I cloned the drive then did a reinstall repair over the top of the old OS and that's as far as I've got. As soon as I go to log in, I get this message:
This copy of Windows must be activated with Microsoft before you can log on. Do you want to activate Windows now?
When I hit yes, it logs out. So I go to log in and get the same message. Loop the loop. I can't boot into Safe Mode with networking, but I can boot into Safe Mode without networking.
I used the product key on the sticker on the laptop so it's all legit.
I did some Googling and found a page that says this:
Windows stores the activation information in two files in the c:\windows\system32 folder: Wpa.dbl and Wpa.bak. If those files are locked, or permissions are incorrect, Windows may not be able to save its activation information.
You might also want to check the following registry keys:
(change Activation Required value to zero)
(change RegDone value to 1)
Boot into safe mode, click Start→Run and type regedit then check these values.
There is no entry for MICROSOFTNT but the second entry was there and I was able to change the value to 1 as stated.
I also found wpa.dbl in the system32 directory and renamed it. Then the error message changed slightly, but it was still an activation loop. I can't log on to activate. Here's what it says:
A problem has prevented Windows from accurately checking the status of the license for this computer. To proceed your copy of Windows must be activated with Microsoft. Do you want to activate Windows now?
I suppose I could reinstall from scratch then copy the data back off the cloned drive, but all the apps will need reinstalling. Last time I removed this virus for someone else I didn't get this hassle. Was it SP3 that did it? I know it can be flaky. The machine is a Dell Inspiron 6400.
So is there a way of activating in Safe Mode with no networking? If I open Activation in safe mode, it says You cannot activate Windows from safe mode.
PS. After changing wpa.dbl to wpa.dpl_old, it put a new wpa.dbl in the system32 directory and that's when the message changed.
Edited by Cams, 30 December 2009 - 07:03 PM.