XP: How to Bypass Validation to Download Updates When the Product Key Is Invalid

Posted September 23, 2005 by mattnus in Windows installation

The following tech-recipe contains the steps used to bypass the validation to download updates for XP computers when the product key is invalid.

1) Open Internet Explorer.

2) Go to Tools > Internet Options….

3) Click on the Programs tab.

4) Click the Manage Add-ons…. button.

5) Scroll down to the Windows Genuine Advantage add-on. (They should be in alphabetical order.)

6) After you click on it, there is a settings box below all the add-ons. There you will find Enable/Disable radio buttions. Just click Disable, then OK, and then Apply. You are set.

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • lucky

    i have to not having any such add on

    • cheryl mitchell

      go to internet options/programs/manage add-ons click on toolbars and extensions. in the box below “in private filtering” where it says show: click on it theres a dropdown menu click on “all add-ons” then look to the right and there it is . >

      • Prudhvi Raj

        > Well i am unable to see the tab even after doing the same process u said

  • rani

    My Addons list doesnt show windows genuine advantage. what do i do? i do not have any activation key and i have only 1 day left.. please help..

  • sarj

    there is no such add-on

  • rik

    hw do i get media 11 wivout product key??

  • Chris

    i cant find the windows genuine avantage to disable

    • ZOUboo

      when i get to the second step i don’t see where to the button to click to manage add…

  • Colin

    didn’t work, no Genuine Advantage button…

  • edward

    How to bypass the validation to download updates for xp preofessional computers when the product key is invalid. the steps youhave given are not apparent in the menu

  • Adeel Chohan

    too bad. I have genuine windows

  • anonymous

    Cant find “Windows Genuine Advantage” in Manage Add-ons

    • Anonymous


  • Chetan

    I dont get the Windows Genuine Advantage add-on listed and yet the computer is checking for the genuine copy of windows XP.. I do have SP2 installed…

    • Anonymous

      This tip no longer seems to work. I followed it to the letter (XP sp2) and Windows Update is still asking to run Windows Validation. 🙁

  • Anonymous

    If you explore the windows cd and open up I386 it does reside in a file named UNATTEND.txt. I have successfully used this on VALID windows installations. Still working to this day, have never been blacklisted.

    • A.M

      I tried opening the UNATTEND.txt file, and typing in the key. Much to my dismay, it did not work. Suggestions?

    • atul


  • Anonymous

    If you explore the windows cd and open up I386 it does reside in a file named UNATTEND.txt. I have successfully used this on VALID windows installations. Still working to this day, have never been blacklisted.

  • Bliss

    Sorry, did all the above but I have NO Windows Genuine Advantage in the lists? Can it be called something else or is there another way to block this rotten thing.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, done all the above but I have no Windows genuine advantage to disable!

  • Anonymous

    I have installed the win XP professional version 2002 service pack 2 to my system,but i recieve a windows validation erroe message in the task bar when i start my PC,i dodn’t want to install any updates but i want to overcome this problem.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this!! 🙂 Worked like a charm.

  • Anonymous

    nothing i got as Windows Genuine Advantage add on

  • Stephanie

    have no windows genuine advantage when I open manage add ons. how do I get to validate my windows xp service pack 2?

  • Bob

    Oh… no go

    • Dan

      how about buying a licensed copy? If you HAVE a LEGAL copy, call MS and ask for an offline validation.

      You should be able to remove the existing (probably illegal) key with SysPrep. Then call MS for telephone validation. They will be able to walk you thru it. You will need to have your original CD. If this is an OEM installation (from the likes of Dell/HP/etc) and you don’t have the CD, then call your vendor, and they can ship you one.

  • Anonymous

    you may be victim of software counterfeiting
    this copy of windows did not pass the genuine windows validation

    how can a remove this message from my desktop and the star shown on my startup menu with the same message of validation???

  • Anonymous

    Here’s a new one for me. Trying to help an elderly lady set up her HP desktop (has XP Home OS). On startup comes the HP registration screen. This poor gal doesn’t want, never has and never will access the internet…she just wants to word process a letter from time to time and look at pictures her relatives send her on CD.

    No matter how many ways you tell it “no “skip” or whatever…it just keeps coming full circle back to square one. Is this poor gal’s computer useless because she doesn’t have an internet connection? If that’s true – it stinks. Thanks for any advise on by-passing this HP set-up/registration screen – if that’s even possible.

    • Colin

      > if you validate via the phone, all will be good

  • Anonymous

    the last five didgets do not coraspond with mt key

  • Anonymous

    thank you its really working. thanks a lot

  • runner

    I am restalling my XP prof. again, again, what is the best wat to bypass the activation process for XP or anyother MS installion. You buy there product but go throught a hassal to get it to work right.
    Any help would be great, Thanks

  • I have a Dell laptop computer with Vista operating system. The computer is asking for a validation key for Windows Office. If I don’t enter the key I will lose the ability to use certain Windows functions. I entered the validation number on the Windows sticker that came with my computer, but this did not work.

    What should I do, please help.

    • Anonymous

      If you have a valid number, I’ll work if you type it in correctly. Double-check the digits. If somebody else has already used that number (maybe illegally), then contact Microsoft support so they can issue you another one.

      • Omegasymbiote

        Okay nice idea but when i contact them all they want to do is try to make me go out and buy a win7 disc, my comp can’t run win7.

  • Dennis

    cant find it

  • Gowtham

    “Windows Genuine Advantage” is not found in the Manage addon’s option in my syatems IE.Please guide me.

    • I am sorry I cannot find Windows Genuine Advantage add-on on my Manage Add-ons;what can I do then?

  • Captbalut

    there is no windows genuine advantage add-on

  • Anonymous


  • kainthastic

    there is no genuine advantage add on there.,.,,.,.

  • Hibiscus_su

    done!! could this take effect even if Internet Explorer is not my default browser? I’m using google chrome. thanks!

  • cxbxcb@yahoo.com

    If you are the only user or the administrator, then you should go to permissions and give yourself full access rights and then you will be able to make future changes

  • Wayne

    XP sp 2 worked on this system since it’s purchase. Ran the ‘install Microsoft update’ NEW! SHINY!. Now the damn thing insists that it’s product activation (stuck on a cd somewhere lost in time) isn’t valid.

    “We’re from Microsoft, and we’re here to help you”. NOT. There is no actual resolution.

    M$ declares XP is no longer available for purchase on it’s web page to resolve license issues. It also doesn’t give me the option to enter a valid XP key, even if I had one in my hand. I’m not wanting to purchase new software. I’d be willing to fork over (again) what SONY gave MS years ago for the OEM license for a valid key (heh, likely less than $30), but M$ is unwilling to take it.

    I’m not spending an hour of my life on the phone with M$ to sort out their problem, unless they want to pay my my billable rate (as a network engineer) to troubleshoot a non-technical problem of their own making.

    M$’s licensing has gotten stupid and greedy over the last few years (and so has every other vendor – Really, I have to pay more because I have more memory in my system? ). I don’t have to buy a license to use my damn car, and there’s a computer in it. When I sell my car, my ‘license’ doesn’t expire. I don’t have to buy a special license if my car has 8 cylinders or 4, has 4 seats, or 2, has 2, 3 or 4 doors. GM doesn’t care if I’m the only person who drives it, what music I play in it, or if I pack 20 frat boys in it and try and close the doors. The car carrier that brought it to the dealer didn’t pay a license to move 8 of them at a time.

    There’s no conditions on it. It’s *my* damn car. Same with my toaster. I don’t have a 4 user license on my toaster, and it doesn’t bitch if I start putting potato bread in it instead of wheat, or if I put texas toast or that thin diet crap in it. It doesn’t demand to be connected to the interwebs to determine if i’m the rightful, licenesed owner of the damn toaster. I turn the darkness knob, push the lever down, and it does it’s damn job. And yes, my farking toaster has a farking microprocessor in it.

    I shouldn’t be forced to pay 5 times what Dell pays for a license. That’s the most infuriating thing. There’s no way Dell or any other OEM pays $150 for a license on a notebook it sells for >$500. No damn way in hell. Demanding this of retail purchases, for no discernable difference, should be criminal.

    Demanding $150 for a retail windows 7 license for a system that can’t run it is farking stupid.

  • MichaelVof

    Millions of people dream of immortality , do not know what to do on Wednesday night.