Registering Win XP Pro

Win XP Pro has to be registered on my home PC.
Business Gateways don’t have to be registered; I’ve done several reinstalls.
The Gateway folks tell me that upgrading their laptop with Win XP Pro from another vendor won’t have to be registered.

What’s the deal?
And when my PC crashes and I have to reinstall, how do I avoid the dreaded “This installation is already registered” message?

I can’t speak for other vendors, but back in the days when I was contracted to HP, this is the way it worked:

  1. They have a customised “recovery” image used to reload the OS.
  2. The mainboard is “tattooed” - a fancy way of saying some stuff is written in the BIOS
  3. The recovery image looks for the tattoo, and if it finds one, determines that it is registered and doesn’t prompt for activation
  4. If it doesn’t find the tattoo it assumes it is not activated/registered and forces you to go through the activation rigmarole.

How to avoid the rigmarole? Use the recovery procedure rather than reloading from scratch.

I’d recommend calling microsoft and getting the straight dope from them.

Good advice, especially with this in the trade news …

Source: XP deloaded? MS tightens screws on loose product keys • The Register

I don’t really understand this. How does disabling the activation requirement “tighten the screws”?

Now you have to call, right?

I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with activating the same copy of windows about 10 times…pleasure, yea, right…

I frequently upgrade my home build computer. When I build the system I plunked down the then $250 for a full version of XP home. The internet activation worked the first 4 or 5 times I reformatted for one reason or another. Then one day it wouldn’t work, and the screen instructed me to call MS

So I call, am on hold for only a short period of time, and get someone. They ask me whats going on and I explain that I just put a new motherboard and processor in my computer, and reformatted it to ensure it would work. They asked if this version of windows was retail, and was only installed on this computer. I said yes. They gave me an instillation code (not a new CD key) and it works great…

time goes by, few more formats, another major upgrade, same issue, same resolution.

So in short, the activation is not too bad a thing, atleast IMHO. – Something MS seems to have gotten atleast reasionably okay. (never thought I’d say that)

There are no “tattoos” in the BIOS that Windows XP reads. Rather, MS generates a hash value by IDing the various components of the system when the OS is first installed, and associates a particular activation code with it. If you change a few components, the hash value will change within a small range, and the OS will still be recognized as activated. Change enough components, however, and the hash value becomes so different from the original that it stops working.

There are several different versions of XP Pro. The corporate version does not require activiation, just a key code. As implied in an earlier posting, someone who has to builds hundreds of computers for a business is not going to want to register each one individually; instead they just create a master image and write that to each machine’s disk.

Oh, I get it. They haven’t disabled activation. Activation is still required, but now you have to do it over the phone. That makes sense.