This article was previously published under Q306555
The evaluation version of Windows XP Professional has a 14-day activation period. The retail version of Windows XP Professional has a 30-day activation period. If you upgrade the evaluation version of Windows XP to the retail version of Windows XP, you are not granted an additional 30 days to activate. The activation time period starts from the date of the original installation. The time period to activate is extended to 30 days when you upgrade to the retail version, but the initial time period is not reset when the computer is upgraded.
If you upgrade the evaluation version to the retail version on the fourteenth day, you will have 16 days left in which to activate. Since the initial installation date, 14 days have passed, so 30 days minus 14 days equals 16 days.
If you upgrade the evaluation version to the retail version on the thirtieth day, you must activate immediately: 30 days have passed from the initial installation date, so 30 days minus 30 days equals 0 days.
If the activation time period has expired for the evaluation version and you want to upgrade to the retail version before you activate, there are three scenarios:
Activate, then upgrade to Windows XP Professional retail version before the 120 days expire.
If you are currently logged onto the computer and do not want to activate the evaluation copy, you can start the upgrade process by running Setup.exe (or Winnt32.exe) from the Windows XP Professional retail version CD.
If you are not logged onto the computer, and you do not want to activate first, you can boot into safe mode and start the upgrade to Windows XP Professional retail copy from there.
For additional information about product activation, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
302806 Description of Microsoft Product Activation