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How to restore XP activation status information after a reformat

  1. Double-click My Computer, then double-click on the “C” drive.
  2. Navigate to the C:WindowsSystem32 folder.
  3. Locate the files named “wpa.dbl” and “wpa.bak” and copy them to a safe location such as a USB key or CD.
  4. Reformat your disk and reinstall Windows XP on your reformatted hard drive, click “No” when asked if you want to activate Windows.
  5. Reboot your computer into SafeMode (press F8 as Windows is booting up to see the Windows Advanced Options menu and select SAFEBOOT_OPTION=Minimal)
  6. Double-click My Computer, then double-click on the “C” drive again.
  7. Navigate to the C:WindowsSystem32 folder again.
  8. Locate the files named “wpa.dbl” and “wpa.bak” (if it exists) and rename them to “” and “”
  9. Copy your original “wpa.dbl” and “wpa.bak” files from your USB key, CD or DVD or other location into the C:WindowsSystem32 folder
  10. Restart your system.

Spam of the Week
A couple of weeks ago, I was being inundated with spam messages claiming I had received a postcard from a family member. This past week, I’ve received literally hundreds of spams from the “United States National Medical Association.” There actually is an organization called the NMA but it’s not an online drug-buying organization, which is what the spam messages claim. Interestingly, my Outlook 2003 junk mail filter was not catching these – until I installed an update for the junk mail filters. Now they all go into my Junk Mail folder (I use a computer running XP/Outlook 2003 to filter my Exchange mail before I access it in Outlook 2007 on my primary Vista computer – but that’s another story for another day). If you’re getting these spams, check out how to get the update here.

Zune DRM


I recently signed up for the Zune download service and ran into a problem. I have two computers, a desktop and a laptop and installed the Zune service software on my desktop and created an account. I was able to buy songs and download them on my desktop without a problem. I installed the Zune service on my laptop and was able to buy songs, but they would not download! I was charged for the songs but the downloads failed. What can I do? – Tommy T.


You’re not the first one to have this problem. The good news is that, since your account was charged for these songs, the Zune service has information about the download and the service is aware that the download did not complete (they have a mechanism to confirm whether the download was successful or not).

In order to download your songs, you can try again from the laptop, but I recommend that you go to your desktop first, since you know that downloads are working from there. Open the Zune interface and click the Zune Marketplace menu (it looks like a orange colored person sitting to the right of the Options menu). Click Account Management. On the Account Summary page, look in the Music and Purchases section. Click the Incomplete Transactions button. Click the Check Now button. If there are incomplete downloads, you’ll be able to complete the downloads from here. As for your laptop, you probably need to restart the computer to get your Zune download service to work.

[ed: A friend also dropped in with this comment: “I have had all kinds for problems with the Zune service. I purchased a 3 month service for all music and because I installed it on my laptop then on my home desktop it stop working. I had already uninstalled it on my laptop, but still no dice. I spent over an hour on the phone with Microsoft Zune tech support and it is still not fixed. Cost me $45. Microsoft’s DRM is POS.” ]

Chatty Trojan: This Trojan “tells” you that you’re infected.

Deb Shinder