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My computer is a Gateway MX6453 laptop that is approximately 5 years old.

After five years, I got a little tired of how slow Windows XP Media Edition was running. I read online about how to create a Recovery CD for my laptop knowing that if I wipe the computer clean, I won't have access to the OEM Windows XP product key.

Note 1 to self, third party software that claims it can "find" your product key may not work. I used BELARC and it came up with a product key that wasn't even close to what was written on the Windows sticker on the bottom of my machine. For what it's worth, I could only see 4 of the 5 alpha numeric groups that make up a XP product key. The rest rubbed off from use. That is why I used BELARC at the recommendation of some "tech" article.

So, I created the Recovery CD and tried running the recovery software. Each time I ran the recovery program, it continually asked for a second CD. That was confusing, because the Gateway recovery software gives you two options on this particular model: 1 DVD or 4 CD-Rs. I chose the DVD route, so I only had one disk.

Evidently the program was in error. The instructions on the gateway site regarding creating the CD and using the "Destructive" clean up method are in error. At least per the copy that I found via Google.

Long story short, Microsoft was no help. I tried calling them giving them all the info I could find. Customer support could offer nothing more than me buying a new CD Key for $99. I told the lady that she probably misunderstood, the computer is 5 years old, and I'm not paying $99 for windows when I can go to Best Buy and pay a little more and get a brand new computer. Well, good well done, she stuck to the script, screwed the customer, and sent me packing like an ex Obama NSA agent who leaked state secrets.

I tried inputting my S/N to the Gateway website so I could get live help. The website never validated my number. I thought that was odd. I finally found a number to live support to someone using ESL that was hard to understand. He was nice, but he was stuck in the policy box of stick to the script, refer them to the 3rd party servicer for out of warranty products.

At this time, the computer is done - stick a fork in it.

I can't get support from Microsoft or Gateway.

I can understand from Microsofts POV that they won't want to simply give our CD keys. There should be some way I can validate that I'm not trying to cheat the system and that I have a legitimate copy of Windows and have fallen victim to Gateway's recovery CD program that doesn't work.

So I guess I could go out on the bit torrent and download windows and find a CD key hacker, but that would be illegal.

So the good guys that try to play by the rules get screwed. And the market for pirated software and cd keys continues to grow because some folks get fed up with playing by the rules and decide to just handle it themselves.

I will not buy another Gateway product. Nor would I refer anyone to them without the caveat of them buyer beware, they aren't on your side.

Monetary Loss: $99.

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