Changing XP Pro Corp to XP Pro Retail



I've just bought XP Pro and need help on how to change the licence from XP Pro Corporate which I'm currently running.

I really don't want to carry out a fresh install as it's best part of a days work. And before anyone asks why, it's just my guilty conscience!!

Dirk Diggler

A fresh install should take 50 minutes tops, why do you think it will take all day?


The XP part may only take 50 minutes but with all the apps and tweaking my configuration takes best part of a day. Believe me, I've been there on more that one occasion.

That was before I started using Ghost which has got me out of many potential disasters, particularly with the dreaded "Windows/System32/Config/System is missing or corrupt" message which has prevented me from loading XP and has neccessitated a reinstall. Ditching my KT7A-Raid has hopefully got over this particular problem, time will tell.

Dirk Diggler

I have the Abit KT7A-RAID mobo and I re-format and install Windows XP on a regular basis. The install takes roughly 35 minutes and the tweaking and installing of apps takes roughly another hour. You may want to try placing all your apps on a seperate partition. There are only a few apps that need to be re-installed after a wipe and they are usually made by Micro$oft.

Dirk Diggler

At this moment in time you cannot upgrade Windows XP (SP1 excluded), therefore to try and upgrade XP will result in a waste of time.
What you could try is a repair job using the legit disk, it is possible that during the repair XP will see the correct licence number you enter and use that number during the repair to rebuild the Registry.
This might work. Copy the setupp.ini from the retail XP pro i386 folder to the Corp i386 folder (save the current one in the corp edition somewhere else until you're done), then follow the instructions in this guide for changing the key.


Afraid you're wrong, Dirk. Every single application that I have writes to the Registry, so even if I do keep them on a separate partition (which I do) they still need to be reinstalled. Bear in mind my apps partition contains around 5Gb of files.

I've tried doing the upgrade from within XP, with the new Product Key, which completes ok, but I can't get it activated online. It does give me option to telephone for activation but I've been reluctant to do that.

Incidentally, have you been locked out of XP with the corrupt registry problem? I'm convinced it is caused by the KT7A Raid board coupled with certain types of SDRAM (mine was Crucial). I've now changed my board to the new KX7-333 with Corsair ram and it really flies. Just hoping that the corrupt files problem has gone away.
If you've already run the upgrade from the retail copy... my guess is you're stuck either calling microsoft to activate, or doing a clean installation. Sorry.

As far as corruption, what file system are you running?

My previous post was incorrect too. Instead of following the guide, you'd need to go to the corp i386 folder and run winnt32.exe to do an upgrade installation with the new key (may or may not require activation).

Dirk Diggler

I can only speak for the apps that I have and the majority don't need to be re-installed:-
Adobe Photoshop 7.0
COWON Jet Audio
Nero Burning ROM
Hyper-Snap dx4
Lotus SmartSuite (does need reg file)
Reg Crawler

I have 20 gigs of program files, these above are the ones I use all the time and don't need installing.
Just because a programme writes to the Registry doesn't mean it needs to be re-installed. All the above write to the Registry with no problem. So to say I'm wrong when you haven't tried it is a bit harsh.


Thanks for your input Lonman.

Most of my drives and partitions are formatted Fat32 with a couple on NTFS for video work. I've had problems installing XP from the Highpoint controller so I always swap it to the primary IDE controller before installing then swap it back when its all done.

I always keep a current Ghost image so its no problem to experiment as I can easily restore my boot partition.

The only problem doing an upgrade installation is that all the original XP files will be installed and I'll need to reinstall SP1 (which takes another 45 minutes).

I might try using the XP key changer prog as that gives you the option of changing the Product Key and registering it. I'll change the date beforehand to the date of my current installation otherwise I'll lose the 30 days grace and it won't let me in.

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