I have just re-installed Windows XP Pro (SP2) on a computer using the OEM key stuck to the bottom of the PC. The installation went without incident but the first time I tried to log into Windows, I was informed that I needed to activate Windows first, no 30 days grace period was given.

As I had not yet loaded the network drivers in I opted for telephone activation, again this went with out incident and I was given the validation numbers and entered them into the dialogue box. After doing this I pressed OK, It said thank you and infomed me that my copy of Windows as now activated. Clicking OK sent me back to the Windows Welcome screen.

Now when I click the user name to log into windows, an message informs me that I need to activate windows before I can log in. Pressing NO sends me back to the welcome screen. Pressing YES re-opens the Activation screen, where I am informed that I have already registered. The only option from here is an OK button, that send me back to the welcome screen, to start the whole process again.

Has any one experienced this? and if so how to I rectify it?

Things that may be important to know.

  • I have tried re-installing Windows, with the same result

  • I can log into Safe Mode

  • The windows CD I used was Windows Pro SP2, but may not be the same one that came with the computer (I have a stack of 30 or so of them)

  • The windows key code, does not specify SP2 on it (it just says Windows XP Pro OEM), but the code I entered was excepted by the installer.


Probably the new Product Key does not match the version of windows XP that is installed on your computer. You have apparently used an OEM key with a non-OEM installation.

The best thing it's to find a product key that fit your version of Windows XP or to re-install with the CD that came with your OEM product key.

You may also try the solution from this thread:
After 'repairing' XP Pro install Activation doesn't run

  1. Turn On your PC
  2. Press F8 repeatedly and go to Safe Mode
  3. Logon as per normal
    (note: Administrator password is usually blank, but hopefully you know your password)
  4. Allow the Desktop to fully load (answering "Yes" to continue into Safe Mode)
    (note: This is just a long way of saying go to Safe Mode)
  5. Click on Start - Run
  6. Type in exactly: rundll32.exe syssetup,SetupOobeBnk (and click OK)
    (note: one space, after "rundll32.exe " also the Oo are two letter o's in "oobe"; capitals and comma are important)
  7. Wait a couple of seconds (although you will Not see any change)
  8. Restart your PC normally (Start - Shutdown - Restart - Ok)
  9. You are now able to go to Normal Mode again (For another 30 days !!!)
  10. Do whatever you like, you're back to Normal.
  • I tried 4 other XP disks before I found one that worked.. Time to re-think my filing system :P – Re0sless Aug 6 '10 at 12:40

Well, try one of those:

  • disable welcome screen (enter using safe mode, control panel, user accounts, sth like settings and disable it) and restart


  • install SP3

So I guess this case is about Windows XP version 2a, 2b, 2c (correct if wrong).

I think you have 2 choices:

1) Call Microsoft Activation Center, and ask them done activation for you (save time and effort)


2) Install that key with a Windows XP SP3 Installation disc.


Download service pack 3 onto a flash drive. Start up Windows in safe mode, and insert the flash drive. Double click the installer from the flash drive. Go through the prompts and install service pack 3.

When you are finished, reboot in safe mode and confirm that service pack 3 is installed. Reboot normally, and when the Windows activation screen pops up like before this repair, you'll have the activation numbers showing and the phone support will now work.

Service pack 3 can be downloaded directly from Microsoft at this address


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