How to Activate Windows XP Home Edition SP3

Written by leighton sawatzky
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How to Activate Windows XP Home Edition SP3
Activate Windows XP if you want to keep using your computer. (computer image by Kit Wai Chan from

The Home Edition of Windows XP Service Pack 3 requires you to activate each copy within 30 days of installing it. Failing to activate Windows XP in time disables all functions besides the activation program. Fortunately, activating Windows XP is a quick and painless process that can be run from the Windows "Start" menu. The easiest way to activate Windows XP SP3 is over the Internet.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Computer with Windows XP Home Edition, Service Pack 3

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  1. 1

    Open the "Start" menu at the bottom left corner of the screen.

  2. 2

    Click "All Programs" near the bottom of the "Start" menu.

  3. 3

    Click "Activate Windows" near the top of the "All Programs" list. If "Activate Windows" is not displayed there, go to "All Programs," "Accessories," then "System Tools." It should be listed under "System Tools."

  4. 4

    Click the "Yes, let's activate Windows over the Internet now" button, if you have an Internet connection. Then click "Next." If you don't have an Internet connection, skip this and the next three steps.

  5. 5

    Select whether to register with Microsoft while activating Windows XP SP3. Click "Next."

  6. 6

    Enter the requested registration information, if you chose to register. Click "Next."

  7. 7

    Click "OK" after the computer connects to the Internet and activates Windows XP SP3. Your copy of Windows XP is now activated.

Tips and warnings

  • Registering requires you to provide personal information to Microsoft; it is not necessary to register in order to activate Windows XP SP3.
  • Review Resources for Microsoft's official Windows XP activation support page.
  • Validate your copy of Windows XP after it's activated if you want to receive automatic updates and other free updates.

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