"Product Activation" is a minor annoyance for most users, but can be a larger hassle for those of us who change our hardware a lot. I have a 10-install license for XP Pro, and although I stay under the 10-PC limit at all times, I hold my breath with every reinstall on altered hardware. I’m happy to say it hasn’t happened yet— I’m *very* careful!— but I continually expect some software trigger to think I’m cheating and installing an illegal extra copy just because I’ve changed a network card or a hard drive…
We’ve covered some other options before, such as "100% Legit, Partial Workaround For Product Activation" ( http://langa.com/newsletters/2002/2002-03-28.htm#1 ), and "[Another] Partial Workaround For Product Activation" (
#13 in http://langalist.com/plus/newsletters/2003/2003-04-28plus.asp )
This reader offers another method— totally legit— that just may save your bacon if WPA ever decides to lock you out of your system.
Fred, I was reading an article on your web site about an XP activation workaround. That workaround won’t work if you are changing your motherboard, but I have discovered one that will. I thought your readers might be interested in it…. When you activate windows it gives you the option to do it automatically or by phone. If you do it automatically your computer sends an ID code to Microsoft and if the code is accepted Microsoft sends back an activation code which is stored in an encrypted file in the system32 folder (wpa.dbl)
To get around this you should choose to activate by phone. This will open a window giving you a phone number to call, an ID number, and a set of blocks to type in the [WPA] key. When you call the number you get an automated system that will ask you to read the ID number. If it accepts the number it will give you the [WPA] key a few numbers at a time. it will ask you if you got the numbers after each set and give you the option to have them repeated. Just write down the numbers the first time and ask to have them repeated and type them in the appropriate box the second time. Keep doing that until you have all the numbers, and then activate your windows installation. Keep the [WPA] key with your installation disk and you can use it to activate windows as many times as you want. Just choose activate by phone and type in the [WPA key you saved]. Hope this info helps someone. —Jeff