Microsoft Windows Server 2003 - Reinstall XP Without Going Through The Product Activation Process (Again)

If you need to format your hard drive and reinstall XP, but you don't want to go through the product activation process again, this simple procedure can save the day. The process involves saving the activation status info and then restoring it after you reinstall the operating system. Here's how:

  1. Before reformatting, go to My Computer, double-click the drive letter on which you installed XP, and then navigate to the WINDOWSSystem32 directory.
  2. If necessary, click on the Show The Contents Of This Folder link.
  3. Copy the following files to a floppy diskette, USB drive, CD/DVD, or network location: wpa.dbl and wpa.bak.
  4. After reformatting and reinstalling XP, select No when asked if you want to activate Windows now.
  5. Restart in Safe Mode.
  6. In My Computer, open the WINDOWS/System32 folder and rename the existing wpa.dbl and wpa.bak files.
  7. Now copy your old wpa.dbl and wpa.bak files to the System32 folder.
  8. Restart and you should not be requested to activate again. Note: This only works when you reinstall Windows XP on the same computer and the hardware remains unchanged.

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