Changing Windows XP OEM Product Key

Written by katherine johnson
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Changing Windows XP OEM Product Key
Windows XP requires a valid key to operate. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

You will have to change your Windows XP product key in several situations. It will be necessary after a demo key has expired, your key becomes corrupted or you don't want to reinstall the operating system just to update the product key. Your Windows XP product key can be updated in just a few minutes through the Windows XP registry. This process also allows you immediately to validate your copy of XP with Microsoft over the Internet or over the phone as part of the process.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Click the "Start" button, and select the "Run" option. Type "regedit" in the "Run" window and select "OK."

  2. 2

    Look for a folder named "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE," and double-click the name to show the contents of the folder. Double-click "Software," click "Microsoft," click "WindowsNT," and then click "Current Version."

  3. 3

    Click on the "WPAEvents" folder, and locate the "OOBETimer" entry that appears in the window on the right side of the window.

  4. 4

    Right-click the "OOBETimer" registry entry, and select the "Modify" option from the menu.

  5. 5

    Change any of the numbers that appear to some random number. Click "OK."

  6. 6

    Select the "File" option, and click on the "Exit" option to close the registry editor.

  7. 7

    Open the Windows XP Activation Wizard by clicking the "Start" button and select the "Run" option. Enter "%systemroom%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a" in the Run box. Click "OK."

  8. 8

    Choose the "Yes, I want to speak to a customer service representative to activate Windows" option when the "Let's activate Windows" screen appears. Click the "Next" button. Choosing this option allows you to change your product key, but you will not actually be speaking to a customer service representative

  9. 9

    Leave all the steps blank that appear on the "Activate Windows by phone" screen. Click the "Change Product Key" button at the bottom of the window.

  10. 10

    Type your new Windows XP key into the "New key" box, and click the "Update" button.

  11. 11

    Watch for a message to appear on the screen that notifies you that your copy of Windows XP has been verified.

Tips and warnings

  • You can verify that your copy of Windows XP is genuine and validated by visiting Microsoft's validation website at

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