WPA Problems: I have to activate every boot

  ken9 21:44 14 Dec 2004

Hi I need serious help, at the end of october, after having SP2 for about a month, I booted up with the message saying that I have 7 days to activate. I activated but it seemed that everytime I booted up I had to activate. The problem was only overcome by removing SP2.

Now in the middle of december the problems have risen again. I now have 3 days to activate (even though i do everytime). I can usually press no and click on admin to get onto windows even though now a message saying 'you must activate in order to log on'. I tried to reinstall SP2 and it installed but the problem did not go away!

I also noticed that without activating the wpa.dbl file is 6kb when I boot up, after activation it grows to 14kb, the same size as the wpa.bak file. Any suggestions?

I use widows xp pro on a p3 700mhz machine with 256mb ram. I think the problems arose one day after removing all but one of the system restore points except the last one. (by the way system restore does not solve the problem)

Any help would be very helpful

  frankie 22:26 14 Dec 2004

WPA.DBL--The Keeper of the Keys

The WPA.DBL file resides in the Windows\system32 directory and holds the hardware configuration information and activation state of the current Windows XP installation. The WPA.DBL file is actually an RC4-encrypted database of the expiration info of your installation, the confirmation of activation, the hardware configuration at activation time, and the current hardware configuration. When you first install Windows XP, this file is approximately 2K in size--not much more than a stub file. When you activate Windows, this file grows to approximately 12K-13K, recording the hardware status of your machine. At each boot, Windows analyzes your current hardware and compares it to the stored configuration information to see if it has changed. When you make hardware changes, Windows makes a note of the changes in the WPA file, but keeps the original configuration for reference. If you make too many changes, Windows XP will reset the WPA.DBL file back to its original non-activated (2K file size) state, and you have to reactivate.

As mentioned above, the WPA.DBL file can be backed up to permit activation if you reload Windows XP. You can also experiment with different hardware configurations, as we did in preparation for this article. You would back up WPA.DBL for each configuration change, so you can roll back whenever desired, similar to what developers may do frequently, as mentioned above. If you save a copy of the WPA.DBL file at each change of hardware, you can roll back to almost any state.

One caveat, from our testing--we found that the WPA.DBL was not protected similar to other system files. If you delete the file, you need to reactivate. The WPA.DBL is also not included in Windows XP's system restore mechanism.

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