Activating your license of Windows XP (Required, or it will stop working )

by Johannes Helmig [Published on 27 May 2003 / Last Updated on 27 May 2003]

Windows XP requires "Activation" :
You must contact Microsoft with a few weeks after
installation, or Windows XP will refuse to continue to work.

You will have in your Start-Menu the entry to "Activate Windows",
and there will also be an icon in your taskbar, reminding you
often to activate.

Activation is NOT Registration:
Activation : based on the serial number of the hardware components
(harddisk, motherboard, network card), a code is generated. Based
on this code, a "Confirmation ID" is created for your system.
The purpose of Activation is to prevent a copy of Windows XP to
be installed on multiple systems (and Microsoft only getting paid for
one license)
.

Registration : You inform Microsoft about your name, address,
e-mail address, .......

Let's assume that you have no (or not yet) Internet connection and try to activate by calling :


I do not know what caused Microsoft to use such a method, but working myself in a
support organization, I know that most people will have problems telling you accurately
a 50 ( FIVE - ZERO ! ) character number, and there be even more problems for them to note
down such a long Confirmation ID. Be prepared for some long phone-calls..........

Much better and easier:

Configure your Internet connection and activate via the Internet :

You want to register ? Your choice ( I selected NOT to register).

and after a few seconds:


That was easy !


What information has been send to Microsoft as part of this activation process ?

- serial number of the system volumne
- MAC adress of the network card
- CD ROM ID
- display adapter ID
- CPU ID
- CPU serial number
- harddisk ID
- IDE controller ID

This information is stored in the file WPA.DBL. It seems not to be possible to transfer
this file from an activated Windows XP installation to a fresh Windows XP installation
on the same system (like: a new disk is installed and Windows XP is re-installed) :
I tried it : as soon I restarted Window XP and it checked the WPA.DBL file copied from
a previous installation, Windows XP expected "fraud" and insisted immedialely on
activation.
If somebody else was able to transfer the WPA.DBL to a new installation and could
avoid the need for re-activation, please inform me on how it was done.

You can exchange a few of these components (like upgrading to a new graphic card or a
new network card), but once too many of components ( I think it is 3) are changed, then the
activation become invalid and you will be asked to activate again.

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