34 thoughts on “Windows XP stuck at login screen in activation loop

  1. to get out of the login loop hold ctrl+shift while clicking ok. It will allow you to log in with different account (owner or administrator). The loop occurs when you have a default user (autologin) without admin rights. After that you can activate windows online. If you need to access some file before that, try winkey+u to open narrator option dialogue. There is a microsoft link there. Click it and you’ll have an ie instance running. Browse c: (address bar) to locate your file.

    1. where is the “OK”key?????
      where is the winkey ????

      1. The “winkey” is a key with a Windows symbol on it, usually somewhere to the left of space bar, present on maybe 99% of keyboards designed to be used with Windows based machines. For “OK” i’m pretty sure “Enter” or “Return” would work.

  2. this is activate windows xp to 7 and vista & 8 to loop xp,vista,7,8 and me
    loop xp delete to safe mode with command prompt 1 click start click run
    2 to run click rundl32.exe winipcfg 3 click enter 4 click start click turn off click restart
    5 click you account 6 loop activate delete

  3. Worked lik a charm! I was locked out completely because of activation after changing some hardware and running a repair install. The only choice I was given was “Activate Windows Now. When I clicked on Activate, it would go to my desktop screen but no further and I couldn’t do anything. I just had a blank desktop background and a cursor. If I pressed the power button, it allowed me to log off or restart. I could not get into regular safe mode either because of activation, but I used safe mode with command prompt to enter the commands above. When I rebooted, Windows worked as normal again with 30 days for activation. This gave me time to fix the probem for good. Thanks so much for your help!!

  4. I tried Boma’s method. Also tried with Imie… still am getting this message
    A problem has prevented Windows from accurately checking the status of the license for this computer. To proceed your copy of Windows must be activated with Microsoft. Do you want to activate Windows now?

  5. Excellent blog entry – worked like a charm. I had an old Thinkpad with Win XP. I wanted to convert the physical machine to a VMWare virtual machine, so I decided to change its OEM license to a retail license of Win XP which I bought separately. (Microsoft told me that the OEM license of XP was tied to the physical machine, and could not be ported to another machine). After running the retail XP installer in repair mode, and getting numerous missing file errors (which is another topic in installing XP in repair mode !), and ignoring them, I finally got the laptop to reboot and login. Then I got stuck at the Windows Activation panel. On responding Yes to activate Windows, nothing would happen.

    I then followed the steps to reboot in to Safe mode and reset the licensing components. Just resetting the licensing components didn’t do it for me – I still got stuck at the Windows Activation prompt. I followed the extra steps to reboot into Safe mode, delete Program Files/Internet Explorer directory, reboot again into Safe mode, and install IE 8 for XP.

    After that Windows Activation worked like a charm. It didn’t think I had an internet connection (I had a wired one connected), and I had to go via the voice activated telephone route for activation.

  6. I followed the steps above the first two worked but the third did nothing and the fourth said syssetup.SetupOobeBnk is not recognized as an internal or external command operable program or batch file so what do I do now?

  7. Your method did the trick! Thanks a lot, I also write stuff down on my blog for myself, which often ends up being relevant to other people. (I didn’t try the shift+ctrl alternative, it also sound appealing.)

  8. Hi there I tried this command prompts and still my laptop said that I must activate my windows but when I go to activate the windows it said that it was activated. And then it go’s to a black screen. Please help I really need this laptop. Please please help!!!!!!!!

  9. I need xp on an emachine so I can run Holley’s software for tuning my street/strip car. They don’t support the software on newer versions of windows. I too was stuck in this hellish nightmare loop.
    This solution rocked! Thanks so much for the info.

  10. Will this wipe the computer or is it safe to do on a computer that has stuff we’re hoping to hang on to? (Unfortunately this happened on my grandma’s computer and she doesn’t have any of her pictures backed up anywhere.)

  11. Hey There. I used all 3 (30 day activation times) anyway a friend helped me out and I though prob was solved. My laptop was off for about a month, now I can’t go in AGAIN!! This time the trick is not working. Can u pls help?? Its XP pro. Thx advance

  12. To make it permanent make a exe program with visual studios to target 23th and 24th of the month and auto correct lisence or by pass .dll files too easier but more advanced…

  13. I fail to see how this helps micosoft in any being as if you whanted a fresh copy of winxp just clone a harddrive wwith winxp on it to another harddrive winxp will ffind the hardware changes and corect them in most cases


  15. Thank you, boma23!!! Out of the blue I couldn’t logon at all until I activated (which I did ages ago) and it couldn’t activate because it said it had no connectivity. Luckily safe mode with command prompt worked using your commands.

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