How to Back up your Product Activation Files

Last week, we talked about reformatting the hard disk and reinstalling XP. But do you have to go through the whole product activation hassle again when you do that? Actually, there's a way around it. Before you wipe out the current installation, backup your product activation files and then you can restore them to the new installation. Here's how:

  1. Right click Start and click Explore.
  2. In Windows Explorer, navigate to \WINDOWS\System32\ (usually on the c: drive but may be on a different drive depending on where you installed XP).
  3. Copy the following files to a floppy, CD or second hard disk: wpa.dbl, wpa.bak.

To restore the files, start the computer in Safe Mode and copy them to the same directory (\WINDOWS\System32).