Windows Genuine Advantage 972
Windows Genuine Advantage 973
Try RockXP and see if you come up with a different key. I've gone one of two ways...
I have to agree with you on this one. I have a Dimension 4550 and a Dimension 8400 at home. I recently formatted the drives, blowing everything away. I installed the XP Pro cd that each machine came with. I was never asked for a cd key when I installed, I was not asked to activate the software when the install was complete (I was given the option to register, but I chose not to). Then I went to Windows update, it downloaded the Genuine Windows tool, asked me to verify my copy, I hit continue a couple of times and each time it said validation was successfull. I never had to input a COA or anything else.
I just got a Labreastude D610 at work that came with XP preinstalled. I formatted the laptop within 10 minutes of turning it on, went through the same procedure as described above and everything is working perfectly.
So, like I said, i think this procedure is pretty smooth. If you are having a problem, something is wrong.