Has the situation with MS allowing distribution of XP changed?

Windows XP CANNOT be activated anymore. They shut down their activation servers a couple years ago. I tried to install a legit Windows XP on a VirtualBox VM, using and ISO dumped from my own physical legit WinXP install CD I found that it wouldn't activate over the internet (though I didn't try calling the acivation phone number, it's possible that was down as well). I know the servers were down, because it said it couldn't connect to the activation server, and I verified I did have a working connection in my VM by using a web browser in my XP installation running in its 30 days trial mode. So MS obviously disabled their activation servers. I don't know if they disabled their activation call centers too back then, but I'm guessing that by now they probably did. Their activation servers were down at least 2 years ago.

So @SomeGuy can you tell me if the inability to activate Windows XP, constitutes it entering into the category of abandonware, and if so, if you will reconsider hosting it on your website, or at least calling somebody in MS and asking for permission to do so?


  • My understanding was they disabled the encryption that happened to come with XP. If you installed the right updates first, it MIGHT still work.

    There was a thread about this here last year, but not a lot of consensus. Supposedly phone activation still worked. Of course, that could all change in one second. I have no idea if anything has changed since that last thread.

    At any rate, Microsoft does not allow ANY distribution of their software. It just happens they can't be arsed to spend money complaining about unsupported versions. We feel we are doing the right thing by preserving media for historic purposed.

    XP still is not "rare", so I still don't feel it is a major issue.

    How about a nice copy of Maynard Electronics MaynStream 1.1 for OS/2 instead?
  • @Someguy I've been also told by a person who works at microsoft , once they turn off the activation servers for XP for good, they will be releasing a patch or some sort of update that will disable the Windows XP activation requirement. But though 3rd party patches already exist for XP that Nukes the MSOOBE.exe program ( which is the activation program for XP ).
  • That was what they used to tell everyone back in the day so they'd be slightly less pissed off about activation. "Oh, it's ok, we'll release an update to turn off activation once it's out of support" I firmly file this under, "I'll believe it when I see it"
  • @SomeGuy what do you mean by "they disabled the encryption that happened to come with XP"? How do they disable the encryption from an ISO you have? I have an ISO I ripped from my own install CD which was working, back before XP stopped being supported. At most, they could disable the encryption on their servers, and if your computer tried to activate over an encrypted connection, their server might block the connection, preventing activation. Is that what you mean? Also, when they sent you the DMCA over Windows (back in 2014) were they specific about it being on account of Windows XP? Or did they want you to remove all versions of Windows?

    @michaelweaser how would you download this patch, if XP was blocked from connecting? Do you mean you would download it on a different PC (with a newer OS) and then copy it to the XP computer and install it?
  • Yes, that is exactly what I mean. They flip a switch on the server, and then when your old software comes knocking at the door asking to use a particular encryption method, the server just gleefully wags its middle finger in response.

    Yes, the simplest thing to do would be to download on another computer and then put it on a CD/DVD/USB/network drive. I don't know exactly which patches are really currently needed or where they can be obtained right now.
  • It's a few different things. You have to install updated root certificates, and disable SSL 2.0 and enable TLS 1.0 in the Internet settings in order to connect to the activation server. Can't remember if there is anything else. Blackwingcat has updated root certificates here: win2k.org/wlu/wluen.htm just click "Manual Update" and search for "root". Download and extract the .wlu file (basically a cab file), and run the install.

    Really though, it's much easier to just use the phone activation. If you have a smartphone, they even send you a link that just opens in the web browser. Punch in a few numbers (okay, a lot of numbers) and you're activated.
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