All about Windows XP Activation
The short story
To reduce software piracy, Microsoft requires that you validate your installation
of XP through something called Windows Product Activation (WPA), either by connecting
to their servers through the Net, or by calling a number where you'll get to
either talk to a human being (great job...), or some automated answering device.
In either case, you'll have to provide both the Product ID (which is derived
from the 25-character unique Product Key that you used to install XP), and a
hashed number based on different devices in your computer. This lets Microsoft
tell if you used a well-know, leaked Product Key, or if you gave a friend your
legit Product Key so he can also install XP on his computer (in this case, the
hardware ID will be different, and he'll have some explaining to do when he
calls MS: One license = one computer).
If things go well, you will be given a release code to activate XP.
Note that if Service Pack 1 has been installed, the entire Product Key is
also transmitted: This can then be checked against a list of known pirated keys.
The hardware is checked each time Windows boots, to ensure that it is still
on the same machine. If you make significant hardware changes or reinstall XP
altogether, you'll get a new hardware ID, which will prompt a new activation.
Note that $SYSTEM32\WPA.DBL and WPA.BAK should be saved and restored to avoid
reactivation only when performing a 'Repair' reinstallation of XP; Those files
are useless when performing a full reinstall.
Updating the Product Key on an installed XP
If you used a leaked serial number ("Product Key") when installing
XP, and you suddenly no longer can log on, looping through the activation part,
here's how to change the Product Key on an installed XP:
allows you to retrieve and change your XP product key that you used when
you installed Windows XP. This can come very handy if you need to reinstall
but have misplaced or lost the CD cover with the serial sticker. In addition,
the program also lets you save the product activation to a file, enables
you to recover usernames and passwords contained in the Windows Secure Storage,
recover your Microsoft Windows Products keys and have password generator."
- "The Magical
Jelly Bean Keyfinder is a freeware utility that retrieves your Product
Key (cd key) used to install windows from your registry. It has the options
to copy the key to clipboard, save it to a text file, or print it for safekeeping.
It works on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Office 97, and
Office XP. This version is a quick update to make it work with Windows Server
- Retrieve my product key in Windows XP using ViewKeyXP.exe
(doesn't work with SP2; Use KeyFinder
- XPPID, Windows XP Product Key
Modifier (requires a valid Product Key; Didn't work on an XP Pro, possibly
la clé de produit de Windows XP Pro Corporate Par TEAM LABORATOIRE MICROSOFT,
Key Recoverer and Discoverer 5.12 by wet paper bag (and bophoe) (" Don't
forget that this tools only work for Windows XP Corporate, not Windows XP
Pro or Home Edition"; Didn't work on an XP Pro SP2 that looks like
it's the Corporate edition, possibly due to SP2)
- XP Key Recoverer and Discoverer
I need to change my XP Product Key
There are different ways:
- Insert XP CD using the same version as installed.Choose to Install
- Choose to Upgrade.
- Enter new valid key when prompted [If you are changing the "Corporate
XP Version", use a retail Pro Key. For OEM see Repair Install
- Activate over internet.
Can I install SP1 on a pirated XP?
You'll need to change the Product Key to something legitimate only only
for the corporate editions of Windows XP Professional using a compromised or
illegitimate key. Windows XP Home Edition and retail versions of XP Professional
are not affected by Service Pack 1.
How to tell if XP is activated?
Go to Start>Run and enter the following: oobe/msoobe /a
What is Slipstreaming?
Combining a service pack into Windows.
What to do if XP won't let me log on?
If you installed XP with a leaked key, here's what to do to get going:
- Buy a legitimate CD of XP
- If you can get into Safe Mode, proceed with an In-place Upgrade
- If you can't even boot into Safe Mode, boot with the legit CD, and proceed
with a Repair Install. Normally, it won't wipe out your data, but stuff
happens, so you may want to back them up before by booting from eg. Bart's
PE or Knoppix.
Both proceedures are explained by Michael