Microsoft Activation

Posted on 2003-02-26
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-04
I have a laptop with MS XP-Home installed and registered.  I lent the laptop to someone who installed a copy of MS-Visio 2002 who also installed Microsoft Activation.  How can I fairly simply de-activate or remove the activation without formatting and starting again.
Question by:DougNethercott
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions

Expert Comment

ID: 8024862
This is what I found out a while ago :

When you activate Windows XP, Microsoft stores the data in the Windows Product Activation database files wpa.dbl and Wpa.bak in the folder %systemroot%\system32.

If you change the motherboard or make significant hardware changes, XP will require you to reactive. But if you plan to reinstall XP on the same hardware, you can back up the activation status and then restore it after you reinstall and avoid the activation process.

You can backup the Windows Product Activation database files to diskette. They are very small. A directory listing from my XP Pro workstation:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>dir wp*
 Volume in drive C has no label.
 Volume Serial Number is 8447-0571

 Directory of C:\WINDOWS\system32

10/24/2001  08:28 PM            12,584 wpa.bak
01/14/2002  09:05 AM            12,642 wpa.dbl

After you reinstall XP, to restore the Windows Product Activation database files:
Start XP to Minimal Safe mode

Change directory to the \%systemroot%\system32 folder
Rename the newly created wpa.dbl to wpa.nonactivated and wpa.bak, if it exists, to wpabak.nonactivated.

Copy your backed up wpa.dbl and wpb.bak files to the system32 folder
This should work if you want to avoid activating XP after a reinstall or restore on the same or very similar hardware. It will not work if the hardware is significantly different from that in place when the Windows Product Activation database files were created.

This is not a hack to avoid activating installations.

More :

If it's just the Visio you need to remove, Just uninstall it..

Hope this was Informational


Accepted Solution

techxero earned 800 total points
ID: 8024866
Your question is a bit badly phrased. Some new Microsoft products come with a feature called 'Activation' that is required to use them.

Here's an analogy, you by doors for your home. Some are now coming with locks on them. You can't buy locks on their own, and if you want to use the door you have to unlock them (activating a product). You can usually open the door a certain number of times before you HAVE to use the key. All doors are separate. Your friend installed a new door, with a lock on. The fact that this new door has a lock on it does not interfere with you having unlocked another door properly

You can uninstall Visio (Start>(Settings)> Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs>Microsoft Visio 2002>Remove) and you won't have to re-activate Windows XP or reinstall it, and it will also remove the Visio activation wizard

Or, you can activate Visio by using the wizard.

Or, you can use visio until it won't let you in until you activate it, and then uninstall it

REMEMBER whatever you do with visio it will not effect Windows XP

26.02.02 Tech Xero

Author Comment

ID: 8026551
When Visio 2002 was installed, the person also run the activation wizard.  This permitted 10 uses before restricted functions.  I uninstalled and reinstalled but the activation is still live.  How do I remove the activation.
The Eight Noble Truths of Backup and Recovery

How can IT departments tackle the challenges of a Big Data world? This white paper provides a roadmap to success and helps companies ensure that all their data is safe and secure, no matter if it resides on-premise with physical or virtual machines or in the cloud.


Expert Comment

ID: 8026724
By activating it :-)

The restriction is the default when an app hasn't be activated but simply installed.


Expert Comment

ID: 8026868
Hi Doug

Found this document

Within it :

Q Is there a deactivation procedure?

A No, currently Microsoft products do not implement any such procedure.

Take a read


Expert Comment

ID: 8030918
Yeah, it's not activated. More than likely, he applied a service pack to visio that allows a certain amount of open's before it needs activated. I have a registered version of Visio2002- then the Sp made me enter an activation key after 10 uses... it still opens... but that screen is annoying, I my call them up one day and get it "reactivated" but i don't mind the screen that much :)

Author Comment

ID: 8052852
Please answer my e-mail - many thanks.

Featured Post

Free Tool: Path Explorer

An intuitive utility to help find the CSS path to UI elements on a webpage. These paths are used frequently in a variety of front-end development and QA automation tasks.

One of a set of tools we're offering as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

The term "Bad USB" is a buzz word that is usually used when talking about attacks on computer systems that involve USB devices. In this article, I will show what possibilities modern windows systems (win8.x and win10) offer to fight these attacks wi…
No security measures warrant 100% as a "silver bullet". The truth is we also cannot assume anything but a defensive and vigilance posture. Adopt no trust by default and reveal in assumption. Only assume anonymity or invisibility in the reverse. Safe…
NetCrunch network monitor is a highly extensive platform for network monitoring and alert generation. In this video you'll see a live demo of NetCrunch with most notable features explained in a walk-through manner. You'll also get to know the philos…
In this video you will find out how to export Office 365 mailboxes using the built in eDiscovery tool. Bear in mind that although this method might be useful in some cases, using PST files as Office 365 backup is troublesome in a long run (more on t…
Suggested Courses
Course of the Month8 days, 3 hours left to enroll

765 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question