Lost Product Key Win 98

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My laptop crashed. I purchased a CD from the laptop manufacturer. This CD reformatted my hard drive to its original "out-of-box" state. When I reboot, it asks for my product key. I have lost my certificate of authenticity. I called the laptop manufacturer. They tell me that I am a registered user of Windows 98 based on the OEM arrangement they have with Microsoft. For the low-low price of $29.95 they will give me another product. If I am already a registered user of Win98 and am not trying to "beat the system" or install in an unauthorized fashion, why do I have to pay. Do I have any other alternatives? Please note this is the original Win98. I tried a 98SE license that I have for another machine and it didn't work. Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated...
Ok, I probably will get the mods mad at me for this, but I think you deserve it, and If you purchesed a key in the first place, you shouldnt have to pay.

Do a Search on Google for Serials 2k and download it. ;)
Ok, you all new this was gonna cocme out of me, but....

Can we say Linux??

hahahahahha:) :) :) :)
hehe, ill say. But you have to agree, for someone who isnt a guru already, linux is way more daunting than windows.
You got that right, I remember what it was like when i was first learning, still am really. Every day learning.
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