How to Avoid the XP Product Activation After a Reinstall
By on November 8th, 2009

xplogo Have you ever had to reinstall Windows XP? If so, have you ever had to reactivate it? I recall hearing one of the guys at work talking about the problems he’d had during a reinstall. He had to jump through hoops in order to convince Microsoft to allow him to reactivate.

If you plan to reinstall WinXP on a machine that already has XP on it, you can back up the current activation keys and restore them after you reinstall. You won’t have to contact Microsoft for a reactivation.

Before you Reinstall:

1. Make sure that you back up all of your personal files, data, programs, license keys and product keys.

2. Gather copies of the service packs and security software that you’ll need.

3. Go to the following folder: C:\Windows\System32

4. Find the files named wpa.dbl and wpa.bak, and copy them to a floppy disk or CD.

xp-save-activation-normal-mode

During and After You Reinstall:

I’ll recommend that you take your PC offline (no internet connection) during installation. This allows you to install the service packs and security software before you reconnect to the internet. An unprotected PC can get infected in less than a minute online.

At the end of the installation, if you get a prompt to activate Windows, follow the steps below:

1. Just say no. Microsoft will allow you a grace period to activate.
2. Reboot the PC.
3. Hit the F8 key during boot to get the advanced boot screen.
3. Choose “Safe Mode”.
4. Once in Safe Mode, open up that same folder at C:\Windows\System32.
5. Locate the two wpa files wpa.dbl and wpa.bak. If you don’t find the bak file, don’t worry.
6. Rename the files to something else, like maybe wpadbl.xxx and wpa.xxx.
7. Now copy the two files, Wpa.dbl and Wpa.bak, from the floppy or CD, into the system32 folder.
8. Reboot as you would normally.

xp-save-activation-safe-mode

Now you don’t have to contact Microsoft and you haven’t broken any rules, as far as I know. You’re good to go.

Do You Have XP Activation Problems?

If you have problems with your activation, I found this forum thread that may help.

You can also find out more about XP activation at this Microsoft page.

Here’s what MS says about why it needs you to activate.
Product activation makes sure that each Windows XP license is installed in accordance with the EULA and is not installed on more than the number of computers that the license permits. Windows creates a unique installation identification (ID) that is based on information from the product ID and a hardware identifier that are created when you install Windows XP.

This article was inspired by a visit to my friend Gary’s website. His site, InternetFixes, offers thousands of tips, tricks and fixes for all Windows PCs.

Do you have any questions about Windows XP or reinstalling it? Do you have any ideas you’d like to share? Be sure to add a comment below or email me. I’d love to hear from you.

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Author: Clif Sipe Google Profile for Clif Sipe
Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

Clif Sipe has written and can be contacted at clif@techie-buzz.com.

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