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Windows 7: Problem with using System Image

18 Nov 2010   #1

Windows 7
Problem with using System Image

I installed Win7 early this year and after I used my Windows activation key, installed drivers and did the updates, I made a system image.

This was great as I could experiment with various video encoding programs and if I got problems I just did the Win7 System Image Recovery and started afresh.

As my external HDD is fairly full (video MP4s!) I just did the one Image after the original install and was happy to do any further updates and install any required software after each recovery.

This worked well the few times I used it but now I have problems. When I do the recovery now I get a message to say my Windows may not be legitimate and I am now prompted that my Windows Activation is out of date and when I try to use my key (I have Win7 Home Premium full Retail) using Active Windows the Desktop goes black and stays that way even though it says my activation was successful!

I have tried both online activation and entering the Key, both methods are reported succesful but the Black Desktop does not go!

It seems stupid that the Black Desktop security measure doesn't go away after successful activation using my legitimate key. I understand that they have problems with fraud and re-entering my key is no problem but I now have had to use the install disk instead.

Can anyone tell me how to get round this problem, or does this mean I have to make regular Images so that Microsoft security doesn't get upset?

Many thanks for any replies, apart from this one small problem I have been very pleased with Win7.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2010   #2
Hopalong X

Windows7 Pro 64bit SP-1; Windows XP Pro 32bit

I'm not sure what is going on with the activation.

As to making an image more often that would be prudent if you have space. I keep three but two would be good. I have two hard drives so space isn't a problem.
I keep one original as you did and a newer one. I'll make a newer one yet for the third. I'll rotate out the second or third one every 8 weeks or so.

I would think two would be sufficient if room allows. Swap out every 8 weeks or so.

I'm going to look in the Tutorial section and see if I find a possible solution to the activation problem.

I think this may be your problem. The image was made possibly before you did the activation? Or the new activation is reading Windows as if it wasn't activated in the proper time line when using the old image.
One possibility but there is a cure I'm sure. I'll be back.

Activate Windows 7 Online

  • You must activate Windows 7 within the 30 days grace period after installation before it expires. When Windows 7 is activated, you'll be able to use every feature of Windows 7.
  • If you chose to Automatically activate Windows when I'm online when you set up your computer, automatic activation begins trying to activate your copy of Windows 7 three days after you log on for the first time. See METHOD ONE below.
  • If you install Windows 7 on a second computer, you must buy an additional product key number to activate the second installation to continue using Windows 7 on both computers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2010   #3
Hopalong X

Windows7 Pro 64bit SP-1; Windows XP Pro 32bit

Activate Windows 7 by Phone

Phone activation info. You may have to call Microsoft. First option I've been told is entering your retail key as you would on line. If that fails get a rep on the phone and explain the situation.

I didn't find anything else.
I will go ask for more help. I would think there is an easier work around.
Hang in there.

I posted for more help.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Nov 2010   #4

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Stephens,

See if going to the Genuine Microsoft Software website, click on the Validate Windows button there, and follow the rest of the onscreen instructions may be able to help.

Hope this helps,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2010   #5
Hopalong X

Windows7 Pro 64bit SP-1; Windows XP Pro 32bit

Try Brinks idea first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2010   #6

Windows 7

Thanks for the replies Hopalong X and Brink it validates OK. It was the Microsoft pre-release order offer of full retail for 45 (bargain) and came from Tesco, the biggest UK supermarket so I expected it to be a valid copy.

As far as Windows activation is concerned, I followed the SevenForums Clean Install Guide (in the link below) and entered the key in step 13 and definitely left the Automatically activate Windows when I'm online box checked, so presumed Activation was all covered as I was connected to the internet at the time.

Clean Install Windows 7

I then installed drivers and did updates, then did the System Image immediately after that. However the Activate Windows 7 Online guide says this is done 3 days later so I presume was not done before the System Image was taken!

Everything has been fine since the original install in early Spring, used the System Image Restore approx. 3 times (it worked perfect) and all updates fine including those monthly ones that check the system out.

Everything is fine now, having used the install disk, it's just when I tried to restore the Image two days ago that the problem occurred.

I am sure I have used the Image well after the 30 day Activation grace period before without problem, but since the Automatically activate Windows when I'm online was probably not carried out before the System Image was taken that may be the problem?

Perhaps I should, in future, leave the Automatically activate Windows when I'm online box unchecked (as per guide) then used Activate Windows before I do the Image.

Would be grateful for any suggestions. The problem now is that I am reluctant to use Images just in case it happens again and I have no choice but to re-install from scratch with the Disk.

Many thanks for any replies.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2010   #7

64-bit Windows 10 Pro


It does sound like the image you created was not activated at the time.

I would recommend to create a new system image when your Windows 7 is activated to use instead.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2010   #8

Windows 7

Thanks Brink I think that is it.

I will manually Activate to make sure it's done before I do an Image this time.

Thanks for your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2010   #9

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

You're welcome mate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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