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The support for Windows XP ended in April 2014, which means that Microsoft no longer provides security updates or any kind of technical support for systems operating on Windows XP. The sole reason behind this was to encourage Windows users to migrate towards newer versions of Windows, such as Windows 7,8, or 10, with advanced updates, higher security, and other features likewise.
Now, if you are still using Windows XP, how do you activate it, especially since the support has ended? We will discuss a few solutions to overcome this problem and much more.
Note: We recommend upgrading your Windows to a better version for enhanced security, support (Windows XP has none now), and hardware manufacturer support.
If your drivers or some part of the hardware is ONLY compatible with Windows XP, maybe it’s high time you get a new device.
How to activate Windows XP now that support has ended?
Although support has ended for Windows XP, it can still be activated and installed on a system. The only difference would be that you will no longer be receiving updates or be offered any support from Microsoft’s technical support regarding the same.
Solution 1: Activation over the Internet
This method will require you to connect to Microsoft through an internet connection (of course). Towards the end, Microsoft will verify the genuinity of the product key and send an activation code, which in turn will activate Windows XP on your system.
- Upon being connected to the Internet, start the ‘Activation Wizard.’ The Activation Wizard can be accessed by clicking the ‘Activation’ icon in the System Tray. Alternatively you can also go to ‘All Programs’> ‘Accessories’> ‘System Tools’ > ‘Activate Windows’, by tapping on ‘Start’.
- You will be prompted to enter the 25-character product key to proceed further at this point. In case you do not have a product key, skip to the next part of this article, where you will learn how to activate Windows XP without a genuine product key.
- From amongst the options, Select ‘Yes, let’s activate Windows over the Internet now’. In an event where you are not connected to the Internet using an Ethernet or WiFi connection (which is initially what Windows will look for), Windows will then try to detect a dial-up modem connected to your laptop/PC.
- Now, you will be asked by Windows whether you wish to ‘Register with Microsoft?’ or not. Practically, support for Windows XP has ended long back, so there is no point of registration, although it is optional. From amongst the two options given, we recommend skipping registration and selecting ‘No, I don’t want to register now let’s just activate Windows’.
- You will see a message that says ‘Thank You!’. Do not cut off from your internet connection just yet. Instead, wait for the wizard to connect and activate your copy of Windows XP onto your system.
Solution 2: Activating with Safe Mode:
The usage of this method is recommended only when you are reinstalling Windows with some non-standard hardware. Since re-installing Windows with non-standard hardware may cause you to be unable to access Windows for activation, despite getting the message that you need to activate to proceed. However, since you can not connect to the Internet and generate an Installation ID, you can use Safe Mode to activate Windows XP.
- To boot your system into Safe Mode, you need to strike the F8 button on your keyboard as soon as the system boots up. Upon tapping on F8, you will be directed to the menu that says ‘Advanced Boot Options. From here, select ‘Safe Mode.
- Since you are using non-standard hardware, you will first need to fix the drivers before you are able to activate Windows XP. To work around this, you can download the necessary drivers on another computer. Analyze which hardware pieces are malfunctioning – to do this, press the Windows key + R and type devmgmt.msc.
- Now, look for all the items on the Device Manager that say ‘!’ or ‘?’. These are specifically the hardware parts that require the fixing of drivers. On the other computer, go to the manufacturer’s support site and download the INF files for the pieces of hardware.
- Since in Safe Mode, you can not use the installer, you will need the actual driver files. Once downloaded, transfer these INF files (driver files) to the computer you have currently booted into safe mode and wish to activate Windows XP using a USB or disk.
- Once transferred, install the drivers by right-clicking on the pieces of hardware showing ‘?’ or ‘!’ icon on the safe-booted computer and. Select ‘Update Driver’, then browse through the INF files transferred via USB/disk and load them. Now, reboot your computer.
- Once done, you can now try activating Windows XP as usual, as shown in Solution 1 above.
Solution 3: Disable Activation:
So, how is disabling activation synonymous with ‘activating’ Windows XP? It’s not. This is most certainly the last resort you should opt for, especially if you wish to bypass the whole process of Windows XP activation.
- Press Windows Key+R and type regedit. This command opens up the Registry Editor.
- In the Registry Editor, navigate to the correct folder. Use the tree on the left side of the Registry Editor and open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE → SOFTWARE → Microsoft → Windows NT → CurrentVersion (or “Current Version”) → WPAEvents.
- Double click on the ‘OOBETimer’ entry, which will, in turn, open a new window.
- In this window, you will see ‘Value Data’. Tap on it, and delete whatever values are currently in the box.
- Now, enter FF D5 71 D6 8B 6A 8D 6F D5 33 93 FD. Next, Click on ‘OK’ right under the box to save the changes.
- In the WPAEvents folder, right-click to open a list of options amongst which you need to choose ‘Permissions’. Select the ‘SYSTEM’ group from the list.
- Now, tick-fill the box labeled ‘Deny’ next to ‘Full Control Entry’.
- Click on ‘OK’.
- Next, you will have the privilege to activate Windows XP right from the command box.
- Open the command box and enter the command msoobe /a. This will activate Windows XP using the command prompt.
How to activate Windows XP if you have lost your product key?
If you have lost your genuine product key for Windows XP activation, below are a few solutions to tackle the problem.
Solution 1: Locate the Original Key
If it were any time before April 2014, this would have been a walk over the brook. However, since the support for Windows XP has ended, it practically means that the support will wave a big ‘no’ when you ask them to dig into older keys for old versions of Windows (here it is XP).
What you can do is, look for the original key by searching the physical computer. It could be written on or taped to the laptop or monitor or the computer at some point. If you can’t find the key physically imprinted or taped to the system, it is possible it is in the purchase paper or email. Look through your old emails and fillings and see if you can find the key.
Solution 2: Changing Product Key
This can be done using the Command Prompt and using regedit to open the Registry Editor. The idea is to replace the original product key with one created by you in the Registry Editor. Once you have the changed product key, you can enter this key to activate your Windows, thus obliterating the whole dilemma of finding the original key in the first place.
The detailed guide on how to change your product key is given in the next heading that states: ‘How to change the product key in Windows XP?’
Solution 3: Use a Key Finder
Since you do not have support for Windows XP, you can look for key finding programs that will generate a key for you for a small fee/for free. All you have to do is let the key finding program scan your computer, following which it supplies the activation key.
One of the best options available is Win KeyFinder that scans your system and shows you the product key of your system.
Note: Most key finding softwares or repositories will provide you with an illegal and pirated product key. Using third-party unverified and illegal means of ‘generating’ product keys, such key generators, are not supported by us.
Win KeyFinder does not have any illegal code or activity. Instead of generating a pirated product key for you, it decrypts the one you have on your system.
Product keys are encrypted, which is why you can not see them manually on your system, and are required to enter it manually.
Win KeyFinder only retrieves your product key from the System Registry and it is the same as the one used during your original Windows installation.
To conclude, Win KeyFinder merely decrypts your original key, which is not illegal.
How to change the product key in Windows XP?
Below is a step-by-step guide on changing the product key in Windows XP:
- Click on Start > Run, enter regedit in the empty box and select the ‘ok’ option.
- Now you need to double click on the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE from the Registry Editor.
- Click on ‘Software’ > ‘Microsoft’ > ‘Windows NT’ > ‘CurrentVersion’ > ‘WPAEvents’.
- When a new screen appears, right click on ‘OOBETimer’, and then click on ‘Modify’.
- In the ‘Edit Binary Value’ window, you need to select and delete the values from the Value data box and save the settings by clicking on the ‘OK button.
- Now again, you need to go to RUN, and enter %systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a. This will open the ‘Activate Windows’ wizard.
- From the various options available in the Activate Windows wizard, you have to select the second option from the top and then click on the Next button.
- In the new screen, click on the ‘Change Product Key’, then enter the genuine key in the empty box and update.
- In order to check whether your Windows is genuine or not, go to RUN, and enter oobe/msoobe /a command. If your Windows is genuine, it will display a box with a ‘Windows is already activated’ message.
- Delete the WPATimer Value in Regedit, right-click on the WPAEvents and select Permissions, and set all the permissions to deny.
Q. Can Windows XP still be activated after the end of support?
A. Yes, you can install and activate Windows XP even after April 8, 2014, when the support has ended. If your system was running on Windows XP, you need not worry, since the system will not stop working, but it will stop receiving the Microsoft Update from April 8, 2014, onwards.
Q. Will MED-V be supported after April 8, 2014?
A. Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) tool that was used along with the Windows XP version had the same support as Windows XP, and the support has ended since April 8, 2014.
Q. Is System Center, Microsoft Intune, and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit still supporting Windows XP?
A. You can use System Center, Microsoft Intune, and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit on Windows XP, but the support has ended, and you won’t receive the updates; additionally, if any kind of technical issue arises in the system, it will not be addressed.
Q. Does Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool still support Windows XP?
A. When the Windows XP support ended, the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool continued till July 14, 2015. But Microsoft clearly mentioned that PCs running on Windows XP are no longer safe or protected.
Q. Is the Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 still available?
A. No, the Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 followed the same support cycle as Windows XP, and after April 8, 2014, the support has ended.
Q. Are Microsoft Security Essentials still supported after the Windows XP support ended?
A. Microsoft Security Essentials that was installed in the PCs before the Windows XP support ended received anti-malware updates through July 14, 2015. Microsoft Security Essentials download unavailable for Windows XP. According to Microsoft, Windows XP is vulnerable and not protected.