Why can't I activate my Windows XP installation on my Dell Inspiron 8100 laptop?

A. This problem occurs because of a conflict between the XP activation component and the Inspiron 8100's graphics adapter. To work around the problem, you need to boot the installation in base video mode, then activate XP. To boot your installation in base video mode, perform the following steps:

  1. Start the configuration utility--go to Start, Run and type
  2. Select the boot.ini tab.
  3. Select your boot entry, then select the "/BASEVIDEO" check box.
  4. Click Apply, then click OK.
  5. Reboot your machine.

Alternatively, you can directly edit the boot.ini file and add the /basevideo switch to your boot entry. For example,

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /basevideo
will boot XP in a base-video configuration.

After your computer reboots with the /basevideo option, you can activate your Windows installation. After activating the installation, you can remove the /basevideo option from the boot.ini file and reboot the system.

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