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Is There Really A Limit On Activating XP?



I'm wondering if there really is a limit on the number of times you can activate/re-actative XP Pro. I know that a lot of mis-information has been put out about this "feature" of Win XP so does anyone really know.

Since purchasing my copy of XP Pro I've probably reactivated it 8 or 9 times in about the last 30 days (haven't kept a count) - on one particular weekend, I reactivated it three times in a 24 hour period - experimenting with performance differences between using FAT32 and NTFS - playing with registry settings, etc. messing things up and starting from scratch again.

I've read postings were folks have said that it was three strikes and you're out for them - other variations on this theme run the gamit from one activation every 120 days to a maxium of 12 activations then you must buy another copy???? Hard to sort out the fact from fiction.

Guess this question raises another issue in it self - if they insist on using this product activation then to my way of thinking they have no legal right to limit a person on how many times they can activate the product as long as it's a legally purchased copy. If I buy a new car - tv set - etc. - other then possibly voiding the warranty on the product (if any) the designer/manufacturer of the product has no right to tell me how to treat their product or most importantly how often I can use it - so how come a software company can??? Can't say that I've ever purchased a new car and had the dealer tell me "I'm selling this to you for $$$$$$ but you can only drive it once a month and if you work on it yourself - we'll fix it so you can't drive it at all..."

I'll get off my soap box now before I start in on Buba Clinton next! Any of you folks know the real truth about this product activation thing please post it for all to see.



NTFS Junkie
what I have done is download the well known corp key, I am not using it but if they ever refuse to reactivate my legally bought copy of xp I will use it so I can continue to use it. Some people may disagree with me but I have bought a legal copy of xp and expect to be able to continue using it


Re: XP Activation

lelu - thanks for the links - couldn't access the Dell site, but the other one was most informative!

I do agree with dpr - I paid $200 to Uncle Bill for my legal copy of XP Pro and I do expect to be able to use it from now 'til doomsday if I wish and with no constrains other then the usual - one copy on one machine license agreement, which I've never objected to. I know I'll get flamed for saying this, but I've always purchased every piece of software I've ever used. But I sure know a couple of people that have never paid for a single copy of anything - in my book theft is theft - if I couldn't afford it - then I just did without it.

Thanks again.


About the 10th time I tried to activate XP it would not work and I was forced to call Microsoft and they gave me a code to enter and asked why I had activated so many times, took about 10 minutes but it's a needless hassle.


I've re-activated so many times I've lost count.. but its well over 20times!!!! :rolleyes: After the 10th time.. I also was forced to telephone M$ and they gave me the code, and have done so on each occasion ever since.

But I was only asked why the very 1st time I telephoned them, ever since then I just say I need to activate XP, give them my no. and they give me code..no questions asked!!! :D


NTFS Junkie
I have reactivated quite a few times myself, it's not now I thinking of, it's a few years down the line, are they going to discontinue support for xp like they have done with other ops, and if they do will that include product activation?. They may say that there will be no problem, but I am choosing to cover myself by keeping hold of the corp key


here's what the Dell article says:

What is the Microsoft® Windows® XP Product Activation (WPA)?

What is the Windows XP Product Activation (WPA)?

You must activate the Windows XP operating system within
the first 30 days of use. If you do not activate Windows XP by the 30th day, you will be unable to access Windows XP on the 31st day (and thereafter) until it is activated.

NOTE: If your copy of Windows XP is obtained through one of Microsoft's volume license programs, you do not have to activate those licenses.

If you install Windows XP by booting to the CD you will not have to activate your copy of Windows XP since it incorporates System Locked Pre-Installation (SLP). There are two scenarios that will cause you to have to active Windows XP:

If you install the Windows XP upgrade CD either because you purchased the CD after purchasing your system or because you received your CD after redeeming a free Windows XP upgrade certificate.

If you install Windows XP by means other than booting to the CD.

NOTE: The only way to enable SLP in such situations would be to format your hard drive and perform a clean installation of Windows XP by booting to the CD.

What is the difference between Windows Product Activation and Product Registration and am I required to activate my computer?

The Microsoft Windows Product Registration is voluntary and includes personal information that you voluntarily transmit to Microsoft in order to receive information on updated downloads, service packs, and new products.

The WPA is required in order to register the software's license and use Windows XP, but it does not transmit personal information. In addition, the product activation does not scan your hard drive, transmit information about the user, or determine the make, model or manufacturer of the computer or its components.

How does the WPA work?

WPA works by validating that the Windows XP product key has not been used on more computers than is allowed by the software's license. Product key information, in the form of the Product ID, is sent along with your system hardware configuration to Microsoft's activation system during activation.

Does changing my hardware configuration require reactivation?

Substantial changes to your computer hardware may require reactivation of Windows XP. Yet, common changes to your computer hardware such as upgrading a video card, adding a second hard disk drive, adding RAM or upgrading a CD device will not require the system to be reactivated.

NOTE: Activations on the same computer using the same product key are unlimited.

How do I activate my version of Windows XP?

Activation can be performed over the Internet or via telephone.

Click the Start button, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Activate Windows.
Follow the activation instructions that appear on your screen.

Telephone Activation

If you choose to activate Windows XP using the telephone, you will need to read the 44-digit Product ID to the support representative in the activation center. You will then be given a 42-digit Activation ID, which you have to enter in the activation wizard. The support representative will wait until you finish typing in the Activation ID to ensure that the activation is successful.

If I reinstall Windows XP, do I have to reactivate my copy of Windows XP?

If you do not format the hard disk prior to reinstalling Windows XP, you will not need to reactive your computer. However, if the hard disk drive is formatted and you did not install Windows XP by booting to the CD, you will need to reactivate your copy of Windows XP.

NOTE: Activations on the same computer using the same product key are unlimited.

Where can I find additional information on the WPA?

For more information, browse to the Microsoft Windows XP Web site at: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp.


anything in the cyber world is legal

you are free to take anything in the cyber world . Well if you dont want ppl to take your stuff then dont put them in cyber world. got it?

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