I just wasted 30 minutes of my life reactivating my legal copy of Windows XP Pro.
My PC was getting dusty so I decided to clean it, change thermal past and change some cables for better airflow. Nothing special and no hardware changes.
After cleaning up my PC, I booted the system and made changes to the BIOS. I changed the thermal monitoring settings. Windows booted and presented me with a friendly “You recently changed an imporant piece of your hardware and need to reactivate windows” screen. Of course, no hardware was added/removed during my dust removal frenzy. Still Windows insisted I’d reactivate or else my installation would explode in 3 days.
So I called the on-screen number. I was kindly asked to enter a 50 digit code, in 10 different blocks. After entering this code I had to answer some stupid questions:
- How many times have you activated this copy before (1)
- How many PC’s run this copy of windows (1)
- Have you recently changed a piece of hardware (I lied and pressed the button for yes. Windows told me I changed a key piece of hardware…so it had to be true, right?)
Apparently I answered the questions correctly and now I had to type a 50 digit code in a bunch of boxes. After entering the 50 digit code Windows thanked me for not having to blow up my PC in 3 days and let me log in again.
update: I think I know why I had to reactivate. I didn’t plug my USB devices in the same port they were in originally. Yes, that’s truly a drastic change to my PC hardware.