion 1.0 Monster Truck Madness Office 97 Pro Plus! 98 Publisher 98 SQL Server Enterprise Edition Visual C++ 6.0 Standard Edition Visual Studio 6 (Enterprise and Pro) and 97 Windows NT Word 97 I have also read that if you take an upgrade CD key and add one to the first set of numbers (whether three or four digit) then the CD key will be for the full edition. If that didn't work, try this:465-6389583I am not sure what CD this is from, but I am compiling a list of all Microsoft applications that this CD Key works with. It seems to have been the standard with older CD's (95 thru 97). This key has been used successfully with: Flight Simulator 95 Monster Truck Madness Office 98 for MacIntosh Office 2001 for MacIntosh Publisher 97 Publisher 98 (with 0465 in first block) Sidewinder Game Pad CD Visual Basic 4.0 Enterprise Visual Basic 6.0a Professional Edition Visual C++ 4.0 and 5.0 Visual C++ 4.0 Professional Visual C++ 5.0 Professional Edition Visual C++ 6.0 Pro Visual Studio 97 Windows NT 4.0 Workstation Windows 95/98 Plus! Windows 95 Upgrade Windows 98 Beta 3 Works 4.5
Windows 98If your computer came with Windows 98 (i.e. you did not upgrade your computer to Windows 98), you may need to use an OEM number which you find via this link. With Windows 98, MS seems to have gone crazy with the length of the CD Key or Product Key. There see to only be about three common families of CD keys, OEM, full retail, and upgrade retail. The main thing seems to be just using a CD key from the same family. Two less common families are corporate (which can sometimes bypass the mandatory registration process) and academic. Windows 98 Second Edition keys are broken out in a separate section below.Some Windows 98 CD Keys you can try are: VYK42-6KXD9-2C333-3D898-J97HP R3TQR-PQTKG-HBVQ9-YBFH3-CGCRT worked with German full, English full (OEM), UK Edition, Compaq English, Spanish Full, Dutch, Compaq and IBM Recovery CDs, and U.S. Second Edition (SE) OEM, Dell SE laptop, Toshiba 4100XDVD. RRXHQ-M3YTR-3BGRT-CQMC2-6K4C4 Q2YHH-GYWV2-MDXCD-H9P2X-HYVMM worked with several versions including SE (Second Edition), UK Edition, and US OEM. R34DV-VB6WM-XMHHV-WM4Q2-WBB3Y is supposed to work with all version of first edition Windows 98 (4.10.98), UK Edition. T7J8Q-MH7RP-9H9J2-2HVFG-C3X2M worked with four U.S. retail versions (4.10.1998) as well as second edition version. JJK9P-G8JYJ-X24RC-XTFJ4-K9W4W worked with English retail version (CA), UK Edition. MMHK7-QPHQG-KMTP9-7GTJY-JQ6XM worked with English Retail Second Edition v4.10.2222A. Also, HP 4440 recovery disk, UK Edition. XB88B-9B96V-CRJPG-64882-GQBDD Full verison, not upgrade, also Second Edition, UK Edition DJK2X-6XFJB-Q9J7J-WGC7P-WMHYG Compaq, HP, IBM, etc., UK Edition HGBRM-RBK3V-M9FXV-YCXDK-V38J4 Apr 98 Beta MD97J-QC7R7-TQJGD-3V2WM-W7PVM came with English Developer's Connection Version. Seems to work with same CD's as T7J8Q... above. Also Japanese version. D3Y8F-CM34T-BMGVJ-23JCC-PGMBG MPRJW-T87XX-3QR6V-QDHYG-VW2MX DCTB2-4RV9D-3TXP2-F89JK-26XWQ Universal key for all languages MP4F9-W6C8V-HTCCT-T7M7R-Y7K3Y BRC8V-TJ2MK-KB97T-WVYH6-MB4YB K4HVD-99TJ9-6CRXG-C9G68-R92D3 OEM French WIN98SE F6G3X-R7TMG-7HKWR-YHKQJ-KHJDQ BQRYF-BQ4BF-Q4VFX-D9PRC-YTCV7 French Update CD HBM43-PD86Y-9R8HM-4GM8H-TVG3Q UK Edition BHB6V-JYFJ8-V9C47-QDB6B-JCTXK UK Version FQHDX-PPG3C-6GYXT-GDFXG-7DQBM WHPPW-3WVYF-DFJGH-QKQ94-67FJM BY8YQ-W9WZ9-FFDV3-PDK2J-RYYYW Q988C-P7VK2-K2K7R-QX9W9-7CDW3 UK Edition RV8RQ-6YTPD-HTPRC-C6G3G-TFKYF Upgrade Windows 98 Second Edition Upgrade CD Key that should bypass the requirement to have Win95 installed: H26W6-897MW-6T4WY-P3G98-GR342 Win 98 Upgrade Second Edition, bypasses Win95 requirement Windows 98 Second Edition (SE) CD Keys you can try are: RW9MG-QR4G3-2WRR9-TG7BH-33GXB Full Edition, English UK, French DKJQY-TMJGF-BYYPQ-Q2HB7-W2K3V Upgrade English, U.S. Version K4HVD-Q9TJ9-6CRX9-C9G68-RQ2D3 Win 98 Upgrade Second Edition, also 1st edition full retail HQ6K2-QPC42-3HWDM-BF4KJ-W4XWJ Win 98 Second Edition, also Danish, Norwegian and Norwegian OEM, UK Edition (product ID 16203-OEM-0000007-00651) JHD22-PY6C8-GGTJC-HYYWT-TF7MY Ver 4.10.2222A Retail T7FCQ-XTD3Q-YY6QD-TGYJQ-7BPJJ UK Version HQ88R-P7JWC-4FYHY-DK6MV-HT3CD Plus SE U.S English Ver 4.10.2222A T7J8Q-MH7RP-9H9J2-2HVFG-C3X2M P767C-WKHX7-62TFV-H6XTP-JXFQM works with ver. 4.10.2222 English, UK Edition, also Packard Bell Master Recovery CD MKMXV-CDQGH-98HCX-3HM2C-G3T7B, UK Edition XQY3P-8MMD2-JC6M2-HJDYW-P6H7B, UK Edition d6xwh-xkvv6-t2f87-kb2kh-9h3yg from Compaq OEM system, UK Edition BBH2G-D2VK9-QD4M9-F63XB-43C33 Chinese Language, Full Installation J3R3W-VBVDF-2496X-46TQB-HH8BY Australian English. Product Key 792807368, UK Edition TR9TQ-F4JRW-FXM4G-3H7V2-FH4J6 UK and Chinese Version W7XTC-2YWFB-K6BPT-GMHMV-B6FDY Second Edition English QMPMF-23D8R-83GV6-MMR3C-BQ7C3 UK Edition QCWJD-F94YQ-KWQXX-M48M3-MCFQW UK Edition WTY8X-CQP24-MX9TD-GBBD9-JKCXP (upgrade) WGJTT-2Q9MV-3TB8B-DQ77Y-C6QKB UK Edition TVYGH-V683W-3CWT9-MQ468-G66WR Upgrade DBRCB-D43K3-VY4G4-KVG4H-6FK9M Australia, Compaq PRDDH-83JD9-G6PK4-684GF-6Y73B Dell OEM English and Dell upgrade 2b1af7f3a8