Understanding activation and registration

There are important distinctions between activating your Windows operating system and registering it.

Product activation and product registration are not the same. Activation is completely anonymous; it requires absolutely no personally identifiable information to complete. Activation is required and ensures that each Windows product is not installed on more than the limited number (usually one) of computers allowed in the software's end user license agreement, or EULA.

During activation, you can also register your copy of Windows. Registration is not required; however registering your copy ensures that you receive product support, product update information, and other benefits. The process registration takes only a few minutes to complete. Personal information (for example, "contact" information such as an email address) is required if you decide to register.

You have a 30-day grace period in which to activate your Windows product installation. If the grace period expires and you have not completed activation, all features will stop working except the product activation feature.


If you have not yet activated Windows XP, you can do so at any time by clicking the Windows Activation icon in the system tray to initiate activation. Once you have activated Windows XP, this icon disappears from the system tray.

In addition, there are other ways to open the Windows Product Activation Wizard:

To open a system tools item, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click the appropriate icon., then click Activate Windows.

Alternatively, click Start, then Run, and then type "oobe/msoobe /a"..

For more information on product registration for Windows, open the Registration Wizard by clicking Start, then click Run. In the Open box, type "regwiz /r".

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