How to Disable the Product Activation in Windows XP SP2

By Cameron Easey

When reinstalling Windows XP on your system, such as after formatting the hard drive, you may need to reactivate the operating system. If you do not want to go through the product activation process each time you reinstall Windows XP, the process will need to be disabled. To do this you will require a copy of the product activation file, from your system, and the original Windows installation CD.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 ½-inch floppy disk
  • Windows XP installation CD

Step 1

Click the Start menu and then select the option for "My Computer." Double-click the "Local Disk (C:)" icon. Go to the Windows folder and then into the System32 folder.

Step 2

Right-click the "wpa.dbl" file and select "Copy" from the context menu. Click the "Folders" button at the top of the window. Scroll up and select "My Computer."

Step 3

Insert the 3 1/2-inch floppy disk into the disk drive. Double-click icon for "Floppy Disk (A:)" Right-click in the window and select "Paste." This will copy the file to the floppy disk. Remove the floppy disk from the disk drive.

Step 4

Insert the Windows XP installation disk into the CD/DVD drive and then restart the computer. This will boot the computer from the installation CD.

Step 5

Select the option to reinstall the operating system. Follow the instructions on the screen but decline the "Activate Now" option. Wait for the process to finish.

Step 6

Reboot the computer and press the "F8" key when the manufacturer's splash screen appears. This will display the Advanced Boot Options Menu. Select "Minimal Safe Mode" and press the "Enter" key.

Step 7

Click the Start menu and select "My Computer." Insert the 3 1/2-inch floppy disk into the disk drive. Double-click the Floppy Disk (A:) icon. Copy the wpa.dbl file and then paste it into the "C:\Windows\System32" folder.

Step 8

Reboot the computer and wait for the operating system to load.

Tips & Warnings

  • The wpa.dbl file will only be available if you have previously activated Windows XP.