What is Windows Product Activation or Windows Activation?

Microsoft to curb piracy introduced Windows product activation system since Windows XP. Activation is an anti-piracy technology designed to verify that Microsoft software products are genuine. Most of the Windows users are aware of Windows Product Activation as it is so common now. Users are now required to activate their copy of Windows with Microsoft either online or over the phone within the grace period or trial period to continue using the Windows operating system.

In this article you will find some simple commands or ways by which users can check Windows Activation status easily.

How To Check Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 Activation Status?

Even though Windows XP has less stringent Windows Product Activation algorithm when compared with Windows 7 or Vista but it does need product activation. Only exception is when users use OEM and VLK product key to register Windows XP. Computers that are pre-installed with Windows XP licensed using OEM license key (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and Windows XP Professional when installed using a VLK (Volume License Key), does not need users to activate Windows online or by phone as they are automatically activated.

To check the current status of Windows Product Activation, open the Run dialog box. (Press + to open the Run dialog box.) Now, type in the following command and press Enter:

oobe/msoobe /a

An “Activate Windows” window will open that will show the current Windows activation status. If Windows XP is already activated, the message “Windows is already activated. Click OK to exit.” will appear.


Info: You will find msoobe.exe under C:\Windows\System32\oobe\msoobe.exe

How can I tell if Windows 7 or Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 and later activated?

You can check the activation status of Windows 7 and Vista by two ways.

First method, click on the Start Button and in the Start search box or in the Run dialog box, type and execute the following command:


Users can find slui.exe under C:\Windows\System32\slui.exe

windows activation

Second Method, Open System by clicking the Start button, then right-clicking Computer, and then clicking on Properties. Now, under Windows activation, you can view your current activation status.

windows is activated


SK Mezanul Haque is the founder of MyTechGuide.org (popularly known as My Technology Guide). Passionate about all things in tech. Let's meet: Google Plus.


  1. I want to buy win server 2003, i’m get cheap price but the seal was broken.
    how to know that is not yet activated?

    • If the seal is broken than it is highly possible that the serial may have been compromised. You may contact Microsoft to clarify it.

  2. I bought windows Server 2008 from one our firms.They came and installed on the machine during my absence and gave me the activation keys. How can i tell if it’s genuine or it have not been used somewhere else.

    Kindly help before i pay them. I hate piracy

  3. The first method mentioned FORCES you to reactivate. You want to use the command “slui” instead to check activation.

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