Microsoft Windows XP, was a major release of Microsoft's Windows NT operating system, released on August 24, 2001, before going on sale on October 25, 2001.
Since then, Windows XP quickly gained critical acclaim. The operating system is much more powerful than its predecessor, much more intuitive, and successfully streamlined media support and peripheral storage systems, as well as networking tools. Compatibility also improved significantly, and performance is also praised.
Microsoft ended its extended support for Windows XP in 2014, but since that time, many users, including some enterprises, were reluctant to move away from an operating system they viewed as the most-stable Windows ever.
Windows XP's longevity has been known for years, in a degree that Microsoft cannot achieve in the subsequent Windows versions.
In other words, in 2023, or 21 years after its release, and 9 years after not receiving support, the operating system never fully went dark.
And this time, somepone managed to filly crack the algorithm behind Windows XP's activation code.
What this means, anyone who wishes to still use a validated Windows XP, can do so, without limitation, or having to pay for anything.
It's worth noting that people have been cracking Windows XP for decades.
But those tools are only designed to generate keys that Windows XP would accept, typically done through software hacks or brute-force decryption. While activating Windows XP using this method works, the particular copy of the Windows XP operating system would not validate with Microsoft.
In other words, the cracking Windows XP only circumvent Microsoft’s validation process or using a third-party server to fool Microsoft.
But this time, anyone who wishes to validate their Windows XP copy cannot complete the validation because those services are no longer usable or reachable. This is because Microsoft no longer operates its online activation servers.
By cracking the algorithm behind the activation code, it's possible to activate Windows XP safely and securely, even without having to get Microsoft involved.
According to a website post on the matter, the person managed to crack the algorithm, by reverse engineering Microsoft's telephone activation algorithm.
Doing so allowed the perosn to crack the actual encrypted algorithm, loathed since before it started, has never been truly broken
The person shared a file, named
xp_activate32.exe for anyone who wishes to use it.
The 18,432-byte program takes the code generated by Windows XP's phone activation option and processes it into a proper activation key. All of the validation process happens offline, and the result is persistent across the system.
The program is even compiled it to run properly on non-Microsoft operating systems, like Linux.
It's worth noting though, that Windows XP has long since been left in the dust.
Regardless, there are still machines that run on the legacy OS, but cannot be upgraded due to hardware limitations. It's these systems that could benefit from this tool, and this why they continued their efforts in cracking the algorithm, even after years, and two major versions of Windows have been released.
At this time, according to StatCounter, Windows XP is installed on just 0.35% of PCs worldwide.
This is a miniscule amount.
This makes the tool to crack Windows XP safely not relevant. Most people should not use this tool to purposefully install Windows XP, because the operating system is not designed for the modern days of technology and internet, and mobile and IoT, as well as AI, and is no longer equipped with the ability to support modern devices and thwart modern threats.
Windows XP wasn't the most secure of operating systems back in 2001, and users should definitely not use it in 2023, especially on anything that is connected to the internet.
What's more, people can actually use functional XP images that you can sandbox inside a virtual machine.
Regardless, all the person did, was to prove a rhetorical, mathematical victory, sending hope to a small prayer for those dealing with hardware that truly needs XP, and may wish to enjoy seeing that classic rolling hills wallpaper, legally.