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Changing the CD key in Windows 2000

I put a copy of Windows 2000 Pro on a machine for a company as a test. Now they are going to buy a licensed copy for themselves. I want to know how to change the CD Key on their machine to match the licensed version they will be buying.

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Changing the CD key in Windows 2000 requires a little effort. The key number is present in the Registry, but just changing it there will not work. The best solution is to run Microsoft's SYSPREP utility to change the CD key. SYSPREP is a tool designed to prepare a computer for imaging, but it can also be used to perform several other functions, such as erasing and forcibly redetecting the hardware manifest in a PC -- and, of course, changing the CD key. See http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/downloads/tools/sysprep/default.asp for more information on how to do this.

This was first published in May 2004

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