Introduction: How to Bypass Windows 30 Day Activation / Product Key Requirements

Picture of How to Bypass Windows 30 Day Activation / Product Key Requirements

This is my first Instructable!!! I'll show you how to bypass that annoying activation screen that Windows gives you after your 30 days are up. Microsoft requires you to enter a valid Product key within 30 days of installing Windows. It's a little trick to prevent piracy of their software. I'll show you how to get around that and use Windows normally, and access the Desktop and Start Bar just like you normally would, at least until you acquire a valid product key from Microsoft. Note:I Will be using Windows XP Home Edition. Any other XP version should work as well.

Whether you use this information to retrieve files after windows locks up or to access your computer without having to purchase a new CD from Windows, I suggest researching the laws concerning these types of activities before attempting them. I do not support piracy but I do believe users should have access to Windows, i.e. their personal files even in the event of an invalid/used product key.

Step 1: Step 1 - Login to Your Account and Access Explorer

Picture of Step 1 - Login to Your Account and Access Explorer

Step 1:
Turn on your computer and login to your account. You get a message telling you that you need to activate your product, Click Yes and the Activate Windows screen will load. Now press the windows key + U and Microsoft Narrator should pop up. Click OK for the little disclaimer Narrator gives you and behind it will be the Narrator option screen. In the top left of the Narrator option screen, you'll see a little computer icon, click it and a drop-down menu will appear. Click on About Narrator. On the next pop-up, click the link Microsoft Web site. You now have access to Internet Explorer!!! Whether you have an internet connection at the time or not, it doesn't matter, we aren't actually trying to get online.

Now we are going to access your desktop and Start bar. In the address bar, type: C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe and press enter.

VOILA! You have access to your entire computer just like you normally would! Don't close Narrator though, because windows tends to realize what you're doing and reset back to the Activation screen. It's not bullet-proof, sometimes my computer will reset back to the activation screen, but you can just do the same thing again as many times as you want!

Step 2: The End!

Picture of The End!

So that's what's up.

Good Luck and feel free to post any questions.

- DuFF

Step 3: GO GREEN!!!!!

Picture of GO GREEN!!!!!

I publish this instructable in hopes that everyone will be able to free OS-deprived, hopeless computers from the junkyard. Microsoft overprices their operating systems, to a point where it's easier to just throw away an old laptop or desktop, than spend money on acquiring the license to the Windows OS. I successfully revived an old '98 that wouldn't startup by Installing a used Windows XP Home Edition OS from an old CD. Microsoft requiring every user to have their own license is ridiculous. It's simply too expensive. I support free information sharing.



MichaelK25 (author)2015-05-16

jrzsnonbama (author)2015-03-19

As of 2014 xp is no longer supported. I HAVE a GENUINE product key and had to reinstall. I have called and called and only get an automated machine. Its NOT RIGHT. The tape infers that "oh , u probably bought a new car , tv etc , in the last 10yrs" so " they have supported xp for 12 , longer than any of their other products." SAY WHAT ? Who are they trying to smoosh ? Hell NO , I have had the same vehicle for 11 yrs and the TV I had since I was 20 ! Guess what ...THEY WORK!! Tell you I paid good money for my xp and I expect it to work. They claim it will get infected and not run newer programs. Like dude, I am so simple I cant use an anti virus program ! Also , I HAVE the programs I NEED and "My" pc crashed cuz of my lil grand ones , NOT the product ! This is REALLY BAD PR !

ShutterBugger (author)2010-12-05

Here is something from E-How.

How to Bypass Windows XP SP2 Activation


1. Click the "Start" button. Then click "Run" and type in "regedit" minus the quotes. Click "OK" and the Registry Editor will appear.
2. Scroll through the list of entries and find "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents." Click it once to see what is inside of the entry.
3. Select "OOBETimer" within the entry and change the value to "FF D5 71 D6 8B 6A 8D 6F D5 33 93 FD" minus the quotes. Hit "OK" to confirm the change.
4. Right-click "WPAEvents" and select "Permissions." Then click "System" and "Permissions for System."
5. Click all the boxes under the "Deny" field so that they are all checked. This prevents Windows from re-activating WPA.
6. Click "OK" and then exit Registry Editor. WPA will now be disabled. If it is not, simply repeat steps 1 to 4 to re-disable it, which Windows will not be able to reverse now that you've denied the System privileges to change the values.

Hope this helps... I have not tried this yet.

quahogs13 (author)ShutterBugger2014-12-06

If you get stuck in the infinite activation loop like kmjruth, go into standard safe mode (without networking or command) and roll back the Oobetimer to EB 54 8C C6 0E 45 17 59 55 5B F4 30 (zeroes not O's). Then reboot and going back into safe mode type cmd in the run prompt. Then as admin and use trial the "rundll32.exe syssetup,SetOobeBnk" that romeroo mentioned. I had the same problem as kmjruth because I set the permissions in step 5 to deny as administrators...*Very important* to check both deny boxes "full control and read" **under the correct SYSTEM profile** not administrator profile in the security tab.

Nogeeks (author)ShutterBugger2012-05-19

How are you going to click the Start button if you are staring at the activation screen? smh

ShutterBugger (author)Nogeeks2012-05-21

You could reinstall XP to get back to the 30 day initial trial period. Then try the hack.

You damage the hard disk and u have to install and modify everything back to its normal

Thanks Buddy ShutterBugger

This trick worked on SP3 also .. it worked for me on XP Pro Sp3 .. None other worked as this do. Thanks a lot..

Thaiwang (author)ShutterBugger2013-09-26

Can bypass method work after 30 days of activation reminder. Please suggest me.

here4help (author)ShutterBugger2012-03-31

You may not get away with this process.

It will work perfectly, but do not make the mistake of going online for windows updates; you will end up not being able to log in (see kmjruth's post of March 15, 2011: "I did this and now when I go to login I still get the activation box...if I say yes to activate it tells me windows is already activated and brings me back to the login screen....if I say no it brings me back to the login screen")

It happened to me and I had to reinstall

WilliamH5 (author)2014-09-29

If anyone uses the 30 day reset trick - beware - it cannot be used more than 4 times!

Romerro (author)2014-07-11

Instead of activating, reset your Windows XP O.S. to 30 more days to try out, also called a 30 day trial reset. First you need to load in 'safe mode' then click Start and then click 'Run.' Once the 'Run' window opens type "CMD" without the quotes. Inside the 'cmd.exe' window type, "rundll32.exe syssetup,SetOobeBnk" without the quotes (Pay attention to the capital letters) hit enter; wait about 9 secs to complete the task and restart your computer. Done.!

xtranged (author)2014-06-18

Dude, You Rock! My company had this old system which had been installed with new HDD and hence Windows XP Professional had been reinstalled. It was brought to my notice that windows needed activation after 30 days. Thanks to your post I could open my computer, set up the network adapter and activate windows.

shiva_123 (author)2013-11-04

Dear sir,

please give me xp windows product kye

banditboy250 (author)2013-05-26

Great stuff. Never thought I would ever need this but had to do this for my fathers workshop pc today. It's got a legal version of windows but was never activated. I had to get past that screen to setup network settings (to my dsl modem) so I can activate online AND yes it doesn't last very long then you get logged back out. Just work fast :)

fretzle06 (author)2013-03-17

it works for awhile but after about 5 minutes, i can't view my desktop all I can see was my blue back ground with the activation windows and Microsoft narrator how's that?

yandi22 (author)2013-01-17

how to remove 30 days activation key into window xp sp3

malonzo2233 (author)2012-07-12

My computers back ground became black.

kmjruth (author)2011-03-15

I did this and now when I go to login I still get the activation box...if I say yes to activate it tells me windows is already activated and brings me back to the login screen....if I say no it brings me back to the login screen.


is there anyway to undo this?

jakkadan (author)kmjruth2011-11-25

hey there kmjruth,
i have only juzt joined n' u may already have thiz one sorted out but if not...
juz put in the original os disk u uzed 2 inztall the os, in cd-rom drive, restart n' when u get to second 'r'' for repair, clk on the 'r' and windowz wil proceed 2 reinztall the os but it doezn't elimin8 anything, it juz replacez all the filez that the os put on in the 1zt place, that will fix ur activated-not-activated dilemma.
warm regardz

Nogeeks (author)jakkadan2012-05-19

Nice try, jakkadan. You can pretend to be hax0r all you want with your too-hip spelingz, but your "solution" will not bypass XP Activationz.

rickyrodva (author)2011-04-26

This worked great for me and allowed me to install XP as a virtual OS on my mac. Anyone know if after the 30 days I will need to re-install even though the wpa was changed?

jakkadan (author)rickyrodva2011-11-25

hey there, rickyrodva,
u can get wpa bypass n' activation killer exe'z, free too if u search google
warm regardz

cambob97 (author)2011-10-23

Or buy XP Professional, there are no activation codes.

jakkadan (author)cambob972011-11-25

hey there cambob97, i think u r miz-informed coz since about 2005 even professional haz 2 b activ8ed b4 30dayz too.
warm regardz

nbraughler (author)2011-09-07

If you do not have Internet Explorer as your default browser, but instead use something such as, say, FireFox, then this will not work. Instead, press ctrl+o, browse to "C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe", click open. When prompted, click save. Then, in the downloads screen, double click it. Press ctrl+j, then click it all times afterwards.

kurt38 (author)2011-01-10

do you delete everything in the OOBET Timer Box and then add
FF D5 71 D6 8B 6A 8D 6F D5 33 93 FD

zapper067 (author)kurt382011-08-06

It wont work it will go loop after 30 days and then you are seriously 'condemned'.Think twice before using that method.

comp21 (author)kurt382011-07-12

It does work cuz i tryed that about 2 times

Treknology (author)2011-04-15

This sort of information is extremely valuable. What happens in 10 years' time when someone is still running XP because there has been no NEED to upgrade (depending on the tasks for which the machine is used) and MS won't authorize a re-installation?

This WPA system is really going to come back and bite them in the @$$.

kurt38 (author)2011-01-10

do you delete every entry that there is nothing in the oobet box and then add the above code?

Infinitrium (author)2010-12-29

WOW, this worked! Awesome!

anandagiri (author)2010-08-19

hi ,i am giri ,i am getting some error while login into my system .....the error is windows protect activation.....then i press ok it is restarting system ...what can i do for that ...?

gamerguy13 (author)2009-07-26

I believe that you can do this with almost any windows version

wlisa (author)2009-06-05

You could do some research and find a distro of GNU/Linux that will work with the machines specs. Ubuntu Linux at is a great, very easy to use, modern operating system and it is free! Then, there is Damn Small Linux that runs on very few resources. Old machines like that can also be used as servers or firewalls. If you get the machines working with a good, working, legal operating system and if you don't need them, you might also consider donating them to people who can't afford to buy a computer and in that you would get the computers out of the junk pile and help someone less fortunate in the process.

n4zou (author)2009-03-01

Linux Ubuntu 8.10 is not hard to use, just a little different. I tried a duel boot Windows XP and Ubuntu system after a friend gave me a free Ubuntu Live-CD. After a couple of weeks with Ubuntu I came to detest XP. I subsequently removed XP and now only use Linux. Try Linux using Ubuntu and several other distributions until you find one you like.

59672 (author)2009-02-27

If you think computers with windows are expensive look at macs. Like cyrozap said use Linux. If is harder to use but is free.

cyrozap (author)2009-02-25

An easier and more legal (not saying that this is illegal) way to do this: run a live CD of Linux. Google it. I suggest Ubuntu. Nice trick, though. Never have had to do it, however.

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