When starting up Windows XP which has not yet been activated, user may encounter the an activation error message which stops user from continue using Windows XP. The error is especially prominent in system that just recently been repaired by using bootable Windows XP installation CD to startup repair or repair install.

The activation error message that may occur is:

This copy of windows has not been activated. Would you like to activate it now?

User is presented with option of only “Yes” or “No”. Pressing “No” button will bring the system back to Windows XP logon screen, which causing the Windows XP computer to go into infinite Windows is not activated error loop, jump between error and sign on screen.

However, when pressing “Yes” button, an empty or blank screen is shown or displayed, and soon the system is reverting back to login screen again. Supposedly, a “Activate Windows Now” activation center wizard dialog window should open, allowing user to enter or change the product key and activate the Windows online against Microsoft activation server or obtain an installation ID to get activation ID by phone.

The error happens probably because of corrupted or malfunction Internet Explorer (IE) web browser. The product activation wizard requires IE to work properly. In order to fix the IE in Windows XP, user can download the latest version of IE from Microsoft to reinstall and at the same time upgrade the Internet Explorer. Here’s the step to perform the IE upgrade on Windows XP which stuck at require activation screen, and unable to logon.

  1. Download the setup installer for Internet Explorer (download IE7 or download IE8).
  2. Save the IE setup installer onto a USB flash drive.
  3. Start up the computer and press F8 key during the initial boot process to bring up the “Windows Advanced Options Menu”.
  4. Select Safe Mode option, and then pick the operating system (Windows XP) that has activation problem.
  5. Select Administrator to log on if prompted to select a user account.
  6. Choose Yes when prompted with option to whether continue working in Safe Mode.
  7. Insert and plug-in the USB key with IE setup installer.
  8. Click on Start Menu, run Windows Explorer (in All Programs -> Accessories) or My Computer, and then navigate to the folder where IE installer is stored. Run the IE setup installer to install Internet Explorer.
  9. Reboot the computer and boot up Windows XP as per normal after IE is successfully installed.
  10. Continue to activate Windows when prompt, as the “Activate Now” product activation wizard should launch properly.