| By Fred Langa |
Out of the blue, your operating system pops up a reactivation warning.
Windows Product Activation (WPA) isn’t the Big Brother app some people claim it is, but the warnings sure can be annoying — especially when a system you’ve already activated demands reactivation.
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Bo Nikander wonders why simple updates can trigger a nag to reactivate Windows:
- “Should you warn readers about not updating every driver in Windows — or at least those in Vista? Some driver updates require reactivation of Vista. I don’t know specifically which drivers trigger reactivation (I updated several at once), but maybe Fred could shed some light on the subject.”
In essence, Windows makes a system inventory when it’s first installed and then checks to see whether the OS is being placed on the same core hardware each time its installation routine wakes up. If Windows thinks it’s being installed on a different system, it asks to be reactivated.
WPA accommodates normal hardware upgrades from time to time so that you can add more RAM and can implement other system enhancements without requiring reactivation. However, a major hardware change (such as installing a new motherboard) or even many small hardware changes can trigger the reactivation flag.
Some routine operations can also prompt a reactivation. For example, a system’s WPA records are stored on the hard drive, so reformatting the drive or otherwise losing or corrupting the activation records will generate a request for reactivation.