Unless you are using a Corporate or Volume License All versions of XP require product activation. You may have received a version that was shipped "pre-activated". btw: there are only volume license upgrades to Operating systems.
There is no greed about activation. If you have a retail version of a MS Operating system, you
do not have to pay any fee to run it on a new computer or activate it. You just have to destory the installation on the old computer.
OEM operating systems are licensed for that hardware only and can never be activated on another computer.
There is never any personal information sent to MS during product activation.
If you register, then of course you will be sending personal information to MS, but registration is optional.
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