Turn Off WPA Balloons


When you set up a temporary test Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP system, Windows continually displays Windows Product Activation (WPA) balloons that prompt you to activate the product. In this circumstance, you'll likely want to get rid of this activation reminder without activating the product.

When I need to remove activation reminder balloons, I use a short Windows Script Host (WSH) script named DisableWpaNotification.vbs. I keep this script in my network tools collection so that I can quickly browse to it and use it to disable notifications when necessary.

Listing 1 shows DisableWpaNotification.vbs. The script begins by creating an instance of the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Win32_WindowsProductActivation class. As callout A in Listing 1 shows, you set the Win32_WindowsProductActivation class's SetNotification method to a value of 0 to disable the notification prompts and remove the activation icon from the tray.

After I'm done testing a Windows 2003 or XP system and I'm certain it's stable, I use the EnableWpaNotification.vbs script, which Listing 2 shows, to re-enable the notification balloons. EnableWpaNotification.vbs is similar to DisableWpaNotification.vbs, except that EnableWpaNotification.vbs sets the SetNotification method to a value of 1, as callout A in Listing 2 shows. Setting the method to 1 enables the notification prompts and adds the activation icon to the tray.

You can download DisableWpaNotification.vbs and EnableWpaNotification.vbs from the Windows Scripting Solutions Web site. Go to http://www.windowsitpro.com/windowsscripting, enter 48312 in the InstantDoc ID text box, then click the 48312.zip hotlink. Note that this script works only on Windows 2003 and XP because the Win32_WindowsProductActivation class isn't available in earlier OSs. If you use DisableWpaNotification.vbs to suppress activation prompts, make sure you add to your calendar or personal planner a deadline for re-activation that's before the product's expiration date. There will be logon notification reminders beginning 7 days before product expiration, but I don't recommend that you rely on this final warning. If you run the system unattended or send it to a remote site, you might not see that reminder in time to prevent a crisis.

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