21 years after the release of the Windows XP operating system, researchers still managed to crack the activation algorithm. Enthusiasts say that Windows XP can now be activated in a safe and secure way, offline.
Information about the hack first appeared on the tinyapps.org blog, which usually posts minimalistic utilities for limited Windows installations.
The media also wrote that Windows XP source codes were leaked.
The post titled “Windows XP Activation: GAME OVER” is addressed to people who decide to activate Windows XP more than two decades after its release, nine years after the end of support and, most importantly, several years after Microsoft turned off their activation servers.
Let me remind you that we also talked about Windows 11 22H2 Warns That It’s Not Safe to Store Passwords in Notepad, and also that Fake Windows 11 installers download RedLine malware into computers.
Tinyapps noticed the xp_activate32.exe file posted by enthusiasts on Reddit, which is a program of only 18,432 bytes (the hash is given on the tinyapps blog). This utility uses the code that is generated when you choose to activate Windows XP by phone and converts it into the correct key to activate the OS (Confirmation ID), operating completely offline, without an Internet connection.
The key obtained in this way works, and is also saved after cleaning and reinstalling the system. It seems that exactly the same key was provided to users by Microsoft itself.
The Register notes that the Windows XP activation algorithm was most likely hacked back in 2019, when the WindowsXPKg open source keygen appeared, which could create “infinite Windows XP keys.” However, the tool still required external services to activate and complete the OS check and install, which became a problem as these services are no longer used or unavailable.
After that, last year someone leaked a Windows executable that was able to generate the Confirmation ID needed to complete the activation process completely offline. Thus, by combining the key generator and the executable file to obtain an ID, you can activate Windows XP without the Internet, Microsoft’s help and without using cracks.
This month, the aforementioned open source key generator was forked for Linux. It looks like it still needs an executable to generate the ID, but it works. The journalists also note that the mysterious executable file, which tinyapps drew attention to, is also being actively reversed to find out how it works and also make it open source.
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