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Windows XP Pro won't activate


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#1 NightowtOwl

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 11:01 AM

The background: Had a Dell XPS that took a lightning hit through the cable modem and blew out the motherboard. (Power supply, hard drive and all else were okay. Modem was cooked!) Bought a Dell (I think Dimension) that had no hard drive, but a 3.2 Ghz Intel 4 processor, assorted peripherals. I pulled the 160 GB SATA hard drive from my XPS, popped it into this one. Wouldn't boot up windows. Ran diagnostics from BIOS, everything checked out. It just kept saying something about "to protect your computer windows has shut down." And gave an error code. Anyway, I never had a reinstall disk, so I bought one. When it asked if I wanted to repair the edition of XP Pro that was already on the hard drive, I hit "R." It went through it's reinstall steps. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, up to that point.

Had a hiccup or two getting it to boot to Windows from there, but now the bootup seems to be working, after a fashion. When I turn it on, it boots to the Windows welcome screen. Then I get a dialogue box that says:

"This copy of Windows must be activated with Microsoft before you can log on. Do you want to activate Windows now?"

At this point, I can click "No," on that dialogue box, it returns to a welcome screen, and then brings up the welcome screen with my personal settings and log-in name from the hard drive. And I get the same dialogue box again.

"This copy of Windows must be activated with Microsoft before you can log on. Do you want to activate Windows now?"

From either Welcome screen, if I click on "yes" the screen changes to the default gray background for the desktop, briefly displays the Mcafee startup box.. and that's it. After some unknown period of time (I go off and read or something) I will get a Mcafee dialogue box about my settings being incomplete. If I try to open that, I get a blank Mcafee interactive (well, supposed to be) box, that I can minimize or close with the mouse. But still no Windows activation.

Anybody got any clues for my next step? :wacko:

Thanks, for any help.
Nightowl

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#2 Allan

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 11:06 AM

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950929

#3 hamluis

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 11:41 AM

You cannot expect to take a hard drive from System A...install it in System B...and not have issues.

MS takes of the PA issues involved here, but you've have an activation on a system that is technically dead and non-transferable, IMO.

Moving XP to new MB or Computer - http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/moving_xp.html

Louis

#4 NightowtOwl

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 12:39 PM

Louis, with all due respect, I beg to differ. This was MY licensed copy of Windows XP Pro that came on my XPS, pre-installed on the hard drive that I am moving to the new computer. It is the same hard drive, the same copy of XP Pro, the same activation key (because it IS the same hard drive). The BIOS diagnostics check everything out as passed.

The problem is that when I click on yes to activate, I get nothing. No dialogue screen telling me it is invalid. No connection to Microsoft. The steps I followed I arrived at through a bit of trial and error, but eventually are the same as those on the page you linked to:
Remove the hard drive or drives
Install hard drive with XP installed to new computer, making sure to duplicate the cabling of computer hard drive/s is moved from.
Power on the computer and access the BIOS by pressing the key combination prompted by the BIOS, configure as described in the steps #16 & #17 above.
EXIT and SAVE BIOS settings.
Press Pause/Break, Insert XP.
Press Pause/Break again to continue upgrade.


At that point, when the computer automatically reboots, I got a black screen with the Windows XP logo and a "Please wait" message. No inputs worked at that point, and after about an hour, I cut the power to turn the computer off. It then boots into the Windows' Welcome screen(s) as above. The problem is not with activating Windows, but accessing the activation site. Since Windows will not run, I cannot access the Windows Activation Wizard that Allan suggested. The cable modem works with my other Dell computer (which I'm using for this right now), but I have no way to tell if it is actually sending a signal from the restored computer. I suspect my problem may be that it is not accessing the internet, but I don't know how to tell that from the BIOS shell.

Nightowl

#5 Allan

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 12:53 PM

If I understand correctly you moved the hd to a new system. Hamluis is correct that there is no way that would work. However, it sounds like you then did a repair install --- that theoretically should allow you to get into Windows. However, here's the problem. There is a file named wpa.dbl that is created when you first install Windows. This file contains info on all hardware in your system and is used for activation.That file was on the hd and when you moved to the new system it sees that the hw is different. and is blocking re-activation. You should now call Microsoft and explain the situation.

When all is said and done however, you would be much better off just doing a clean install.

Edited by Allan, 12 February 2011 - 12:54 PM.


#6 NightowtOwl

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 01:21 PM

lol... I called Microsoft. After ten minutes, some guy said he was going to switch me to the activation center (which will do me no good because I can't INPUT anything after saying I want to activate it), and then I got cut off.

Guess I'll try them again.

Nightowl

#7 hamluis

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 01:46 PM

With all due respect...that license was for a totally different system. It does not allow moving that hard drive/XP install to another system. I believe that you will find this stated in the terms of sale of that original system.

But, as I said...that's Microsoft business. I was only informing you because you seemed to not understand the difference between purchasing a retail copy of XP and installing it...versus buying an OEM system with XP installed.

Louis

#8 NightowtOwl

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:10 PM

With all due respect...that license was for a totally different system. It does not allow moving that hard drive/XP install to another system. I believe that you will find this stated in the terms of sale of that original system.

But, as I said...that's Microsoft business. I was only informing you because you seemed to not understand the difference between purchasing a retail copy of XP and installing it...versus buying an OEM system with XP installed.

Louis

For what it's worth, Louis, you're right, there. I apparently do not understand what defines the "system" it is licensed to. The XP Pro I am trying to use came installed on this hard drive. I do not understand why the chip running the hard drive makes a difference. Basically, you're saying that my only real option would be to replace the motherboard in the original computer, otherwise all my programs and data are worthless. That truly does not make sense to me, but I suppose I could live with it. If I had decided to upgrade by purchasing a motherboard for the XPS with a faster processor (which was an option I looked at, and decided against after seeing many computer forums where people bashed the original XPS motherboard for being troublewsome and failing frequently), what would be the difference?

I really wasn't trying to be pigheaded about this. I simply got annoyed with the people telling me "you can't do that!" When obviously, I can and it does work, but I am simply missing the files that would be on the installation disks 2 and 3 (and however many more there are).

For what it's worth, I would be entirely willing to purchase another copy of XP Pro, but I do not have any clue how to install it without wiping the files I have on the hard drive. I am also unclear, in viewing purchase options, what constitutes a "full copy" of XP Pro versus an OEM reinstallation. I can figure out that just an SP3 upgrade disk will not do the trick. I need a full installation, but I don't understand from purchase options I have seen what that would "look like." (I.e., a single disk versus the multiple disks the re-install function keeps asking me for.)

It doesn't help that I can no longer purchase a non-OEM copy of XP Pro directly from microsoft, but because of work, I cannot upgrade yet to Windows 7 Pro, as my work platform will not support it. (And I have the same problem, there; no idea how to install it on c:\ without wiping the files or having "two operating systems" running, which I know is not good.)

Nightowl

Edited by NightowtOwl, 15 February 2011 - 11:13 PM.


#9 scoped

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:01 AM

could you install a copy of linux / ubuntu and dual boot.
then boot ubuntu, and transfer your files from the xp partition to an external hdd or write dvd with the info. Then when you've got all your files, buy a new copy of windows and format the drive and install that?

#10 NightowtOwl

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 05:18 PM

could you install a copy of linux / ubuntu and dual boot.
then boot ubuntu, and transfer your files from the xp partition to an external hdd or write dvd with the info. Then when you've got all your files, buy a new copy of windows and format the drive and install that?


I honestly don't know, Scoped. I'm not sure of the prompts to get to the c:\ drive from the boot, and I'm not sure how to write to a CD/DVD from there. If I can learn that, then any method for installing a new OS that overwrites the previous OS would work, I think. (In theory, that should be fine.) I have never used LINUX/UBUNTU. THEORETICALLY, if I can just move the files I want to save to a different partition than the OS installation, they shouldn't be overwritten? Right?

What I know for sure is that I have a lot of information I want to save that is tied up on a 160GB hard drive that is still good that I can't seem to get to. I have all the components I need for a well-functioning system. It is annoying that apparently the OS installed on that hard drive can't be used because I moved the hard drive. And it is not a matter of it being physically impossible to do. (Which is what I was hearing when people said "You can't do that!") The hard drive works. The memory works. The CPU works. Of course I can. Are there licensing issues I was perhaps unaware of? Maybe so. But all that data is not lost. It's just trapped. And I still don't get that because the motherboard was fried, that my OS and hard drive then becomes "unusable." As I've said before, if I had bought this motherboard and just put it in the other tower case with the bad motherboard, what would be the "entirely different system" issue? I guess that's just not "logical" to me.

Nightowl

#11 hamluis

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 06:24 PM

<<As I've said before, if I had bought this motherboard and just put it in the other tower case with the bad motherboard, what would be the "entirely different system" issue? I guess that's just not "logical" to me.>>

Well...those are the rules that Microsoft has set...for several years now.

http://michaelstevenstech.com/oemeula.htm

http://www.pchelpforum.com/lounge/17187-new-motherboard-new-microsoft-windows-license.html

Louis

#12 Eyesee

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 06:29 PM

You could take the drive out and attach it to another system.
That way you can at least get your data off.

IS the drive SATA or IDE
In the beginning there was the command line.

#13 NightowtOwl

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 08:41 PM

As I said in the first post, Eyesee, it's a SATA 160GB.

Thanks for the link, Louis. I guess anything I know about intellectual property rights and copyrights goes out the window when it comes to software. My basic understanding originally was that I couldn't install a single copy of Windows on more than one machine that was in use at the same time. Their user agreement is like my buying a music CD or a movie on DVD, and then saying I can only play it in the original device I played it on, and any subsequent device I wanted to play it on, I'd have to buy another CD.

Guess I will have to go with a new install of OS software, then. (Though I still think it sucks.) Guess I'll be back around if I can't figure out how to save my files when I get to that point.

Night

#14 Allan

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 08:26 AM

You are correct that SOME individual software licenses do indeed allow multiple installations as long as no two are active simultaneously - just not from Microsoft. In simplest possible terms, the OS eula permits one installation on any one system at a time (unless it is an OEM version, you CAN install it on a second system if you first uninstall it from the original system). OEM copies are, of course, tied the system with which they are shipped.

#15 NightowtOwl

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 10:33 AM

You are correct that SOME individual software licenses do indeed allow multiple installations as long as no two are active simultaneously - just not from Microsoft. In simplest possible terms, the OS eula permits one installation on any one system at a time (unless it is an OEM version, you CAN install it on a second system if you first uninstall it from the original system). OEM copies are, of course, tied the system with which they are shipped.


Clear as mud, Allan. Of course it's "uninstalled" on the first system. Physically uninstalled! I pulled the hard drive! :thumbsup: lol

I'll eventually figure something out.

Nightowl




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