After 4 days of BSODs, GRUB errors, Windows bootloader errors, VMWare converter errors, terabytes od dd'ed data, liters of tears and tons of pain I managed to migrate my about 12 years old Windows XP physical machine to VM. It kind of works. I mean it's a bit stable, bootable and In case worst thing ever happens (physical machine dies) It can be considered as sufficient "backup" of this old OS.

The only problem is that it says there's "3 days left" for activation. It's original Windows XP Professional OEM I should have product key and stuff somewhere around. But when I click "Yes" as in "Yes I want to activate now" it says everything's fine this machine is activated, go home and everything boots up properly. It's quite confusing. Well. Windows XP support is dead. I tried to crack it but cracks don't really seem to work for this, tried to edit registry WPAEvents but it also doesn't seem to work. If it's going to work like that forever (I mean force me to activate and then claim it's okay and boot then fine, I'm glad it boots up at all) but I have no idea what's gonna happen after those 3 days and if I actually need to bother with this right now as I don't really need to use this VM as long as physical machine is not dead.

So does anyone know what is actually gonna happen?

  • 1
    Windows uses your computer's hardware to register it's activation. Since you're using both the original laptop and a VM with the same key you now have two "computers" with the same copy of Windows. If the VM is just a backup, then leave it turned off until you need it. (Also if you made a VHD you can mount that as a drive without booting XP.) – LAROmega Aug 5 '16 at 18:02

So i shifted BIOS time in VBox using --biossystemtimeoffset to 4 days ahead and it freaked out - didn't allow me to log in. Endless loop - activate, everything is ok, logout -> activate, ok, logout and so on.

I booted into safe mode and deleted WPAEvent keys (damaged them so windows completely unregistered itself). "Changed" product key and entered once again key from sticker. Clicked activate though internet and it just worked ._.

And yeah now I have 2 working PCs on single key. Maybe because first PC was activated by phone not via internet or maybe because I had SP2 and then updated to SP3 so technically it sees itself as SP3 now but key was registered as SP2. Maybe m$ just doesn't care about XP anymore and accepts everything. idk. Anyways it was weird... I'm just glad it works and that it's finally over.

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