How to Remove Windows XP Activation Key

Written by craig witt
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How to Remove Windows XP Activation Key
You can quickly remove the product key used to activate Windows XP. (laptop image by Ewe Degiampietro from

Every Windows XP edition requires the entry of a 25-character product key during the set-up process. This key is used to activate the operating system, and helps confirm that the user legally purchased the software. If you want to remove the product key from an existing XP installation for any reason, make use of the Windows Registry Editor tool included with Windows XP. Once you understand the required steps, the removal process becomes a very quick task.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Click the Windows "Start" button and select "Run."

  2. 2

    Type "regedit" (without quotation marks) in the field labelled "Open" and click "OK" to launch the Windows Registry Editor.

  3. 3

    Locate the top-level Registry folder labelled "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" within the left-hand panel of the Registry Editor.

  4. 4

    Click the "+" icon to the left of the "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" folder to expand its contents. Do the same for the following folders, in the following order: "Software," "Microsoft," "Windows NT," "CurrentVersion," "WPAEvents."

  5. 5

    Single-click the "WPAEvents" folder.

  6. 6

    Look to the Registry Editor's right-hand panel, right-click the value labelled "OOBETimer," and select "Modify."

  7. 7

    Change at least one character in the "Value field" to a number between 0 and 9.

  8. 8

    Click "OK." By changing the product key value in the Registry, you will remove the activation associated with your Windows XP installation.

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