It happens from time to time. Sometimes we have to reinstall Windows. Perhaps we bought the computer for a friend and something went bad or maybe our hard drive went bad and we had to put a new one in. For whatever reason, Windows XP is now telling you that you need to activate Windows within thirty days if you want to continue to use the software. The thirty-day grace period may be nice, but depending on how old your XP disk is you may not have service pack 2 and no unactivated copy will qualify for Windows updates. Have no fear, there is a way to get around this and the information is provided nicely by Microsoft themselves.
It should be noted emphatically however that this information is not to get around obtaining a legal copy of the Windows operating system. Regardless of what you think of the marketing practices or morality of the corporation, the software is protected under United States and International copyright law. Now that we all have been warned against using this advice for illegal purposes, let us continue to the good stuff. Microsoft however knows this anti-piracy measure is not popular and will be looking into alternate methods in the new future.
To do this you will need to edit the Windows registry. If you were taught by the same computer repair teachers that I was, you know that messing around with this important Windows system file is always a last ditch effort and should be used only when the options are editing it or reformatting your hard drive for a fresh install. Since you will eventually lose full use of your software anyway if you do not register, proceed. From the start menu select open and type “regedit.” When the screen comes up, you will find the various folders in this order: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionwpaevents. When you finally get there, you will need to click on OOBETimer and change at least one value in this column. Since the numbers are in Hexadecimal you can use the numbers 0-9 or the letters A-F. Click okay and then, if your copy of Windows was activated it will now be deactivated.
Bring up the run box through the stat menu again and type “%systemroot%system32oobemsoobe.exe /a”. At this point you will need to reboot Windows. Once the system starts up again you will need to use the Microsoft activation wizard. Although the software recommends using the Internet activation wizard, the wizard will not work correctly if it was a hand-me-down copy of the operating system. You will need to contact a phone representative and either keep the information on the screen before you or write it down. If you happen to have a copy of Skype or a similar program you can use it to dial the toll-free number given on the screen. Follow all the prompts and type in the new activation code. Once the process is finished, you will get a message saying that your copy of Windows has been validated. Restarting the computer is not necessary, but it is always a good idea after any major Windows change.