Tuesday, December 12, 2006

How to login to an expired Windows

Microsoft has a neat little way to prevent software piracy of their Windows operating system. "Windows Genuine Advantage"[edit: I stand corrected, it has nothing to do with WGA] with its "Product Activation" requirement. Essentially, even with a valid product key, you still need to activate your Windows to ensure that only one computer is using that specific product key. If you can't activate your Windows, there being many reasons for this, you are left with a 30 day grace period to change your product key to one that is fully valid or get in contact with Microsoft and plea your case.

Once your grace period is up, Windows refuses to let you login anymore. You cannot access your files. You cannot go on the Internet. You cannot do anything, except the thrill of trying to activate Windows.

Well, luckily for me I do not have to worry about this issues, as my Windows is valid and activated. However, for those who do not and have been so unfortunate enough to have their Windows expire on them, I present to you a bit of relief. How to gain access to your files on an expired Windows, with even enough functionality to surf the web, talk on MSN Messenger, and load up most of your applications. It doesn't give you full functionality of Windows, but it will be enough to get the job done until you can find the time to activate your Windows. Best of all though, it's all very simple and easy to do!!!

First, turn on your computer and wait until you get to the Windows login screen.

Next, click to login as usual. You should get an error from Windows telling you that your Windows has expired and is asking whether you would like to activate Windows now. Click Yes.

A "Let's activate Windows" window will appear. Let's minimize it. DO NOT close it.

Now, hold down the Windows Key on your keyboard while you also press the "U" key. This will open up the Narrator program to help assist those with poor vision. It is this program that will help us login to our Windows.

Click the little computer icon in the top left hand side of the Narrator window. A drop down menu should appear. The last option in this menu is named "About Narrator...". Click it. This should open up another window called "About Narrator".

In this window, there should be the text "Microsoft Web site". Click it, as it is a link and will open up your Internet Explorer, taking you to the Microsoft Accessibility website. Howrah! Internet access!

As if Internet was not enough, in the address bar of Internet Explorer, type "c:\". This should display all your hard drive contents on drive "C". From there you can load navigate your way around your computer, loading specific programs, and most whatever else.

Some common directories as to where you can find personal files and programs are:

C:\program files\
C:\documents and settings\username\Desktop\
C:\documents and settings\username\Documents\
C:\documents and settings\username\Start Menu\Programs\

On a side note, certain programs cannot be opened while Windows is still not activated. You will also not have a Task Bar at the bottom of your screen, as trying to open it will just result in it shutting itself down a few moments later. MSN Messenger works though, as well as most other non-Windows-based components.

Disclaimer: I do not applaud piracy, but I do feel people should have access to their personal files, regardless of whether Windows has expired or not. This tutorial should not be used to bypass Windows Activation, nor does it restore full Windows functionality, but I provide it to those who are in desperate need of accessing files that are suddenly lost to them through the Microsoft Genuine Advantage activation system.

[Update: some say it works even better with Vista, as the explorer.exe does not close shortly after you try to open it as it does in XP. Unconfirmed.]


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Anonymous said...

My THANKS to the author ,i live in spain, locked out of win xp, spent fortune phone uk, end up with,,,PAY 46 pound for assistance, now accessing vip files and attempt a reactivate. THANKYOU, Adrian

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much
I was even not able to excess my files after this expiry.
Now I copied all my c: drive files to other drives with your help.
I tried to oped drive c: and in options "save link as" window and copy paste option from there.
Thanks once again

Anonymous said...

I tried this once, it worked and I was relieved (it was an important server for our hotel system, the OS was original but I had lost the code). Then I try it again today and am horrified that I CAN NO LONGER CLICK THE LINK. (It is not active, or the "arrow does not become a hand to click)

Please help :O

Chiquita said...

Thank you for showing me how to get access to the internet when blocked out by the widnows activation.

I just applied this patch and my computer is up and running. Back to work! thanks!!!! I owe ya big..sending great vibes your way:)

Anonymous said...

If you had firefox open it and dispose somthing and click go to containing folder it will start explorer.exe showing the desktop then open taskmanager.... Then u can do anything

Anonymous said...

Using VMlite, it was a small challenge for a Dell OEM image. I used this method with the narrator to get to my dropbox account where I had a copy of Wpakill. It was zipped so I downloaded it. Then went into safe mode with command prompt and launched explorer.exe. Uninstalled the antivirus that kept gobbling up the wpakill.dll's. unzipped, Launched the wpakill batch file. Rebooted, rebooted again to clear up errors. All is working.

Anonymous said...

all you have to do is very simple delet the hldr file from system loaded drive ie, c:\. by booting into other drive having 2nd operating system say f:\. this works 100% next you boot with the troubled operating system very easily. try it.

Anonymous said...

Or you could just go into safe mode with a DOS prompt; type explorer.exe and have a full safe mode machine running allowing you to bypass the activation with a hack ;).

this is easier. and work on sp3

Anonymous said...


Masum said...

Thanks so much I have been looking for something like this so bad.

Anonymous said...

it has been fixed on windows xp sp3 as far as i can tell. i found a link but nothing happened when i clicked on it.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me .. i am desperate to get access to my machine and this trick won't work for me ... :( i ve tries that and the and the narrator window opens and closes faster than you could be able to do anything . you barely can see it open and close at the same time by itself . is there a similar way for me to get access ? I am really grateful for you time and i thank you in advance for your help .. And just for the reccord i am not a pc pro so i would please you not to be too short and to include details in your answer . Thank you one more time for your help . I really appreciate it .

Anonymous said...

If you want explorer stay open, then you can download a free os called ReactOS, If you then Run the OS off a CD or Memory stick and Copy the file "explorer_new" from C:\ReactOS and Copy it to C:\Windows along with "notyfyhook.dll" from C:\ReactOS\System32 into C:\windows\System32, you can run this instead of explorer.exe and it will not close, BUT it's not completely the same as windows and is experimental, but if you're desperate, it's out there. (Or download Windows 8 :))

Anonymous said...

Got me out of a legitimate jam when presented with a laptop with no network drivers installed & expired activation..

Managed to get in install said drivers & then activate


Anonymous said...

I have a locked netbook (won't let me log in) When I press Windows logo key+ U (according to the instructions)
a window comes up but closes immediately, before I can even see it. What's wrong??

Anonymous said...

Cudos to You!!! You saved me 2 hr's of work!!! Pure h*cking!!!

samgoober said...

Without reading through all 216 posts to see if this has yet to be posted, the following instructions WILL work on XP:

Boot to Safe Mode, Command Prompt. Once you get there, run the following commands, taking note of the case, spacing, and punctuation:

rundll32.exe syssetup,SetupOobeBnk

[This must be typed exacly as above with space, caps, and comma.]

Afterward, reboot. Your PC should now give you a new 30 days to activate it. This works for XP Home and Pro. I've not tried it on Vista or Windows 7.

Good luck, Sam

Tigerstyle said...

lmao... just boot into the normal safe mode option ;)

Anonymous said...

Mine problem is im using xp sp3 and i got the same erorr on welcome window like it requires activation and when i go yes it says windows is allready activated :S

Gopan Kumar said...

nice idea
thank you

sann said...

Excellant post. It worked for me and i have copied all the important data. Thank you!!!!


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