What Options are there to activate Windows XP nowadays?

The "regular" methods provided with XP (phone and online) don't work anymore. The phone number is not valid for activation anymore (I tried the German one) and the online activation does not work either (in a quick test within a DMZ other protocols like ICMP or HTTP worked fine when I accessed an internet server).

Activation screen

The latest question/answer I could find here on superuser is this one: XP Activation and Dual Booting which doesn't provide an answer to my question. In addition the question asks only if it can be done in general not how (neither does the existing answer say how), and about other problems (dual boot), so I decided to post the question again as specific question just about the activation process.

The solutions can be a workaround (disabling the activation check), but for security reasons, it shouldn't contain a binary download. Preferably it also shouldn't require a network/internet connection. Although there is no way around using WinXP, I want to minimize security risks.

EDIT1: Since quite a few people asked, please note why (in my opinion) this question is not a duplicate of XP Activation and Dual Booting, please see my explanation above. I made a thorough explanation in meta here.

EDIT2: it was suggested to call MS support and/or sales unfortunately they do not help with WinXP anymore.

EDIT3: please be aware that running an outdated OS without security updates poses security risks explained here as BurceWayne points out correctly. Therefore, if possible you should change/upgrade the OS of your device. However in some cases it's not an option to change to a different OS, e.g. because certain drivers/HW/SW is only compatible with Win XP.

EDIT4: note, the activation process comes after entering a installation/serial key (e.g. from the licence sticker)

  • I ran into this last year and the activation servers turned out to be down rather than gone forever.
    – cloneman
    Nov 18, 2019 at 9:00
  • 2
    I seem to recall something like 400,000 ATM machines running on Windows XP as of a few years ago. The producers were paying Microsoft yearly fees for maintenance. This could explain why it's still possible to activate Windows XP as noted in Albin's answer (in case an ATM machine needed to be replaced).
    – rcgldr
    Nov 18, 2019 at 10:58
  • Created a new Hyper-V VM, installed Windows XP SP3 (from MSDN), activated without problems. Windows Update isn’t working properly anymore though.
    – Daniel B
    Nov 18, 2019 at 13:46
  • 7
    @rcgldr for windows XP activation was only for the consumer releases, volume license copies of XP do not require activation.
    – plugwash
    Nov 18, 2019 at 15:19
  • XP activates fine for me with an internet connection (mid 2019). Note that's using it from within a VirtualBox in Linux Mint. As soon as it's activated, I disable the net connection.
    – Neil_UK
    Nov 19, 2019 at 15:48

6 Answers 6


I found two solutions, and both of them work offline, so you don't have to connect the WinXP system to a network (although I have to use WinXP I try to minimize security risks):

A) Activating over the phone

Calling the current MS activation number for a product still in support (e.g. for activation for Win7) and choosing "Other Products" in the voice menu. This is my preferred one since you don't have to tamper with the system. In my case (Nov 2019) I followed the link to the Microsoft Licensing Activation Centers worldwide telephone numbers.

B) Disabling activation process

Deleting the value of the OOBETimer key (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/WPAEvents/OOBETimer) and starting the activation via command prompt: msoobe /a. This will disable the activation requirement for good but might cause issues (although I haven't found any yet) (source)

C) Create a phone confirmation ID yourself (3rd party tool)

You need to download Neo-Desktop/WindowsXPKg, select the phone activation in Windows and run the tool to create the confirmation ID. Detailed instructions are given in the readme section of the tool on the GitHub site. (source)

Side note: The number I used for Germany was +49 89 2444 5093 (checked August.2023) but I would suggest looking at the list provided through the link since those numbers will be updated. US number +1 888-571-2048 is supposed to work as well, but I didn't try it.

Side note 2: Here's a little note from the developer responsible for the Windows Product Activation on YouTube: Blame Me: The INSIDER Secrets of Windows Product Activation!

A small request on my own behalf: if the solution worked for you please consider an upvote, thank you!

  • 17
    AFAIK what would cause the re-request for activation would be the release of a new update, which would reset the OOBETimer. Since MS aren't releasing updates for WInXP anymore, that should no longer be an issue. Nov 18, 2019 at 5:40
  • 3
    @GeoffAtkins yay?
    – OrangeDog
    Nov 18, 2019 at 15:26
  • 2
    Good answer, this worked for me a couple of weeks ago when a VM I have suddenly wanted to be re-activated. I was really surprised the phone system still worked. Nov 18, 2019 at 15:35
  • 4
    @GeoffAtkins technically correct, although there was an out of band update this year, and also for Window Server 2003. When the Navy stops using it, then it dies.
    – mckenzm
    Nov 18, 2019 at 20:01
  • 4
    My machine had already expired so I could only get into safe mode, which wouldn't let me run the OOBE tool. I had to reset the clock using rundll32.exe syssetup,SetupOobeBnk (from here) and reboot before it would let me run the commands above. Update, it doesn't seem to be permanent.
    – Deanna
    Feb 6, 2020 at 23:32

I managed to activate an XP license key using this link that I got off of a Microsoft support forum. I don't know how long this link will stay active, but as at posting date it still works.


The link that I posted is not on the Microsoft site, but to the best of my knowledge it is what Microsoft uses for activation. It is referred to as Microsoft's "Self Service for Mobile".

This link just allows you to manually activate the the installation. So you select activate via phone option, then your XP box activation screen will give you a set of numbers. You enter these numbers into the site and the site gives you the response numbers to enter into the XP installation that you are needing to activate. Then you click on "next" and the activation completes.

So there is no way that this could contain malware or virus's because nothing is installed or run on the box that you are activating, unlike the other options listed here that involve running scripts to by-pass the activation process.

I am just giving my experience here; I had a box belonging to a friend of mine that somehow got into an activation loop (even though it had previously been activated for years), and I got the PC activated using the link. And I did so by following the standard Microsoft activation screens.

I also gave the link to the Microsoft forum where I found this link, but, yes, disclaimer: use at your own discretion.

  • 1
    Please be cautious!!! gointeract.io is not a Micosoft site, what the OP does not mention. Whatever this does, this might be illegal software even maleware (I haven't tried yet).
    – Albin
    Feb 16, 2021 at 11:09
  • You should describe in detail what the link does.
    – Albin
    Feb 16, 2021 at 11:11
  • I find it strange, if there is something wrong with this activation link, that it was posted on the Microsoft forum almost a year ago without any moderators issuing any warning about it.
    – BruceHill
    Feb 16, 2021 at 15:47
  • 1
    I just used this method and the activation code that was generated activated my copy of Windows XP.
    – Jimbo
    Feb 23, 2021 at 5:05
  • 2
    This is a legit link. If you call the activation number found in your product, they'll offer to text you a shortlink: m.vivr.io/fGT9iqN which redirects to the link above. This works fine to activate Windows XP (via the 'telephone' method) as of April 2021.
    – dordal
    Apr 16, 2021 at 17:18

Regarding failure of online activation, did you check the date on the system?

I activated Windows XP on an old machine one week ago.

After two days of trying to figure out why almost everything Internet-related was not working (browsing, windows update, activation), it turns out the date was wrong and set to 2004.

A wildly wrong date will break anything that uses ssl/tls, as certificates will be assumed to be either expired (if the date is in the future) or not yet valid (if the date is in the past). This apparently includes windows activation.

I changed it to the current date & time and was able to activate and update the OS.

  • 2
    This post does not answer the question.
    – sven.to
    Nov 18, 2019 at 15:19
  • 24
    The OP is claiming that online activation does not work, he is assuming this is a server problem, but it's equally possible it's a client problem, especially as others are reporting succesful activations. Having a wildly wrong date will break any online service that uses SSL/TLS because certificates will be regarded as "not yet valid".
    – plugwash
    Nov 18, 2019 at 21:31
  • @plugwash that should be edited into the answer!
    – pkamb
    Nov 19, 2019 at 8:34
  • Additionally, updates may be required due to server-side encryption changes.
    – Daniel B
    Nov 19, 2019 at 9:16
  • I wonder if different installation images use different activation servers. I would like to try an image on the machine in question which has prooved to have a working online activation on a different machine.
    – Albin
    Nov 19, 2019 at 11:43

So, try this .bat script to do this process. Due to the limit size (3.9mb) for .gif files, link for viewers here.

This .bat script will do it.

@echo off && cd /d "."
rem :: the windows reg key used to activate process in this bat/cmd read/write/delete ::  
set "_wpaKey=HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents"

reg query  "%_WPAKey%" | find /i "OOBETimer"                & rem/ output key value in screen
reg export "%_WPAKey%" ".\PAEvents_SAVE_Original.Reg"       & rem/ save original value in file
reg delete "%_WPAKey%" /v "OOBETimer" /f >nul               & rem/ remove the key/value
reg add    "%_wpaKey%" /v OOBETimer /t REG_BINARY /f        & rem/ recreate the key/value
timeout /t -1 2> nul                                        & rem/ time out to see the results
cd /d "C:\WINDOWS\system32\oobe"                            & rem/ goto to drive/folder C:\WINDOWS\system32\oobe\
start "" /realtime C:\WINDOWS\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a   & rem/ start the activate windows interface 
echo/:: sample key !! --^>  ISAY-REIN-STAT-EMO-NICA^!       & rem/ if need put some windows key to view/copy/paste   
pause >nul                                                  & rem/ pause to keep console windows 

enter image description here

  • 1
    this is the best answer Nov 11, 2020 at 14:41
  • @HernánEche I used it for many years and it still works well.
    – Io-oI
    Nov 12, 2020 at 12:32
  • Doesn't work on my build 2600 installation. But why would it? It simply deletes a registry key. If it had been that simple...
    – Dercsár
    Jun 13, 2021 at 10:07
  • @Dercsár So sorry, have you using in Not Custom cd installer?
    – Io-oI
    Jun 14, 2021 at 12:55
  • I have used the very original installer iso and burned it to cd. But I cannot understand, why deleting a registry key and changing product code (as the above script) would cause it to be activated.
    – Dercsár
    Jun 15, 2021 at 14:34

I just successfully activated an old copy of Windows XP I had installed using the toll free U.S. phone number listed in the activation dialog (888-571-2048), so it's possible the issue was with the German number and not phone activations in general.

As part of the call, they provided me with an online activation link, which allowed me to activate my copy online. After providing the link, I was instructed to hang up the call. I was able to enter the information from the activation dialog into the online form, and enter the resulting activation code into the activation dialog. This successfully activated my installation Windows XP.

Presumably you could pay for a 2-minute long international call to the United States to generate your unique activation link, and then hang up and perform the rest of the activation online.

  • There are still phone numbers for all countries as I stated in my answer. It's not only the German number provided during the installation process that doesn't work any more, in some installations out there the US number does not work any more either but it's good to know that some of the numbers still work, so it's worth a try. What number did you use?
    – Albin
    Jan 6, 2021 at 18:53
  • I'm curious, if your number still works, why did you search for a way to activate Windows here on Superuser?
    – Albin
    Jan 6, 2021 at 18:58
  • @Albin It was the toll-free U.S. phone number. I added it to my answer.
    – M. Justin
    Jan 6, 2021 at 19:04
  • @Albin I tried the online activation first, it didn't work, so I searched for a solution to that before deciding to try the phone activation route.
    – M. Justin
    Jan 6, 2021 at 19:05
  • Thx, so your number was was shown in the activation dialogue right? Do you know the date of the installation files for a chance (or the Win Version before you do any updates)?
    – Albin
    Jan 6, 2021 at 20:25

To be honest I never activated an installation of Windows XP legitimately, with one major reason being I'm located in China where codes like MRX3F can be found online everywhere.

I'm not advocating piracy but the truth is, no one cares about this 2001-era antique anymore, so most likely you'll find any working solution satisfactory.

In fact the last time I had to touch Windows XP was preparing for labs of an archaeological course where we're taught about 8086 assembly (Intel Microprocessors), and I just applied a random solution that I found online to activate the Windows XP in my virtual machine.

In fact Windows XP uses offline activation, and its verification algorithm has long been leaked, which means anyone can generate an infinite amount of valid keys and get along with them.

  • 3
    Is there some source about analysis of the algorithm ?
    – beppe9000
    Nov 19, 2019 at 12:29
  • 1
    @beppe9000 Here's one I've found, note it's in Chinese.
    – iBug
    Nov 22, 2019 at 19:57

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