How to Reinstall Windows XP Without Having to Reactivate With Microsoft

Posted: April 27, 2008 in Beware, Computer Related, From Me, Trivia, Tweaks
Tags: , , , ,

I know that there are many users who abhor the process. It may be because they have had problems activating and have had to call the toll-free number and wait to talk to a Microsoft support agent who then read them some 278-character long (okay- it’s a slight exaggeration) activation code. Or maybe they just feel that it is some sort of invasion of privacy or that Microsoft is acting as “Big Brother” and monitoring their actions.

By the way, Microsoft Philippines already change the telephone number you have to contact if you want to activate thru phone. The new number is 672-7272. Pls. contact or call Microsoft Hotline (860-8989 / 860-8920) for more info.

No matter the reason, there are plenty of users who would rather never go through the product activation process again. Unfortunately for those users, they may very well run into a situation where they do. Product activation monitors the system configuration. If it detects a major hardware change or even too many minor hardware changes within a set number of days (I believe it’s 180 days before it resets) then it crosses the threshold and requires reactivation.

Users who reformat their hard drive and perform a clean installation of the operating system will find that they need to reactivate the product. But, as long as the new installation is on the same system and there won’t be any hardware changes it is possible to transfer the existing product activation and skip having to go through the product activation process again. Follow the steps below to save the activation status information and restore it once your system is rebuilt:
– Double-click My Computer

– Double-click on the “C” drive

– Go to the C:\Windows\System32 folder (you may have to click on the link that says “Show The contents of this folder”)

– Find the files “wpa.dbl” and “wpa.bak” and copy them to a safe location. You can copy them on a floppy drive or burn it onto a CD or DVD.

– After you have reinstalled Windows XP on your reformatted hard drive, click “No” when asked if you want to go ahead and go through the activation process

– Reboot your computer into SafeMode (you can either press F8 as Windows is booting up to see the Windows Advanced Options menu and select SAFEBOOT_OPTION=Minimal.

– Double-click My Computer

– Double-click on the “C” drive

– Go to the C:\Windows\System32 folder (you may have to click on the link that says “Show The contents of this folder”)

– Find the file “wpa.dbl” and “wpa.bak” (if it exists) and rename them to “” and “”

– Copy your original “wpa.dbl” and “wpa.bak” files from your floppy disk, CD or DVD into the C:\Windows\System32 folder
Restart your system.

Voila! Your Windows XP operating system is now reinstalled on your reformatted hard drive and you are all activated without having to actually go through the product activation process!

Remember though. This won’t work for transferring activation information from one computer to another or if you alter the hardware because the information contained in your “wpa.dbl” file will not match the configuration of the computer. This trick is only for reinstalling Windows XP on the exact same computer after formatting the hard drive.

  1. GMS says:

    It doesn’t work !!! . don’t just copy paste from other web site, that method worked until sp3.
    sp3 is also change files in system32/config/ folder
    so rewriting wpa.* files don’t do the trick anymore.
    I’ll not add further more

  2. thorsenine says:

    Well, this trick ONLY work with Windows XP SP2! If didn’t work to you, then sorry, but this trick works well with me and with my friends…

  3. Paul says:

    This method didn’t work with SP2 for me either

  4. rca says:

    I need help..

    How can i get my confirmation I.D. thru internet?

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