This article teaches you how to bypass the Windows XP trial using either a standard product key or software that displays your own product key. Note that you should only apply the following information if you are unable to activate your license despite having a legally purchased license of Windows XP.
Table of Contents
Manually change the Windows XP product key
⊞ Win R This will open the “Run” program, which you can use to access your PC’s registry.
In the Run dialog box, type “regedit”.
↵ Enter This opens the Registry Editor tool.
Look at the tree of options on the left.
You’ll need to navigate through several of the folders listed here to get to your destination. Since the registry is where most of your computer’s sensitive system data is stored, you may want to first click File in the top left and then click Export to back up the registry before proceeding.
Expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE folder.
Note that this requires you to click the plus sign (+) to the left of the folder – don’t click the folder itself.
Expand the “SOFTWARE” folder.
Any folder you need to expand from now on is in the previous folder (e.g. “SOFTWARE” is in “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” and so on).
Expand the “Microsoft” folder.
Expand the Windows NT folder.
Expand the CurrentVersion folder.
Click on the “WPA Events” folder.
Don’t expand this. You should see its contents in a window on the right side of Registry Editor.
Right-click the “OOBETimer” entry.
Select the content of “OOBETimer”.
Here you should see different pairs and sequences of random numbers.
Clear This should clear the values listed here.
Type in new numbers.
It doesn’t matter what you enter here, but the format must remain the same (e.g. if you deleted four characters, you must replace them with four characters).
This saves your changes.
Quit Registry Editor.
Open the Run dialog again.
You can press ⊞ Win and R again to do this.
” %systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a ” Omit the quotes. Entering this command will open the Windows XP Activation Wizard. It is best to simply copy this text into the Run field.
Select the phone option.
It should say “Yes, I want to call a customer service representative to activate Windows”. To the left of that should be a checkbox that you can click. If you see the notice that “Windows XP has already been activated,” manually changing the key won’t work. Please proceed to the Windows Key Finder method.
Click at the bottom of the “Activate” window
Change product key
Note that you may have to try this step multiple times with different keys. If you don’t know what version of Windows XP your computer is currently running, check your computer’s manual to check before proceeding with trying the linked product keys.
Update This creates a new Windows XP ID for your computer. When this is complete, you will need to confirm Windows XP activation.
Check the “Activate Windows over the Internet” option.
Here’s a quick way to activate your version of XP. Note that the option to call a Microsoft customer service representative is unlikely to work since Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014.
Follow the on-screen instructions.
After you’ve finished activating Windows XP, you should be able to use it without getting locked out of the system.
With Windows Key Finder
Go to the
Winkey Finder is a free program that can find and recover your Windows XP product key. It doesn’t need to be installed.
Click on the latest version of Winkey Finder.
Since January 2017 this is version 2.0. Since this version is currently in beta, you can also download the final version 1.75.
Download Winkey Finder You should see this button at the bottom of the Winkey version page.
Right-click the Winkey folder.
It should be located where you selected it when you clicked “Download” (e.g. on your desktop).
Extract All This will extract the contents of the file to your desktop.
Double-click the Winkey Finder folder.
This is the folder you just extracted.
Double-click the Win Keyfinder program.
It should be the only executable file in that folder (“.exe”).
Look at the product key.
Running Winkey Finder should immediately display your Windows XP product key so that the next time Windows prompts you for an update, you can enter the key in the Windows XP Activation Wizard. It is best to write down the product key.
Fix the Windows Activation Loop
Restart your computer.
You can choose this option from the Start menu, or you can press your computer’s power button until it turns off and then press the button again.
F8 You need to do this when the logo appears for the first time after rebooting. Keep pressing F8 until you see the advanced options menu.
Use the arrow keys to select
Safe Mode with Command Line Restarting your computer in this mode bypasses the Windows Activation Loop long enough to allow you to reset the XP trial period timer.
↵ Enter You have to wait about a minute for Safe Mode to load.
” explorer.exe ” Omit the quotes.
↵ Enter You should now see a dialog box. You may have to wait a minute or so for the window to open.
This can also be “OK”. After that, you should be able to access the desktop interface.
⊞ Win R This will open the Run dialog, which you can use to finish this fix.
rundll32.exe syssetup, SetupOobeBnk This command resets the trial version of Windows XP to 30 days.
Restart your computer.
When the welcome screen finishes loading, you should be able to log in as usual instead of being stuck in the activation loop.
Since official support for Windows XP ended in April 2014, you can no longer speak to anyone at Customer Support.
The linked product keys may not work. In this case, you should use the Winkey Finder to activate Windows XP. A manual registry reset may only restore your version of Windows XP to a 30-day trial version.
Read our blog to learn about how to activate Windows XP without an original license.