XP activation but no hardware changes

By rf6647
Feb 29, 2008
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  1. Where does Win XP keep its log of changes counted toward activation?
    Background:
    I was forced to re-activate XP - due to changes?
    This is a fresh reload (2-19-08). Activated approximately 2-25-08.
    I cannot think of any change but the Raw HD sitting idle. Experimented with home network yesterday. Many reboots, and no alert.

    My mobo is flashing the Power On LED; simple, slow flash, no pattern. Flashing was noticed 10 hours ago. Several re-boots in the following interval. Bios splash screen shows no change in CPU nor mobo, nor firmware version. Bios setup - no loss of memory or other noticable change.

    Device manager: no devices in error (except for NIC intentionally disabled)
    : no change in listed devices (that I can detect)

    Events logs were only checked near the time of the activation.

    Registry change: IE 6 'isinstalled' value changed to 0 (not installed) (2-22-08). This did not disable IE 6. Never concluded this experiment.

    Any suggestions? Including 'who cares'
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    A possibility

    You have installed Windows fresh on 2-19-08

    Then you have received some driver updates automatically,
    through either Windows Update, or through any other installed program (Sound; Video; Modem; ...)

    This then de-activated Windows (ie 4 hardware items changed - including Network)

    Since these drivers all updated at the same (or around the same) time. Windows required re-activating.

    If this is the case, then you should not see this again (well not until next hardware update)

    This is just a suggestion
  3. rf6647

    rf6647 TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 931

    WPA methodology explained

    I find this a useful explanation of WPA methodology for counting changes.

    Disabling the NIC counted 3 against me. I now I recall one glitch that I attributed to Microsoft - but now may signal a CMOS and/or mobo problem. XP SP2 slipstream update changed the type of computer. I was leaving this unknown to a later time. Now it has disappeared. This event is probably being counted as a mobo change, thus triggering the re-activation.

    Just what I do not want to deal with - a failing mobo.
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,117   +23

    rf6647, sorry to hear about a possible dying motherboard. I am dealing with the same thing right now.

    I need to ask you two questions in regards to XP OEM and hardware change as you understand it.

    1. I just recently replaced my memory from a 4x512 configuration to a 2x1 configuration due to memory corruption. It is still two gigs of the same type, i.e., PC3200

    2. I will be upgrading from a single core to a dual core and from an older X800GTO video card to something more powerful.

    Do I have three counts against me?
  5. rf6647

    rf6647 TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 931

    7/10 yes votes needed to avoid re-activation.

    Count 1 for change in memory range (of the 1st device).
    Count 1 for the video card
    Total =2

    Two more - trips re-activation.

    Here is what gives me that understanding:
    If you change the device in any category, it removes a yes vote — but no further deductions are made since this category already lost its vote. So, for example, you can install a new video display card every month for as long as you like.

    [edit] Bios-lock systems are exempt from using categories. See the license. [/edit]

    However, mobo failure & oem xp is a lethal mix.

    From the reference: In a bios-locked system, on the mobo where the lock fails, it enters a normal Activation process at startup.

    Now I quote the Kicker, because I understood it to be an 'OR' proposition. This wording sounds like you buy a license & a replacement mobo and/or Bios. I had assumed that the replacement duplicated the 'lock', thereby avoiding a charge for XP (and still no installation CD). The wording is sounding like OEM XP is licensed to the original mobo/bios.

    "However, beginning 1 March 2005, the Product Key supplied on a label by the computer manufacturer, and used for the initial intallation, will not be accepted for activation. A new copy of Windows XP, with a license allowing installation on a different machine, will be needed. This means that any replacement motherboard (or upgrade to its BIOS) must be supplied by the original maker, who will ensure the lock is maintained."
  6. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,117   +23

    Okay, so 1 for my memory change, 1 for my video updated card, and another 1 when I go from single core processor to a dual core which = 3. I am okay, correct? But if I have one more I trip the activation, correct?
  7. rf6647

    rf6647 TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 931

    I misread the "dual". And I am certainly not a legal eagle.

    That being said, processor type and processor serial number are distinct categories. I can only guess that both get counted.

    But in a bios-locked OEM license, mobo and bios are the only 2 categories used to govern the immediate re-activation. No other categories apply to re-activation.

    I must have read parts of that document a dozen times - I just assumed that the mobo and cpu were considered together.

    And, since I booger-around with this system, saving the wpa.db. and wpa.bak files may keep me from re-activating XP. Furthermore, using them at a future time can be used to establish if my mobo flashes unexplained changes.

    I just noticed that 'specs' for my system just listed machine #1 with the OEM XP. My testbed computer with the suspect mobo (a7n8x) is home-brew with XP pro. It appears that wpa.dbl & wpa.bak files are not used by OEM systems; I am guessing the bios-lock may be crud that they put into the boot loader (extreme view) or system files. Yet another add to my list 2b investigated.
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