Windows XP SP2 Product Activation Loop

I have recently used the Microsoft Key Update Tool to convert Windows XP SP2 into a genuine copy.

I have managed to get Windows activated but I am continually having to reactivate Windows every time I start my computer.  I have already used my activation quota and have contacted customer support via the telephone and done it that way twice.  I am still having to activate when I start up though and I am now at the point where I won't shut down my notebook because i don't want to go through the whole telephone procedure again.

I have tried the remedies suggested in the threads on this forum but I am getting nowhere.

Does anybody have any suggestions, be aware I am not a computer expert.  
Who is Participating?
MereteConnect With a Mentor Commented:
try thus then Guzzi4v
lol not 100% sure of the exact steps.
go to your search assistant and look for the WPA.DBL you may have to enable the show all hidden files and get search to look in the hidden files.
now this the part I am not sure of whether you actually need the floppy but this WPA.DBL is the activation unlocker
Make a copy of the WPA.DBL file  extract it to a floppy.
Then move the original WPA.DBL to another location in a folder of different name so windows cant find it.
then reboot, once again not quite sure here, but I think you boot to safemode and run the floppy activate it using the new key, then reboot normally.
To check if its now activated at start run type in
%systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a

otherwise another way is to re-install  when it gets to the agree to the EULA and you insert the new key then exit the re-install where it says to quit.
good Luck hope it helps.

Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
I would contact MS support for this issue.  They normaly charge for there support, but since this is a problem with the activation of the OS they may wave the charge (you can always ask them if they will wave the charge, and if they will not just hang up).  Go here for contact info;en-us;select&target=assistance

This is an endemic product in windows activation when some new service packs are installed, and as eb said above, you will have to call MS, your system will shut down soon if you dont -- only other way is to do a totally clean install, which will wipe out your existing programs, as you will have to start with a totally blank drive to get rid of the activation error, else it will plague the new install if not a clean drive.
[Webinar] Kill tickets & tabs using PowerShell

Are you tired of cycling through the same browser tabs everyday to close the same repetitive tickets? In this webinar JumpCloud will show how you can leverage RESTful APIs to build your own PowerShell modules to kill tickets & tabs using the PowerShell command Invoke-RestMethod.

Are you using the same key as per the xpsp1?
Was your xpsp1 activated ok, because if there were no problems with xpsp1 sp2 is simply an update.
Uninstall xpsp2 from add remove programs.
Make sure 'applications' are switched off prior to downloading upgrades in the future.
Disable the internet and as many running programs before installing xpsp2.
Have you added any hardware to the previous xp, is this an OEM?
windows xp can only be activated once.

once you activate, a new file is created in your system32 folder, named wpa.dbl.
that folder holds your computer info during activation like what hardware you have.
if you make to many changes to the computer you will have to reactivate, meaning making a call to microsoft.

so when you get win xp activated again make a copy of the file wpa.dbl save it somewhere.
Copy the file c:\windows\system32\wpa.dbl to a floppy.
  >> This is a copy of the unlock code for your OS
 Use your serach assistant and unhide the system files , once you have copied it and put it on a floppy disc
then move the origianl  to another location  cut and paste- reboot the PC then go through the activation wizard or
boot into safe mode (f8 on boot) to run it)
Windows XP when reinstalling.
If you have successfully activated the OS already, and if you are reinstalling it on the existing hardware,
Copy the file c:\windows\system32\wpa.dbl to a floppy.
Boot to a DOS disk if you are using FAT, or to the Recovery Console if using NTFS.
Copy the file from the first step above back to c:\windows\system32.
That’s it - because all of your hardware is the same as before, your copy of WinXP is still valid according to the previous activation.

How Microsoft Windows XP Product Activation (WPA) Works
Guzzi4vAuthor Commented:
The current OS is Windows XP with SP2.  I guess this is XP with embedded SP2.  This was a pirate copy.  Here's the catch maybe, the current version of Windows was installed as an upgrade to the original OS which is/was Windows XP with a downloaded SP1 update, this was not OEM either but another pirate.  I live and work in parts of the world where pirate software is the only software.  The upgrade was done ages ago though.

I purchased the Product Key and used the Product Key Update tool with the current configuration.  I have activated and registered as per instructions.  I have made no changes to the computer since the Product Key update and 1st activation.

I do not have any recovery disks or a genuine copy of windows.  I have good internet access here but I am in a remote part of the world where technical support does not exist and a genuine copy of Windows does not exist.

I am going to need a little more explanation to know which of the above scenarios I should try, if at all.

I very much apreciate your advice and your time people.  I am learning as I go.  

thank you Guzzi4v yes well that will not then..  what did you pay for the legal key?
well the best option here is re-install xpsp1
Ok for now uninstall xpsp2. from add remove programs.
Re-install xpsp1 then insert the new key. then upgrade xpsp2.

hmm stuck again lol you dont have an xpsp1 cd? You can make a bootable cd for xpsp1 or a slipstreamed with xpsp2.

If you did what I what do if I was in this position but had an xpsp1 cd is perform a repair and then insert the new key at setup. this would validate xpsp1, then re-install xpsp2.
As you have xpsp1 already downloaded make a bootable cd of it.
Creating a bootable Windows XP SP1 CD (Nero 5)

Here the download for xpsp1 again.

Slipstreaming Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Create Bootable CD

How do you perform a reinstallation of Windows XP, sometimes called a repair installation?

Configure your computer to start from the CD-ROM drive. For more information about how to do this, refer to your computer's documentation or contact your computer manufacturer. Then insert your Windows XP Setup CD, and restart your computer.

When the Press any key to boot from CD message is displayed on your screen, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD.
Press ENTER when you see the message To setup Windows XP now, and then press ENTER displayed on the Welcome to Setup screen.
 Do not choose the option to press R to use the Recovery Console.
In the Windows XP Licensing Agreement, press F8 to agree to the license agreement.
 Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, and then press R to repair Windows XP.
 Follow the instructions on the screen to complete Setup.

Illistrated here just scroll down.

Let meknow if you need more assistance.
regards Merete

Buying the xpcd key I hope is enough as you have not actually purchased the opeating system
Order free Windows XP Service Pack 2 on CD

you buy great deals on Ebay for xp pro better than xp home with or without sp2 slipstreamed.
Look for retail full versions as OEM can only be installed when you delete the partition.

Guzzi4vAuthor Commented:
Ok then, I'll work on that for a while.

Again, thanks for your time, much apreciated.  I imagine I'll be back at some point.
:) no worries you dont have anything to lose really. Good Luck Guzzi4v . Please try to come back and let us know how you go.
your feedback is important for others to use your experience. Feels nice hey.
Sincerely Merete
Guzzi4vAuthor Commented:
A bit more.  

I paid the normal $149 for the legal key.

Remember, I do have the dodgy Windows XP/SP2 CD with me, just no genuine copy.

I cannot remove SP2 in Add/Remove programs because it isn't in there and I guess this is b/c I used the Windows XP/embedded SP2 CD, i.e. it has already been slipstreamed.  SP1 is not in there either, for the same reason I guess.  

I have access to a reinstall CD but it came with a DELL (I have a Toshiba) and it checks the BIOS and says no right from the outset.

I also have a copy of an early XP without any SP's, but it is also pirate.

A comedy of errors really.
engineer_dellConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If nothing works out of what mentioned above try this before calling microsoft...I think it is worth as it has resolved some similar cases..

Click start/run, type "regsvr32 regwizc.dll" (without the quotes) and click "ok". Then do the same for "regsvr32 licdll.dll". You should get a successful message for both and it should resolve the error message. If not, then try these steps:

Start the computer in Safe mode by hitting F8 at startup. Click start/run, type regedit and click ok. Expand the branches in the left pane by clicking the plus (+) signs to reach these keys:


Click on the folder representing each key and delete them one at a time. You may want to create a backup before doing so by clicking file/export and saving a copy to the desktop. If there is a problem after deleting, you can put the key back by double-clicking it. If there is no problem, you can delete the key later. When finished, restart the system normally after closing the registry editor.

Note: If you used reset5 to crack the Windows XP installation previously, the above steps will not work


lol talk about a comedy of errors the problem here is you should have just gone a bought a new xpcd with sp2 comes with a new key too.. formatted it deleted the partition and installed your new operating system.
Now you have paid for a key but have no good xpcd.
Ok this a del as well, hmm. IS this Del Desktop or Notebook?
Please not a Notebook

Look how financial are you?, I appreciate not every one has cash handy these days, but I  think your best option here get a new hdd lets say around 40 gig.Or 80 and create 2 partitons one for windows and one for your stuff.. make your new slipstreamed xpcd  yourself so your money is not lost buying that..
 format the new hdd using the new slipstreamed  xpcd you can create a partition if you make a good working slipstreamed cd.
keep this other hdd and slave it. Its probably getting old anyway. But may come in handy as a backup hdd.
you can re-partiton it from administrative tools computer management disc manager in windowsxp.

This way you know you have started a reliable legal operating system, the next is to check if the ram is good. Ram gets old and gets dirty.
How old is the cmos battery?
The processor should be checked too the thermal jel dries out under the processor chip and this can cause problems.
What condition is the PSU in, this machien lkives and breathes electricity, and it must never fluctuate.
It should be at least 380w. More watts saves the ram labour.
If you build a house from the foundation up it will be strong.
If you try building the furniture first well lol.
:) Merete

Remember, I do have the dodgy Windows XP/SP2 CD with me, just no genuine copy<< lol never saw that mentioned till now, can you use that?/ try using that in the repair option and just insert the new key, if it is not an OEM then try deleting the partition then re-install using that,
here is how, set your bios to boot from cd first boot
Dont worry about a floppy.
fully illistrated.
Clean install xp.
Use the delete partition
Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
MS has support in almost every country around the world.  If you were able to call them for acrivation, you can call them for support.

Go to the page I pasted in my first comment and select your location from the list, this should give you the support number, or tell us where you are and we can find the number for you.

Ryan_RConnect With a Mentor IT Systems AdministratorCommented:
i would reinstall /repair windows with the dodgy xp cd that doesn't have sp2 slipstremed. as soon as it is installed run the activation tool and get xp activated before you install sp2 and other stuff. it might be worth your while to try using the legal key during xp setup, but it probably won't accept it so you'll need to use corporate/pirate xp key. If you dig around the microsoft website you might be able to order a Xp or Vista cd/dvd for a fee depending how remote you are.

just a thought, hope this helps
this may be helpful, worth a shot
Guzzi4vAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the ideas.

The computer is a Toshiba notebook, S1900-102.

I actually ran my dodgy XP/SP2 CD on upgrade and I now have an operating system with a dodgy key, but it works.  I just have to put up with the little sign telling me my software is non-genuine and the task bar pop-up telling me the same thing and that I cannot access updates.  The computer works though and I can startup and shutdown as I please.  Maybe it is best to leave it like this until I get to a place where I can work on it with some help close by.

I still paid $149 for a key I cannot get accepted though and I am working on that now.  I will get somebody back in Aus to get me a contact number, or email, for Microsoft Technical Support that I can actually access.  It seems Microsoft actually play pretty hard to get if you really need to talk to someone.  I don't want to do it here b/c of the language barrier.

I can see from the above that it is SP2 that is the problem somehow, is this right?  It would also appear to have something to do with the wpa files.  There must be a way to deal with it without a clean install.  I do not want to do a clean install, there is too much stuff on my computer that I CANNOT lose and, as I said, I am not an expert.  

I also had resetservice.exe and srvany.exe running on the computer, I cannot get a clear indication off the forums as to whether this is contributing or not.    
Hey queenslander here helping you already lol.
Cairns way.
Ryan_RIT Systems AdministratorCommented:
likewise Victoria 'ere

have you checked this:

Ryan R
Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
All you need to do is select Aus. from the list on the link I posted, it will bring you to the support contacts for your area.

The following page is MS XP Pro support in Aus.

Since you have paid for the license and can not get it to activate, MS should assist you with out charge.  They also have e-mail support that has a 1 - 2 day responce time.

Ryan_RIT Systems AdministratorCommented:
ebjers that's practically the same page i linked above!
Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
Yes, and the page you linked can be accessed from the page I linked in the first comment of the topic, by selecting Aus from the list.
Ryan_RIT Systems AdministratorCommented:
thern i am sorry, mate
Ryan_RIT Systems AdministratorCommented:
my school internet account does not let me access most sites (suprised i can get into EE so i don't usually check out links until i get home)
Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
no problem, I understand.  It's hard to not repeat comments from the begining of a post when there is as much as there is in this post.

guzzi4v, any updates for us?
You are prompted to activate Windows every time you restart your computer

read cause & try method 2
Guzzi4vAuthor Commented:
Sorry people, I've been out in the communes doing some work.

I'll be in tomorrow to go through all this.  You blokes have all been helpful, how do I give you all points?

The ampunt of stuff about on this topic all over the place is pretty comprehensive but nobody can seem to get it fixed with SP2 embedded.  It's a tuff nut to crack.

I am from Barcaldine by the way.  Middle of QLD.
Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
You can split the points amung any answer you think helped.  Should be a split points button or link
Hi fellow Queenslander Guzzi4v  well Bill Gates has some incredibe programmers out there finding ways to make it difficult to actually do the right thing.
If he has his way he wants to sell xpcd not the keys.
Did the copy WPA.DBL save separately.. then remove the original WPA.DBL to another place then boot to safemode and re activate uisng the copied WPA.DBL not work either?
Cairns way Guzzi4v
far north the rain drenched :)
Guzzi4vAuthor Commented:

I have been away for 2 weeks on workshops.  I am not prepared to do a clean install here on my computer if I have a running machine.  I have tried Microsoft Aus and after a lot of meaningless questions they told me to call Microsoft Vietnam (where I am).  I may try that at some point but I do not speak Vietnamese and I don't really think it will be helpful.  I am going back to Oz for leave in a month and I will try to resolve it then.  I believe we are on the right track with the WPA line of thought but I see from other forums that no-one has really developed a cure without a clean install.  I think the whole issue is related to what change in the WPA files is causing the problem.  I have thought that maybe my problem lies with the date/time configuration.  I always change the date time to d/m/yr on my computer b/c I am Australian.  The dodgy XPSP2 is from Vietnam and has m/d/yr as standard.  Maybe this is simply it.  I always have to go into the registry and change the short date key b/c otherwise the computer will keep reverting to the old configuration when you startup and this plays hell with all your software.  I had already done this when I originally bought the product key and installed it though.  I don't know.  Other people have resolved this somehow by playing with the date/time but I am sick of trying things and then ringing Microsoft for a new installation ID over and over again.

I thank everybody for their time and effort and my knowledge level is vastly improved because of it.  At least now when I have a crack at it in Aus I will know what I am talking about.  Thanks people.
your wellcome  and thank you too good luck with it.
XP should be xp no matter where the only added ons is the language packs.
Safe journey back to Australia.
Regards Merete
Ryan_RIT Systems AdministratorCommented:
thanks for the points - hope it all worked out all right
I know the reply is well late, but heres a full soloution.

You'll need an xp cd and possibly a usb stick. If you haven't got any archiving tool download alzip or winrar and put it on a usb as you'll need one. Also you'll need the next service pack (Or SP3 as it sounds like you have SP2 streamlined)

1) Find a windows cd (Anyone that's not pre-cracked)
2) Boot into safe mode (Without networking otherwise you'll get the same message (Activation loop))
3) Copy WPA.DB_ from d:\i386 to your desktop or usb stick (Where d: is your cd drive)
4) Go into C:\Windows\System32, find WPA.dbl and zip it up (Use Winzip/Winrar/Alzip - Whatever you like) then remove the file from the folder so you only have the archived one (which you'll leave for safe keeping). It you can't extract it you've
5) Extract the WPA.DB_ you copied from the XP CD. Copy the WPA.dbl to c:\windows\system32
6) Reboot the machine, again tapping F8 and loading safe mode (WITHOUT networking).
7) Install the latest service pack.
8) Reboot as normal.

You should now be working full activated.... Either that or you'll need to reactivate.
That looks like it came from Step 7 in my first link to :

Anyway it's good you're working, now to re-close this ancient ticket.
All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.