Activate Windows XP

by Daniel Petri - January 7, 2009

How can I activate Windows XP?

Windows XP uses software-based product activation technology, which means that you must activate your copy of Windows XP to use it. This article describes how to activate Windows XP.

How Activation Works?

Product activation reduces a form of software piracy known as "casual copying". Casual copying is the sharing and installation of software that is not in compliance with the software's end-use license agreement (EULA).

Product activation works by ensuring that each Windows XP license is installed in compliance with the EULA, and is not installed on more than the number of computers that are allowed by the license. 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 Window XP. To activate, use the Windows Product Activation wizard to provide the installation ID to Microsoft either over the Internet, or your phone line. The installation ID records an association of the product ID to your computer and a confirmation ID is sent back to your computer to activate Windows XP.

Activation is anonymous, and no personal information is required to activate. The installation ID records an association of the product ID to your computer and a confirmation is sent back to Microsoft. You can then use the product key to install Windows on that computer an unlimited number of times. However, if you need to install Windows on a different computer with that product key, you might need to contact a Microsoft customer service representative.

Activation is required in 30 days from the first day that you start Windows XP. If you want to activate Windows on a day that is later than the day that you install it, a Windows Activation icon is displayed in the status area of the taskbar. This icon periodically displays notifications to remind you about how much time remains before you must activate. After the 30 days has expired, you must activate Windows to continue using Windows.

During activation, you can also register your copy of Windows. Product activation is not the same as product registration because activation is required and registration is optional. If you want to register Windows XP by providing your name, e-mail address, and other contact information, you are can also choose to receive information about product updates and other special offers.

NOTE : Some original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and select installations of Windows XP that use a volume license agreement are pre-activated and require no additional steps to activate. To check your activation status, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Activate Windows.

Activation Methods

You can activate your copy of Windows XP by using any of the following methods:

Activate Windows XP by using the Internet

If you use this method, the Windows Product Activation wizard establishes a connection to the activation server, sends your installation ID, and then processes the activation request.

To activate Windows XP by using an Internet connection:

Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Activate Windows.

-or-

Click the Windows Activation icon in the status area of the taskbar. Click Yes, let's activate Windows over the Internet now. Click Read the Windows Product Activation Privacy Statement, click Back, and then click Next.

Activate Windows XP by using your modem

If you have a modem but you do not have an Internet connection, the wizard detects your modem and establishes a connection to the activation server through your phone line.

Activate Windows XP by phone

If you do not have a modem or an Internet connection, you can activate Windows XP by calling a Microsoft customer service representative. The Activation Wizard displays the toll free number that you can dial.

Related articles

You may also want to read:

Links

Frequently Asked Questions about Microsoft Product Activation - 302878

Windows XP frequently asked questions about Windows Product Activation (WPA)

Microsoft Product Activation Frequently Asked Questions General Questions

Microsoft Product Activation: Frequently Asked Questions

Piracy Basics: Microsoft Product Activation

Inside Windows Product Activation

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