Skip to main content

Somebody cracked Windows XP activation for offline use

Somebody cracked Windows XP activation for offline use


The famed OS may be dead to Microsoft, but it lives on in our hearts (and in a bunch of computers in Armenia).

Share this story

Bliss XP wallpaper
Windows lives on.
Image: Microsoft

The activation algorithm for Windows XP has, incredibly, finally been completely cracked, allowing for totally offline activation, according to The Register (via Ars Technica). A blog post on tinyapps covered a Reddit post discussing it, but the program allowing it has apparently existed for at least several months, possibly floating in the ether as a torrent download.

As for who created the software, nobody in the subreddit post knows, including user retroreviewyt, who first shared it and isn’t even sure where they got it from, speculating it came from from a torrent somewhere.

In the meantime, someone appears to be working on reverse engineering the software. A user calling themselves Neo-Desktop dropped the program into Github and said in a discussion there that they are working to create an open source version.

Microsoft ended official support for Windows XP just over nine years ago, but the OS refuses to die. In fact, as recently as 2021, the Windows XP remained the most popular operating system in Armenia. And in 2019, Forbes detailed a study by SpiceWorks that found one in three US businesses still had at least one Windows XP machine on their networks.

That’s forced the company to issue security updates when something bad enough comes along. Remember WannaCry? Windows XP got a patch against that in 2017. A similar exploit prompted another one in 2019.