Activate Windows XP in 2022

If you install a fresh copy of Windows XP in 2022, you will probably notice that the automatic activation process fails. This is because Microsoft retired this service, after all the OS is more than 20 years old and it is not able to connect to most SSL sites anymore.

But do you know that Windows XP can still be activated? For that, start the activation wizard and try to activate Windows online: it will fail.

Then select “Activate by Phone” and follow the guided messages, you will be asked for a series of numbers like the ones displayed on the screenshot below.

Once you get you activation code, bingo, it works!

Windows 7 (and XP) on my AMD K6-2, some notes

Yesterday I finally tried an upgrade path from Windows 2000 to Windows XP to Windows 7 on my AMD K6-2+ 550 system. As it may be of interest to some other people, here are some notes about the process:

  • Upgrading from Windows 2000 to Windows XP SP3 went totally smoothly, all my hardware still had functioning drivers after the upgrade process. The OS itself feels a bit slower than Windows 2000 but some programs that did not run on 2000 now work on XP. The only problem in 2022 is that you can’t (easily) activate Windows XP nor do any Windows Updates as the feature has been discontinued by Microsoft.
  • Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 also went well, I started the installer in the evening and the next morning my Windows 7 desktop was ready. Now for the bad part…the OS feels globally very sluggish. It perfectly works, you can run modern software (as long as it doesn’t need SSE) but the user experience is not enjoyable. And the biggest problem is the support of legacy hardware. On my system, my Sound Blaster 128 an my 3Com 3C905 NIC are not recognised anymore and no drivers exist for Windows 7.

So the bottom line is: yes, Windows 7 will absolutely run using around 400MB of RAM after boot, but the big issue is the unsupported hardware coming from Windows XP where everything works. This is no real wonder, the hardware and XP are “period matching”. Windows 7 on the other hand was released in 2009, 10 years later.