Difference between Activation and Registration

What’s the difference between Product Activation and Product Registration?

In one short line: Activation is mandatory, registration is optional. Activation is anonymous, registration is not.

Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, retail and OEM products, contain software-based product activation technology, which means you need to activate your copy of Windows XP/2003 in order to use it. Some new PCs purchased with Windows XP/2003 pre-installed will also require activation. If your organization licenses Windows XP through one of Microsoft’s volume licensing agreement programs such as Open License and Select License, you will not be required to activate those Windows XP/2003 licenses.

Product activation is not the same as product registration. Product activation is required and is completely anonymous. Product registration, on the other hand, is completely optional. You may opt to provide personal information, such as your e-mail address, for product registration purposes. Registration entitles you to receive information about product updates and special offers directly from Microsoft. All registration information provided is stored securely and no information is ever loaned or sold to third parties (or so they say…).

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