This article contains information to help you resolve a Windows product activation problem. You may be prompted to activate Windows every time that you start the computer. You experience this problem even if you have already activated Windows. This article describes how to remove a script that may interfere with Windows activation. To do this, you must start the computer in safe mode, modify the Windows registry, and then restore the Windows product activation file. Then, you can reactivate Windows. After you follow these steps, you are no longer prompted to activate Windows when you start the computer.
This article is intended for a beginning to intermediate computer user.
You may find it easier to follow the steps if you print this article first.
Every time that you start the computer, you receive a message that prompts you to activate Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Server 2003. You experience this issue even if you have already successfully activated Windows.
Method 2: Manually remove the script that interferes with Windows activation
Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
In this command, replace drive
with the letter of the drive that contains the Windows CD.
For example, if the Windows CD is located in drive D, the command appears as follows:
expand d:\i386\wpa.db_ %windir%\system32\wpa.dbl
This command extracts a copy of the Wpa.dbl file from the Windows CD. Then, it puts this file in the System32 folder of the Windows installation.
Examine the output that appears at the command prompt. If the command runs successfully, information that resembles the following appears:
Microsoft (R) File Expansion Utility Version 5.1.2600.0 Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp 1990-1999. All rights reserved. Expanding d:\i386\wpa.db_ to c:\windows\system32\wpa.dbl. d:\i386\wpa.db_: 2222 bytes expanded to 2126 bytes, -5% increase.
Type exit, and then press ENTER to exit the command prompt.
Step 8: Remove the files that are associated with the script
Click Start, and then click Search.
Under What do you want to search for, click All files and folders.
In the All or part of the file name box, type the following, and then click Search:
This action performs a search for all the following files:
If you use a different search tool such as Windows Desktop Search, use this tool to search for each of these individual files.
In the results pane of the Search Results dialog box, right-click each file, and then click Delete.
Click Yes to confirm the removal of the file.
When you have finished removing these files, exit the Search Results dialog box.
Restart the computer and let Windows restart in normal mode.
Step 9: Reactivate Windows
Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Activate Windows.
If the Windows Product Activation Wizard prompts you to activate Windows, follow the instructions in the wizard to activate Windows.
Restart the computer, and then repeat step 1 of "Step 9: Reactivate Windows" to start the Windows Product Activation Wizard again. You take this step to verify that the wizard does not prompt you to activate Windows again.
If the Windows Product Activation Wizard displays a "Windows is already activated" message, click OK to exit the wizard.