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Windows 7: Activation Problem

14 Apr 2010   #21
zapp22

Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows XP Home SP3
 
 
in progress

yes - in fact I'm on hold as I type. he's escalating... this is the fourth human I've dealt with over the span of 3 hours or so. at least he's persistent... escalating, escalating. so far he can't figure out why it doesn't just fly through. the real license key is a volume type, but that shouldn't befuddle the activation. he claims that if I had installed on new hard drive "from scratch" it would have worked. I have a hard time believing that...
Something very odd: he asked me to 'admin out' to a command prompt and manually change the product license key [which really wasn't a change...the right one was in the registry, faithfully copied over encryption & all]. It went through with flying colors. but on the reboot, the system went through "chkdsk" and removed/cleaned a bunch of security files.... what's that about? hactivate prevention?

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by derekimo View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by zapp22 View Post
Anyone still following this, let me ask a question: I have a Dell Optiplex, but the Windows 7 install was done at a corporate site [big dell client]. These machines rolled off-lease and were sold. Mine was activated, validated, goldplated, all that good stuff, but on a teenie hard drive. Upgraded to a 500g drive, cloned over the system, but it will not activate auto. It will not activate if I manually punch in my COA license number [which is still in its registry, btw]. I've combed all over the web trying to find a fix and can't, other than reading that the issue is likely the result of a server-spray install [with a group or serialized license scheme]. Do I need to change the license key TYPE? how???
Have you tried this method?

Activate Windows 7 by Phone



My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Apr 2010   #22
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64
 
 

You need a clean install on any new drive being a new hardware! The OEM Install was still tied to the first hard drive by make, model, and most importantly "serial number" on the drive itself!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Apr 2010   #23
zapp22

Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows XP Home SP3
 
 
you and MS....

NH, you deserve a gold star.
this is the literal truth: in total I was on the Telephone for 4 hours with Microsoft folk today and 8 persons later, the 8th guy finally told me the truth, that some hardware changes will get the install in a state where it cannot generate the "install key" [9 fields, 5 characters per field], which is the case here... it cannot get to that stage.
The final guy "threw in the towel", admitting that it should validate [they checked my license key over and over... its a Volume License type, and the thing is looking for its original "parent" server].

This is a reason to stay with Windows XP in a working business environment. you do not want to waste time reinstalling from scratch and fooling with address books, exhange imports, reinstalls and re-updating of numerous applications and applets, reinstalling of personal files, etc etc, when you can simply clone a Win XP image and it will boot right up. [i've done it many times and so have a lot of peeps here].

Being stubborn, I'd like to fix the issue. Somehow need to trick the system.
What about mounting the original [activated/validated/blessed/updated] teenie drive on a usb port, leave new drive as "C:", but removing it from boot order. Force a boot from something other than "C:", then forcing an Activation???

the last guy was quite contrite....

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Night Hawk View Post
You need a clean install on any new drive being a new hardware! The OEM Install was still tied to the first hard drive by make, model, and most importantly "serial number" on the drive itself!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Apr 2010   #24
zapp22

Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows XP Home SP3
 
 
for the record

the summary sent by microsoft, with a few judicious omissions:

"This is XYZA with Microsoft Windows Technical Support.

It was my pleasure to work with you on your Windows service request 11296524##. Unfortunately, we were unable to resolve your issue. However, I hope that you were happy with the service provided to you.

I will archive the service request as Not-Resolved. If you are not happy with the support we've provided please let us know as soon as possible. My goal is to ensure that your experience with Microsoft Windows Technical Support leaves you pleased with our products and services.

Here is a summary of the key points of the service request for your records:

ACTION : ABCS, you were trying to activate Windows 7 Professional.
RESULT : You were getting "0x8007232B" error.
CAUSE : Activation files were corrupt.
RESOLUTION : ABCS, we suggested you to perform a clean installation of Windows 7 on your computer. If you need further assistance then please contact Volume License department...."

The thing is... What is the point of volume licensing? its to allow a large client [mftr or Fed Government, or DOD, or whatever/whoever] to spray installs from a server, assigning its own licenses. One of the points is to deliberately NOT HAVE a multitude of "install discs" laying around the premises. So this issue defeats the idea of having "hot ready" images on hard drives, unless they are "generic"
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Apr 2010   #25
Bill2

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

zapp22,

1) VLK keys were massively misused in XP. As a rule, VL editions of XP should not be sold to individual consumers. Businesses, schools and govts normally use VL editions for flexibility in installing many computers. But in the times of xp it was a simple matter to download a vl disk and use a leaked vl key (they were leaked by the dozens). Such keys were /are blocked by Microsoft at the request of the original keyholder for reasons such as the key was lost, stolen, compromised, misused, or expired. Also, MS may block the key if it notices a pattern of misuse, ie, more installations of XP using that key than authorized.

2) Consequently, MS changed the VL activation process in Vista and Win7. Now, KMS (Key management service) keys are the default. In this system, the KMS key is installed on only one computer on the network called the KMS host. All other network users activate their system through the host. This is convenient for businesses because only one computer i.e. the host needs to contact MS for activation.

The other model is MAK (Multiple activation keys). In this one time activation with MS's activation services is required. This may be setup either to be done independently for each computer (like standard vlk) or through a MAK proxy.

3) You can try a clean install, but my guess would be that unless its the MAK independent method, you wont be able to activate without contacting the company/ organization, where your computer was originally setup. Only they can activate the system by properly authorizing you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Apr 2010   #26
zapp22

Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows XP Home SP3
 
 

Bill, at least you have a thorough understanding of what's going on.
you realize what the net/net of this is for the "mere mortal". i had this long intense chat with the 8th and last rep at MS yesterday:
like this: "ok... hang on, let me rewind to the very frontend of this exercise and ask you [mr. microsoft] a simple question. I have a perfectly legitimate license, and you agree that I do. I have a system that is activated/validated/keyed/updated/solid-gold, right? The system is out of disk space and I want a big fat hard drive. Can you please tell me how to safely image-over my entire system environment to the new hard drive, have it activated/validated/updated/sanctified?".
His answer was "maybe not".

Like you, he said the only answer he could give was "TRY a clean install".
And he admitted it might fail, and admitted this was the only answer he could give me. he was "done".
that sounds like lawsuit material... petty as it is, Microsoft is denying a legitimate licensee the right to their license [in effect]

Volume keys usually don't ship with nice clean install discs. That in fact is one of the GOOD security points about that approach... you don't have a bunch of physical discs floating about

I don't think a clean install will work either.

Stepping back a few paces, how do I get this done?
Are there any 3rd party imaging programs that will work? I think the answer is "no" because as soon as the first boot occurs [if it does] W7 will pickup the hardware changes and force an activation which will fail.

right?

I note that the MS tech reps guess their way through this issue - they really do not understand the activation cobweb and they guess at ramifications. several of them misspoke to wit: "any major changes of hardware will cause this condition" and I would interrupt and tell them they're giving incorrect counsel.
I had already changed:
- Old DVD to modern DVD drive
- Old ATI vid card to new Gforce card
- Exchanged limited RAM for full-up 4GB
none of those changes triggered a reactivate.
Only the HD change.

there's a way...

What if I mount the original/good/activated HD as a USB device? Will it boot? [probably not]. How would I force it to boot... make it bootable? I'm trying to think of a way to leave the new drive as C: but not boot from it, then go through activation or if not triggered, manually "change" the license key.
??



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
zapp22,

1) VLK keys were massively misused in XP. As a rule, VL editions of XP should not be sold to individual consumers. Businesses, schools and govts normally use VL editions for flexibility in installing many computers. But in the times of xp it was a simple matter to download a vl disk and use a leaked vl key (they were leaked by the dozens). Such keys were /are blocked by Microsoft at the request of the original keyholder for reasons such as the key was lost, stolen, compromised, misused, or expired. Also, MS may block the key if it notices a pattern of misuse, ie, more installations of XP using that key than authorized.

2) Consequently, MS changed the VL activation process in Vista and Win7. Now, KMS (Key management service) keys are the default. In this system, the KMS key is installed on only one computer on the network called the KMS host. All other network users activate their system through the host. This is convenient for businesses because only one computer i.e. the host needs to contact MS for activation.

The other model is MAK (Multiple activation keys). In this one time activation with MS's activation services is required. This may be setup either to be done independently for each computer (like standard vlk) or through a MAK proxy.

3) You can try a clean install, but my guess would be that unless its the MAK independent method, you wont be able to activate without contacting the company/ organization, where your computer was originally setup. Only they can activate the system by properly authorizing you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Apr 2010   #27
Bill2

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

zapp22,

Do you have a COA sticker on your machine? It's a rainbow sticker with a product key and other details on it. It may be on the front of tha machine or at the bottom or behind the battery.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Apr 2010   #28
zapp22

Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows XP Home SP3
 
 

No, this is a Dell Optiplex that was part of a big volume that were converted over to Windows 7 downstream at either the customer's shop or via contractor [IT contractor]. My current understanding is that some unit of HP provided the licensing/install service, which is quite plausible. As you know, in a big shop you'll have an installed base of several vendors/vintages. I would hazard a guess that this was an early-adopter trial and when the hardware rolled off its lease they go into the secondary market.

The System originally has a Windows XP Pro COA. It still has the original hard drive [an 80gb sata] that was nuked and remapped with Windows 7 Professional.
The license is good. The system activated/validated perfectly in its original form.
Only upon confg'ing the new drive did the error appear.

There is an endless supply of such items in the pipeline, just as there was/is for corporate-lease Win XP rigs.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
zapp22,

Do you have a COA sticker on your machine? It's a rainbow sticker with a product key and other details on it. It may be on the front of tha machine or at the bottom or behind the battery.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Apr 2010   #29
zapp22

Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows XP Home SP3
 
 

Here's a worthy question:
In a system that is successfully activated AND validated, isn't there something in the registry or elsewhere physically on the drive that reflects the successful activation? There must be, elsewise the system would be 'stuck' at the activation stage. Whatever that widget is, it would be 'Exhibit A' in the discussion.
Essentially, Microsoft is unintentionally in the position of authorizing a piece of hardware, and not authorizing a change of hardware. [denying licensability].

Anyone know where such a marker is stashed?

Secondary to that question: the "Install Key" that is randomly generated during the process: is it also saved in some fashion on the drive? The Install Key essentially, in such cases, is the "token" that buys the customer transit from a Tech Support issue to a 'Volume Licensing' issue. That is precisely what the assembled folk yesterday told me. No "Install Key", no re-up. Since the system SHOULD generate an install key, but is not capable of doing so, then it becomes a "Tech Support" Issue, lands in their shop, and goes unresolved.

If these two items are on the drive somewhere, I would want to fetch and decrypt them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Apr 2010   #30
Bill2

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

zapp22,

FYI, for MAK activations, theres something called "Activation Hardware Tolerance". What this does is to assign a weighted score for each hardware change, the score varying with how significant the change is. E.g. a CD drive change would be very minor while a hard drive change would be very major. Windows adds up this score and once a particular cumulative score is reached, the MAK key needs to be renewed. Now you mentioned having swapped out other parts earlier, so i was wondering whether you are out of tolerance. See this thread.

Volume Activation 2.0 at UW-Madison
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