Recently a customer who had a Windows XP computer was having problems connecting wirelessly to their router and the Internet. The computer could see the signal but could not get the automatic IP address from the router. I tired reinstalling the software for the USB network adapter but that had no effect. I tried getting Windows own software to carry out the connection but this did not work either and on further investigation came to the conclusion that the Windows networking software was corrupt.
I suggested reinstalling the computer only to find that my customer had not been given any reinstallation disks by the local business that had built the machine for her. Furthermore, there was no Microsoft Windows sticker on the machine and I could only conclude that the computer contained illegal software preventing me from doing a reinstallation.
The moral of the story is that if you get a business to build a computer for you make sure that you get the installation disks and the licence numbers. All computers that contain a Windows operating system should have a sticker giving the identity of the operating system (e.g. XP Home, XP Professional, Windows 7 Home Premium etc) and the 25-digit serial number. Look at the examples shown below.
You will also find similar labels and serial numbers for application software such as Microsoft Office. Keep all of these labels and serial numbers safe as you will need them to reinstall software. Also, if you have received serial numbers for software by email, make sure that you keep a note of it. Emails may be deleted without you realising their importance.