A Windows XP activation key is required to activate and engage the operating system. The key is essentially proof of ownership and it connects the operating system to the buyer. Purchasing a computer with Windows XP or installing XP on a new system may require a key that is lost or not immediately available. Activating Windows XP without a key is still possible using a few different approaches.
Locate the Original Key
The best means of activating Microsoft XP is with the original key. Unfortunately, the lack of customer support for XP means the original key is not supplied by Microsoft. The company is more focused on bringing users to newer operating systems rather than digging up old keys.
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Look for the original key by searching the physical computer. In some cases, the key is written or taped to the monitor, laptop or somewhere on the actual computer. In this situation, the original key is easy to find and use for the activation process.
If the key is not easily found on the physical computer, this means it's likely located on paper or in an email from the original purchase. Look through old emails and filings to find the original key. It's well worth a few minutes of searching to discover the original key because it will tie the system to your name and original purchase.
Regedit Key Process
You can install Windows XP without a key using the regedit method for an XP activation crack, and the option to change the original key also follows these steps closely. Go ahead and click the Start or Windows button then click Run to open a dialogue box. Type "Regedit" in the box and click Enter to run the program to generate the files associated with the run. Click the folder labeled HKey_Local_Machine and choose the + symbol to expand and reveal the contents of the folder, then expand the Software folder to reveal the contents within this specific label.
Continue this process to expand the nested folders labeled Microsoft, Windows NT and CurrentVersion. Click the WPA Events folder to reveal the contents and right click OOBETimer followed by Modify to reveal a series of numbers and characters. These are randomized and will require replacement. Replace each character with a similar but different character to create a new product key in the same format and save the code to your computer or write it down in a convenient location, then click OK and save the changes before exiting the tool.
Now open the run dialogue box again and type %systemroot%system32oobemsoobe.exe/a to open the setup wizard. Follow the steps in the wizard and use the new key to activate Windows XP. If the setup does not automatically accept the key, choose the Change Product Key option on the activation specific step and enter the new key in that location.
Windows XP Activator
Activating without a key is often necessary because Windows XP is no longer in production and does not offer customer support to locate old keys for activation. The original key is encrypted and locating without finding the original sticker or receipt is difficult. In this situation, finding the original key is not possible and pairing a different key is necessary to activate Windows XP.
Key finding programs are readily available and they essentially generate a key that will be accepted to activate the program. Some programs do require a small fee but they are easy to use and will scan the computer to supply a key.
Download a key finder program like Winkey Finder (see Resources) and scan until it generates a key to use. Enter the key while installing or re-installing Windows XP and the operating system will install and activate. Winkey is an excellent option because it requires no installation to run the scan.