Save Windows activation for later use

After installation of Windows XP, you need to activate it with Microsoft over the internet or the telephone. But you do not have to do so every time, you re-install Windows XP. You can backup Windows activation after you have activated Windows, and later use the backup to re-activate Windows after re-installation of Windows XP using the following process :

Backup Windows activation

  1. Open Start Menu → Run, type %windir%System32 and press Enter
  2. Make sure you have Show hidden files and folder enabled as described in this article : Display hidden files and folders in Windows XP.
  3. Copy the files Wpa.dbl and Wpa.bak to a CD, another partition, hard drive or a USB disk.

After you re-format the hard disk or Windows partition, and re-install Windows XP, you can restore Window activation in the following manner :

Restore Windows activation

  1. Restart your system, and as your system boots up press F8 repeatedly to access the boot options.
  2. From the menu options select to start Windows in Safe Mode.
  3. After Windows loads in safe mode, open Start Menu → Run, type %windir%System32 and press Enter
  4. Copy the backed up files (Wpa.dbl and Wpa.bak) to the System32 folder. You man not find the wpa.bak file on your computer and that is ok.
  5. If prompt comes for over-writing files then choose Yes.
  6. Restart Windows

Note that this will not work if you do not have an administrator account or you have modified/changed hardware.