Monday, July 02, 2007

How to restore XP activation status information after a reformat

Having just had to go through the indignity of reinstalling Windows XP Home Edition from scratch when one of my machines blew it's main hard disk and then having to phone Microsoft to be able to activate it 'cause I got a message that I'd activated this particular version more times than Microsoft thought I should have, I thought I'd remind myself how to backup the activation status files so hopefully I wont have to do it again (unless I change a component of course).
  1. Double-click My Computer, then double-click on the "C" drive.
  2. Navigate to the C:\Windows\System32 folder.
  3. Locate the files named "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" and copy them to a safe location such as a USB key or CD.
  4. Reformat your disk and reinstall Windows XP on your reformatted hard drive, click "No" when asked if you want to activate Windows.
  5. Reboot your computer into SafeMode (press F8 as Windows is booting up to see the Windows Advanced Options menu and select SAFEBOOT_OPTION=Minimal)
  6. Double-click My Computer, then double-click on the "C" drive again.
  7. Navigate to the C:\Windows\System32 folder again.
  8. Locate the files named "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" (if it exists) and rename them to "" and ""
  9. Copy your original "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" files from your USB key, CD or DVD or other location into the C:\Windows\System32 folder
  10. Restart your system.

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