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How to activate Windows XP
Article ID: 307890 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q307890
Windows XP uses software-based product activation technology. Therefore, you must activate your copy of Windows XP to use it. This article describes how to activate Windows XP.
Product activation makes sure that each Windows XP license is installed in accordance with the EULA and is not installed on more than the number of computers that the license permits. Windows creates a unique installation identification (ID) that is based on information from the product ID and a hardware identifier that are created when you install Window XP. To activate, use the Windows Product Activation wizard to provide the installation ID to Microsoft over the Internet or your phone line. The installation ID records an association of the product ID to your computer and a confirmation ID is sent back to your computer to activate Windows XP.
Activation is anonymous, and no personal information is required to activate. The installation ID records an association of the product ID to your computer and a confirmation is sent back to Microsoft. You can then use the product key to install Windows on that computer an unlimited number of times. However, if you want to install Windows on a different computer with that product key, you may have to contact a Microsoft customer service representative.
Activation is required in 30 days from the first day that you start Windows XP. If you want to activate Windows on a day that is later than the day that you install it, a Windows Activation icon appears in the notification area. This icon periodically displays notifications to remind you about how much time remains before you must activate. After the 30 days has expired, you must activate Windows to continue using Windows.
During activation, you can also register your copy of Windows. Product activation is different from product registration because activation is required and registration is optional. If you want to register Windows XP by providing your name, e-mail address, and other contact information, you can also choose to receive information about product updates and other special offers.
Note Some original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and select installations of Windows XP that use a volume license agreement are pre-activated and require no additional steps to activate. To check your activation status, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Activate Windows.
Video: How to activate Windows on your computer
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The following sections in this article describe how to use each of these methods.
Note The following steps are the same steps that are used to activate Windows over the Internet in the "How to activate Windows XP by using the Internet" section. If you have an Internet connection and you want to activate over a modem, disconnect your Internet connection before you follow these steps.
For information about how to contact a Microsoft Product Activation Center by phone, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
How to contact a Microsoft Product Activation Center by phone
For information about Windows Product Activation, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/howtotell/content.aspx?pg=mpa&displaylang=enFor a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Windows Product Activation, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/howtotell/content.aspx?displaylang=en&pg=faqFor additional information about activating Windows XP, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306555/ )You must activate Windows XP in 30 days from the day that you upgrade from an evaluation to retail version of Windows XP
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/291983/ )Ports that are used by Windows Product Activation
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/291997/ )How to activate Windows XP using an Unattend.txt file