Some time ago now, Microsoft turned off the on-line activation service for Windows XP; after all, it is obsolete and well past ‘end of life’.  There are however, still some people running it on legacy machines to support older software…and of course for historical reasons.  If you ever have to reinstall it, you will still only have 30 days to activate it…some OEM installs don’t require activation so you might have access to one of those.

If you need to activate Windows XP, there are two basic options – you perform either, entirely at your own risk!

Plan A – Activate Windows XP Without the Key:

This is the one I used, even though I have a valid key.

  1. Open the Start menu and click “Run”
  2. Type “regedit” into the text field and hit the “OK” button to launch the Registry Editor
  3. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents using the database tree on the left side of the window
  4. Double-click on the registry entry labeled “OOBETimer”
  5. Highlight all of the text in the “Value data” field and delete it
  6. Replace the deleted text with “FF D5 71 D6 8B 6A 8D 6F D5 33 93 FD” and hit “OK.” This is the standard Windows XP code and entering it will manually activate your copy of the software
  7. Right-click on the “WPAEvents” folder and choose “Permissions”
  8. Highlight “SYSTEM” in the list of accounts, check the “Deny Full Control” box and press “OK”

This worked fine for me and I went to Microsoft to download the necessary updates…the best things to do is download Service Pack 3 and any updates with a more recent date. My Windows XP was an OEM version with SP2 that came with my Shuttle PC.  Microsoft still have the updates available via the Microsoft Update Catalog…search for ‘Windows XP’ once you’re there.

There’s also Plan B – which I have never tried but it looks good:

You’ll need to paste this in to a newly created batch file, then run that; you do remember batch files don’t you?

@echo off && cd /d “.”
rem :: the windows reg key used to activate process in this bat/cmd read/write/delete ::
set “_wpaKey=HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents”
reg query “%_WPAKey%” | find /i “OOBETimer” & rem/ output key value in screen
reg export “%_WPAKey%” “.\PAEvents_SAVE_Original.Reg” & rem/ save original value in file
reg delete “%_WPAKey%” /v “OOBETimer” /f >nul & rem/ remove the key/value
reg add “%_wpaKey%” /v OOBETimer /t REG_BINARY /f & rem/ recreate the key/value
timeout /t -1 2> nul & rem/ time out to see the results
cd /d “C:\WINDOWS\system32\oobe” & rem/ goto to drive/folder C:\WINDOWS\system32\oobe\
start “” /realtime C:\WINDOWS\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a & rem/ start the activate windows interface
echo/:: sample key !! –^> ISAY-REIN-STAT-EMO-NICA^! & rem/ if need put some windows key to view/copy/paste
pause >nul & rem/ pause to keep console windows