Tip & How-To about Microsoft Windows XP Professional for PC

Backup your Windows OEM and Activation for a reinstall

If you have an OEM version of your operating system and you want perform a reinstall with a SP3 and Hotfix slipstreamed version of your Windows then you might want to do this to give your PC the same look and feel and also skip the online activation
There are several ways to do this I prefer this method to backup both the oeminfo and oemlogo and the WPA file.
Use the standard installation code OEM24C96E you can get this by registering or just use this one you will get the same code if you regsiter.
Then all you need to do it backup both then OEM files to a file with the extension *.OEM. Then when you have re-installed just hit the
This later version has a great function to backup and encrypt the OEM keys for both Windows and Office and also check the activation, the earlier verison will allow you to backup the WPA.DBL activation file, you can upload this to a secure website don't loose it you may also need the WPA.BAK file as well both are located in the C:\windows\system32 folder if you choose not to use WinKeyFinder v1.72 that still has this activation backup and restore function.
NOTE:> If you have changed your VolumeID by adding a new Hard Drive you will have to re-activate , this backup file only works on the same physical setup, its worth downloading the command line version and make a copy of it. then use the Changer_Volume_Serial.exe file inlcuded with v1.72 of the Keyfinder.

  1. After you have reinstalled Windows XP on your reformatted hard drive, click "No" when asked if you want to go ahead and go through the activation process
  2. Reboot your computer into SafeMode (you can either press F8 as Windows is booting up to see the Windows Advanced Options menu and select SAFEBOOT_OPTION=Minimal or follow the instructions in Starting Windows XP in SafeMode
  3. Double-click My Computer
  4. Double-click on the "C" drive
  5. Go to the C:\Windows\System32 folder (you may have to click on the link that says "Show The contents of this folder")
  6. Find the file "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" (if it exists) and rename them to "wpadbl.new" and "wpabak.new"
  7. Copy your original "wpa.dbl" and "wpa.bak" files from your floppy disk, CD or DVD into the C:Windows\System32 folder
  8. Restart your system you may need to go back into MSCONFIG to turn off booting into SafeMode for completion.
This method ONLY works if you have the same hardware setup when the WPA was created previously if you have added a new Hard Drive it will FAIL, this method will also fail if you try to emulated a reinstall using Sun Microsystems Virtual Box you can attempt to change your Hard Disc Serial Number using one of the following tools

Volume Serial Number Changer v1.2 gui version by lallus
HardDisk Serial Number Changer gui version by Xbox
VolumeID v2.0 dos version by Sysinternals

To use VolumeID
Unzip to the root of C:\
Start > Run > cmd > Enter to open a command window
Change to the root directory - cd\
At the prompt type volumeid xxxx-xxxx

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