Tip to avoid re-activating XP

As most users know, it’s common to reinstall your OS once in a while. Maybe it’s due to adding new hardwares such as a bigger harddrive or it could also be due to various software issues, like being hit by viruses and spywares.

So a clean install is the best answer. It maybe annoying to some people to re-activate their OS everytime they do a clean install. So to avoid all the hassle you may use the tip by David on WorldStart

According to David, here is what you need to do.

  • Before you format and install XP, backup your wpa.dbl file. It’s in Windows\System32. Backup to your USB drive. This file was created when you first activated your XP.
  • During Windows XP installation, at the activation screen, decline to activate and proceed with the rest of the installation.
  • After your XP is installed, restart you PC and choose Safe Mode. When you computer reboots, press the F8 key and choose safe mode as shown in the picture below:
  • Go back to Windows\System32 and rename the wpa.dbl file to wpa.old or whatever you fancy.
  • Plug in your USB drive and copy back the wpa.dbl from your USB drive to WIndows\System32 folder.
  • Reboot your machine.
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One Response

  1. The WPA.DBL file resides in the Windows\system32 directory and holds the hardware configuration information and activation state of the current Windows XP installation. The WPA.DBL file is actually an RC4-encrypted database of the expiration info of your installation, the confirmation of activation, the hardware configuration at activation time, and the current hardware configuration. When you first install Windows XP, this file is approximately 2K in size–not much more than a stub file. When you activate Windows, this file grows to approximately 12K-13K, recording the hardware status of your machine. At each boot, Windows analyzes your current hardware and compares it to the stored configuration information to see if it has changed. When you make hardware changes, Windows makes a note of the changes in the WPA file, but keeps the original configuration for reference. If you make too many changes, Windows XP will reset the WPA.DBL file back to its original non-activated (2K file size) state, and you have to reactivate.

    @Sentinal: Very informative. Thank you very much

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