Windows XP prompts to activate every time

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 15, 2007
Updated • Oct 13, 2015
Windows, Windows tips

We have all seen and read about problems with WGA before and it seems some users are currently encountering a new bug in Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 which prompts for activation every time the computer is started even if the operating system has been activated before.

Microsoft states that the cause of the problem is that a script that is running on the computer "interferes with Windows activation". No word on what script is interfering with the activation and how it was installed on the computer is provided by the company.

It is unclear if Microsoft is referring to a third-party script that is blocking Windows from remaining activated or if a first-party script that is part of the operating system is causing the issue.

Microsoft is offering a guided help file and a manual solution to fix the problem that prompts the user to activate his operating system even if it was successfully activated before.

This article contains information to help you resolve a Windows product activation problem. You may be prompted to activate Windows every time that you start the computer. You experience this problem even if you have already activated Windows. This article describes how to remove a script that may interfere with Windows activation. To do this, you must start the computer in safe mode, modify the Windows registry, and then restore the Windows product activation file. Then, you can reactivate Windows. After you follow these steps, you are no longer prompted to activate Windows when you start the computer.

The guided help consists of a tool that users need to download to their system to resolve the problem.

The manual solution could take some time though. It consists of nine steps that involve deleting settings in the Registry, deleting files on the system and activating Windows again as the last step. While it will take more time to complete, it gives you full control over the process. (via My Digital Life)

Article Name
Windows XP prompts to activate every time
Find out what you can do to resolve a Windows XP activation error that requests activation on each start of the system.

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Bernie said on January 21, 2008 at 4:12 am

    I am encountering this problem too. I have read through the Guided Solution on Microsoft’s website however it requires access to the very computer that you are prevented rom logging into. Have tried booting in Safe mode but this activation bug still affects the computer, so no joy there either.

  2. Jester said on January 11, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    @dante, no, you dont want to just walk into a store and write down the activation on the side of the PC, that is flat out theft.

    i am experiencing the same problem with my laptop. the funny thing is, i can install vista on my other pcs without incident. so, i am going to give this guide a whirl..

    1. @dante said on February 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      @dante or those reading dante’s comment.

      regardless of whether or not that is legal…

      it usually wont work anyway unless you are installing it on a computer from the same manufacturer or generation… batches of Microsoft’s OEM licenses are keyed to vendor hardware and will simply fail to acknowledge that key on the key entry screen.

      try using a Dell XP restore cd on a home-built pc or on an hp or e-machine. won’t work.

      So, illegal, and usually pointless.

  3. nieL said on December 27, 2007 at 5:32 am

    I think there is a major bug, or spyware that does this. I’m currently encountering this too

  4. Dante said on December 17, 2007 at 6:17 am

    “the problem is that even if you re-activate it it will ask for activation at the next start again..” Sorry, but I thought you wrote that the last step is to activate Windows again. I had assumed that it only wanted to activate.

  5. Martin said on December 16, 2007 at 2:02 am

    Dante the problem is that even if you re-activate it it will ask for activation at the next start again..

  6. Dante said on December 16, 2007 at 12:09 am

    I just turn on my Skype phone and call Microsoft to re-activate the Windoze. They just ask you if it’s the only machine the license is on. Say yes, and they give you the activation code.

    For those of you with a bad license number, just stop by a computer store and jot down the license from the side of the PC on display.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.