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Activate Windows on the Internet

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

To activate Windows on the Internet

  1. Click Start, point to All Programs, and then click Activate Windows.

  2. In Windows Product Activation, select Yes, let's activate Windows over the Internet now. After this selection, you will be given the option to register at the same time.


  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure.

  • To open a system tools item, click Start, point to All programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click the appropriate icon. Click Activate Windows.

  • Alternatively, you can open the Windows Product Activation Wizard by clicking Start, then Run, and then typing "oobe/msoobe /a".

  • You are strongly encouraged to activate your Windows Server 2003 operating system before using it in a productive environment to prevent loss of time later.

  • If you choose not to activate Windows now, reminders will appear periodically during your grace period. After that time has expired, your login process will remain incomplete until activation.

  • If you have not yet activated your Windows Server 2003 operating system, you can do so at any time by clicking the Windows Activation icon in the Notification Area on the Status Bar on the Desktop to initiate activation.

  • If you have neither an Internet connection or a modem, see "To activate Windows by phone" in Related Topics for instructions on how to contact a customer service representative by phone.

  • Activating any of the Windows Server 2003 operating systems is fast and does not require your name or other personal information.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

See Also

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