Manage Learn to apply best practices and optimize your operations. Share this item with your network: Because of security concerns about piracy, Microsoft does not provide a tool that allows you to view the Product Activation Key or CD Key that was used to install the operating system. However, Windows XP Service Pack 1 ships with xp pro activation key list of the two product Xp pro activation key that are created by the pirated product volume license product keys. The comparison and the list reside locally on the users PC and no information is sent to Microsoft as part of this process.
Step by Step Guide to Changing the Windows XP Product Key
Now I had to activate it. This turned out to be more complicated than I had expected. The first time, WinXP became activated by magic. Not really, but I was not quite sure what I had done to activate it. It could have been just the official method; it may have been something else. I was not entirely sure. But after that first time, no magic came to my assistance. At some point, the activation window informed me that I had used this key too many times. I intended to choose the phone activation alternative.
In fact, I used Skype to dial that number. That was going to be a whole separate issue to troubleshoot. I could have used another phone to activate, of course, but then I realized that I might find myself having to activate again, one or more times, until I got this WinXP VM configured the way I liked.
In addition, I wanted to avoid going online if possible. A search led, in fact, to several alternate methods. I decided to explore those, and this post was born. But it seemed that that icon would disappear, sometimes, after even an unsuccessful activation effort. This would supposedly notify the user to activate the system if needed; but someone said this indication might not always be there, even if the system was not yet activated.
That command would usually trigger the activation window. Or at least that was what had seemed to happen to me, the first time, when I say that my system was registered by magic. The WPA. They warned that it would not work on a different machine. I was not sure whether that difference would make this appear to be a different machine.
In this method, I needed to boot into Safe Mode. Normally, I would do that by hitting F8 as the computer started to boot. That put me back in Normal Mode. That method did not work. Upon reboot, I got a message: Windows Product Activation This copy of Windows must be activated with Microsoft before you can log on. Do you want to activate Windows now? Normally, I would have 30 days after installing WinXP before activation would be compelled.
In this case, it seemed that I had triggered this message by trying to activate in the normal way and getting that message above that I had used this product key too many times. When I clicked No at this point, I expected to be locked out of the system. But instead, I was allowed to proceed into WinXP as usual. It was also possible that my previous activation efforts had somehow muddied the waters.
You can bypass the activation process by editing the Windows registry and using an OEM key, though this technically violates your license agreement with Microsoft. Only use the following if you are unable to activate and you have a legally-purchased copy of Windows XP. Although WikiHow described the process differently, I interpreted their advice as encouraging me to begin with this registry edit file: Windows Registry Editor Version 5.
Next, I had to enter this command: This was, as above, the command to start the activator. WikiHow said that, if I had followed the foregoing steps correctly, I would now see this message: Click OK to exit.
That is what I saw. So it worked. It had not worked for me on a previous try. Presumably I had messed up some detail in the process on that earlier attempt. This method started where the previous one left off. At that point, the user would enter this product key: A search indicated that a lot of people were familiar with that key as an alternative for activating Windows XP.
I had no idea how that sequence worked, and I did not test it, but that was the end of the WikiHow advice. Later, however, I encountered a situation where I was not able to get past the login screen. The first thing I got, after booting the VM, was this: I clicked Yes. To get into Safe Mode, the advice was familiar: First, I had to click on the correct icon — there were two, and at first I chose the wrong one — to tell VirtualBox to stop showing messages about the mouse and keyboard when the VM started.
Also, I had to make sure the VM was capturing my keystrokes i. It seemed, in addition, that I had to start hitting F8 before the VM booted, and keep hitting it, not holding it down.
It took multiple tries, but eventually I got past those hindrances. At that point, I was looking at the Windows Advanced Options Menu — the one in black and white, offering a dozen options, starting with Safe Mode.
I selected Safe Mode and hit Enter. It showed me only one installation: Microsoft Windows XP Professional. I hit Enter. After a few moments of loading files, I was now looking at the Safe Mode screen. Either way, that gave me a Run box. There, I typed rundll Nothing seemed to happen. I hoped it had done something. This time, Windows XP started up normally, without an activation barrier. The methods described above confirmed that Windows was now activated, and I had no further problems after rebooting.
Other Methods I did not explore further, except that I did develop a search to help me find methods other than those described above.
It tentatively appeared that there might be a number of alternate activation methods. There may also be something useful for this purpose in my separate post on Windows 7 activation in a virtual machine.
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