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I have disks for SP1, SP2 and SP3 which I purchased directly from Microsoft.Both SP2 and SP3 were installed on both computers as part of the XP installations. IMO, you should have attempted it as soon as the install with the primary XP disc was complete. But since you mentioned that "SP2 and SP3 were installed on both computers as part of the XP installations" it seems that you may have waited until after you installed the SP's. forgive if I missed something, or got confused somewhere...1.Attempts to get advice over the internet have provided no solutions.
Instead,, when using the "telephone" method for activation and going through all of Microsoft's "hoops", it finally comes back and says that it is not a valid Microsoft product (implying that it is counterfeit) and that we should return it to the retailer.
This after using it previously for two successful earlier installs.
The problem on my Dell is when attempting to download the "Windows Updates".
When bringing up the "update" windows, it first runs their validation software where you get the "twirling arrow" in the center of the page, presumably interrogating the user's computer.
My computers are on a wireless home network and to access the internet (for the purpose of activation), the connection between the computer and the wirless router has to first be "set up".