3 days left for activation

By TimeParadoX ยท 32 replies
Sep 16, 2008
  1. Today I got a message on my computer saying:


    This apparently is a problem more than just I have, I googled "3 days left for activation" and got almost 300,000 different results. I've tried a solution I found on a website:

    I restarted my computer but it still has the message.

    Does anyone know a way to fix this without being on hold with Microsoft for 4 hours?


    I have an OEM version of Windows XP professional.
  2. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    I take it you can't get it to activate online? I'm sure there are ways around it, but they are probably "gray area" if you get what I mean. Seriously though, call M$, it should take less than 10 minutes, and you may not even talk to a person (that you can't understand;)). One time my windows spontaneously deactivated when I updated to the latest nvidia drivers...it ticked me off.

    (As a side note, for grins, I said each group of numbers in the installation id as fast as I could, and it still recognized what I said. Impressive for M$. Maybe I just have good enunciation, lol.)
  3. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,273

    I remember I had to convince M$ that I had a real CD and not a bootleged version, they made me install this "remote assistance" tool, and while I was on the phone with him he said, "I think you're going to have to disable your antivirus program and firewall so I can help you even further." ... Funny Microsoft... I also updated my motherboard drivers today and it appeared, so maybe it's the same problem you had. I'll probably just call them if they really do take that short of a time to resend me a AC. :)
  4. rf6647

    rf6647 TS Maniac Posts: 829

    Very interesting. OEM XP activation - for this to trigger, it sounds like a huge change has been detected for the mobo (bios locked).

    Here is reading from an old post: Windows Product Activation

    OEM XP versions using bios lock, do not use activation files (wpa.dbl). At this time, I cannot cite the confirming source for this. Unlimited hardware changes are permitted as long as the bios lock remains unbroken.

    OEM XP versions "licensed" for a hardware platform, go through the phone call route for activation. It appears that hardware changes are subject to the 120-day sliding window.
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,553

    I can't find it at the moment but "ask.com" had a lot of material on XP activation when it was first released. They said;
    XP keeps a "point score" on hardware changes over time.
    alAn high point emphasis was placed the LAN card, which obviously changes when the motherboard is changed. Those two things will trigger a "3 day warning".
    Interestingly enough, I changed a motherboard (from Intel G965 to Foxconn P945) with an OEM copy of XP Media Center installed and M$ reactivated without argument, via automated phone call. Various other thing prevented me from reactivating via the internet, but I'm guessing that they would have given that the green light as well.

    Some Emachines don't require reactivation after using the restore discs, even when you do full "destructive" wipe. A full restore actually rebuilds the "restore partition" (D:/), as weIl as installing a working copy of Windows on C:/ I can serve as a confirming source for this, since I just did it recently. The "BIOS lock" as you're calling it, won't let you install a standard copy of Windows into one of these boards, it presents itself as a request for an administrative password for you try to do so. So here, you wouldn't be able to change the board. I know, here I'm stating the obvious, but only for continuity's sake.

    There is a wealth of information on XP activation here; http://graphicssoft.about.com/sites... XP activation&SUName=graphicssoft&TopNode=99 though some of it is as old as XP itself.
  6. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,273

    The strange thing is, is that I only updated my nVidia motherboard drivers since a new version came out on the 12th ( installed on the 16th, and now on the 17th I have 2 days remaining ) so that's probably what was thought as a "change". It's kind of irritating though as I called them about a month ago and I had to spend about 3 hours on the phone with them to get a reactivated version for my OEM because I reformatted after a BSOD because of a missing Win32 file ( hal.dll ).
  7. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,273

    Okay, I just called Microshit and the lady hung up on me. This is why I hate Microsoft.
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,553


    Were you behaving yourself young man?
  9. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,273

    I just called her after dealing with the stupid automated "helper", I told the lady that my computer gave the 3 days activation error after installing the motherboard drivers ( I doubt she even knew what that is considering how she was talking to me ), after about 12 minutes of her being stupid and confused about what a motherboard was she hung up on me.
  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Every so often I install Windows Xp on a PC and the 30 days (non actvation period) elapses.
    This is very annoying, especially when:
    1. Data is present
    2. It will not activate over web, because of network errors

    After searching a bit on this topic (30 days trial) I found a Very useful Windows command, that MS do not tell us.

    Reseting the Activation Trial:
    In this example: Your activation period has expired, (past 30 days) and you need to get to Normal mode again.

    1. Turn On your PC

    2. Press F8 repeatedly and go to Safe Mode

    3. Log in as per normal
    (note: Administrator password is usually blank, or use the Password Recovery CD if the password is unknown)

    4. Allow the Desktop to fully load (answering "Yes" to continue into Safe Mode)
    (note: This is just a long way of saying go to Safe Mode)

    5. Click on Start - Run

    6. Type in exactly: rundll32.exe syssetup,SetupOobeBnk (and click OK)
    (note: one space, after "rundll32.exe " also the Oo are two letter o's in "oobe"; capitals and comma are important)

    7. Wait a couple of seconds (although you will Not see any change)

    8. Restart your PC normally (Start - Shutdown - Restart - Ok)

    9. You are now able to go to Normal Mode again (For another 30 days !!!)

    10. Do whatever you like, you're back to Normal.

    That is some kind of offical way to reset the Activation Trial.
    Take Care it will work only work for about 4 times. (120 days in total !!!!!!)
    Do not use on an already activated PC (as it may reset it )

    This command line (Activation Reset) has been fully tested, and 100% working.
  11. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,273

    Thanks Kim, I'll try that out.

    I just need a few more days ( like a week or so ) to get another Windows CD, Since I can't buy a volume lisence I'll just have to buy another OEM and deal with this **** in a few months when Microsoft says "You have an error, please reactivate Windows and pay an extra $50 for a new activation key."
  12. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    I've used it many times on many different computers, it has always worked

    I posted this same info on another tech board I was associated with some years ago and the Mods removed it (so maybe copy everything right now!!!)

    Their argument was that it was cracking the time delay
    I stated that it was official command line from Microsoft (although not posted on their site) and was totally legal
    They did not see reason and kept it removed
    I remember this conversation, because I officially disputed that it should not be public knowledge (ie it should be!)

    Anyway, we shall see :)
  13. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,273

    I think I saw a person at Microsoft do that through remote assistance on my friend's computer, he kept getting Activation errors and the guy just copied and pasted it real fast so you couldn't see what it was. :D
  14. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Actually I'd say the MS remote assistance support did do this, too.

    Because the reason why it is allowed (or possibly a better word-> possible)
    Is because many users complained to MS when they first used Xp that all their data was inaccessible (seeming MS were allowing Xp on trial basis at first)

    So to help the end user MS established a temporary fix, then posted it (I believe they then removed it now, because Xp has been around so long, users should now be aware of the 30days (being actually 150days in reality!!)
  15. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,273

    Yeah, I really just want to activate my Windows. It's kind of stupid that you have to reactivate just because you updated the drivers for your motherboard. :(

    If this continues I'll just move to Linux, I only play a handful of games like Counterstrike and sometimes old games like Fallout and Jagged Alliance, and I heard all those work well in Wine. Then probably dual boot Windows XP for when I want to play newer games. Maybe even run it in a VM so if it messes up again I don't have to worry. :D
  16. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Well you'd be better with Vista anyway with the DirectX capabilities
    And then you wouldn't have to worry about Xp with activation at all (actually just sell the computer with the key)

    Linux and wine, hmm Well I tried it all, I just don't believe it's a good gaming OS
    But this may start a huge debate (that has been going on for years)
    I still believe Linux is just not quite there, possibly one more year (at the most) I'd say.
  17. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,273

    True, I was planning on getting Vista since more DX10 games are coming out and I really want to try STALKER: Clear Sky on DX10 mode. Vista Ultimate is very expensive though, like $200 last time I checked on Newegg.
  18. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    You've done it now
    When I go to Google and type: "3 days left for activation"
    Techspot is number 3 on (my) list

    And this activation issue has been around for years
    Oh dear, watch the thread read count go up!

    Best to keep to topic I feel

    Solved ! :)
  19. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,273

    Yeah, I looked at that earlier, lets just hope no one registers just to bring this topic back a few years later.
  20. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    FYI at step 3 your guide fails, unless I'm misunderstanding what you're saying. I have a system with an exipired "trial" of XP MCE 2005 SP3, and I tried to reset the timer as you said, but when I go to safe mode and click on either my user name or administrator I get this.

    So if the system can't log in, how can any other steps be done?
  21. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Pretty sure if you press OK on that Safe Mode message, it will then normally go into Safe Mode Windows

    Note: Non activated (and expired Activation period) should still allow SafeMode operation

    Maybe there's a time delay (that I'm not aware of) for that too
  22. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    Nope, clicking "ok" brings up the login menu again. Clicking on Administrator again, or clicking on other users has the same result. Safe mode is effectively locked out.
  23. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Hmm. Maybe it doesn't work for that revision
    Maybe only the earlier Xp Home/Pro released back in 2001 (or when-ever it was)


    For that reason, I wonder how TimeParadoX got on? (and what version he is using?)
  24. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    Could be something to do with being mce 2005. I think I know of an xp home system that's "expired" that I could try.
  25. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    You know I've tested it stacks of times
    But please do test on another system, I'm thinking it was the MCE 2005 version too
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