Activate Win XP OEM version after re-partition hdd

By nojudge2000 · 12 replies
Jun 6, 2009
  1. I've searched all over for the answer to this but, unbelievably to me!, I'm not finding the answer.

    Here's the situation:
    1. New HP PC with OEM version of Windows XP. 500 GB HDD.
    2. I have the cd that was included, that has Win XP Svc Pak 2. I also have the HP "Restore Plus" cd that I had to insert when I first booted in order to activate XP.
    3. I also have (using fabulous Macrium Reflect) an entire image of the hard drive (one partition, C ) that I made before I did anything else.

    4. I can't have everything on one big monster partition. So, with backups and image (see above), I re-inserted the XP cd to reload the OS, and used this to re-partition the hdd into 3 partitions (C, Data, Other) and I re-installed XP on the C partition (which is about 50 GB in size; I have found this works well for OS and programs.)

    PROBLEM: I can't activate (or re-activate, actually) XP. I got the screen that tells you to activate by phone and I keyed in the 9 groups of numbers but it would not activate. SO, I called the MS number, talked to someone with a strong Indian accent and had to practically scream into the phone for him to hear me, he takes me through the same process (duh) and of course it doesn't work. I tried to explain my situation but he just gave me MS tech support number and said to call M-F 8 a.m. to 6 pm. or something like that.

    Well, it's Saturday, and I don't want to wait til Monday only to not get an answer. Ideas? Oh, and BTW, I also had the foresight to run the belarc (free) program that gives you all your system info, including the license key. (I knew I'd need to key this in on the re-install.) BUT this is what didn't work, above.

    I am figuring that by re-partitioning the disk, that XP has decided that it is a different PC and thus will not let me activate with my OEM version.

    Can I just complain here a second and say, in this age of large disk drives, why on earth doesn't MS and these vendors get together and figure out a way to let us partition our hdd's and then install an OEM version.

    Also, I did try to restore my original C image to the newly-partitioned C drive (new drive being much smaller, of course) but the Macrium restore software won't put it on...natch, it is looking for the original entire-disk-hdd.

    Is there a way to get XP re-activated on a new partition (of same HDD and same MOBO it was originally installed on)?

    Or should I wait til Monday and see if MS tech will help. Or should I just throw up my hands and load XP again, but re-partition BACK to the original one partition? (and then will I be able to activate XP).

    This is really frustrating because all I'm trying to do is to customize my new PC in a way that makes sense when you have a 500 GB HDD!

    THANKS for the help.
  2. fastco

    fastco TS Booster Posts: 1,123

    What did you say when you called in to the automated MS line? If you choose or say that you put in a new motherboard it will let you activate Windows.
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Yep, Microsoft distrust you... but one thing helpful is to ask to talk to the Canada office due to language difficulties...
    First, I would reboot and reinstall...
    But otherwise, I doubt you will get anywhere without talking to Microsoft Tech Support... They are detecting something odd due to the partition setup you have.
  4. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    I cannot believe that the macrium software will not re-install to a smaller partition. This is a fundamental requirement. Have you tried looking for appropriate options and searched to website FAQ or help?

    failing that, there are a number of imaging packages that will allow a trial period. I think Acronis TrueImage will do this. You could use macrium to restore the whole drive, use an Acronis bootable floppy, Cd or usb drive to image it. Repartition again to a smaller size and restore the Acronis image. Then you will have to re-activate, as you have found. I assume the actual data size to be restored was much smaller then the new partition?

    You don't have to do anything with a human, just call up microsoft and a machine should answer and it'll ask you for the number that comes up in the registration screen (you key it using phone keypad) and it will speak you a new id to activate it, it's all done by machine. It is 42-digits, all numbers. That's what I did anyway successfully, when all I had done was add more memory, yet still got the re-activate problem.
  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    As many others have learned, the activation is not always a smooth two minutes on the phone. Many are rejected... as some of those codes tell Microsoft of changes that must be questioned... and if you have too many, your call is sent up the food chain... Usually, memory changes will not flag the system... but if it happens on a system with a history of troubles, you will find yourself on the phone. Nobody really knows what causes your activation to be boosted to real analysis, but is does happen a great deal more often than you think... and those in Indian, Pakistan, and the Philippines are most frequent.
    You are better off if you make the call in the first place, if you are dealing with a repeat install or significantly upgraded hardware.
  6. nojudge2000

    nojudge2000 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    You're kidding....? I followed the directions from the robot on the automated line, put in all those numbers (9 groups) that were on my screen in the prompt to activate, and got the message "you can't activate this copy of XP". Then I called back and figured out how to get to a real voice and that's the guy that told me to call tech support.

    I thought that to MS, the same PC means it has to have the same MOBO and HDD. ...which I have! thanks.
  7. nojudge2000

    nojudge2000 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the responses (that "you're kidding" one is for fastco! :) Canada...I like that idea. Also, there's a cool guy named Nick at Macrium and gbhall, I think I'll post to him on their forum and see what he says. Looks like the consensus with you guys is, gotta talk to MS again. Their tech support no., which Mr. India (on the automated activation line) gave me, fyi, is 800-936-5700. I'll be back and let you know what happens.
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Any chance that somebody somewhere has your Windows sticker, or number... or had an opportunity to do a Belarc or Everest to get your product ID... little brother? Co-worker? Repair Tech? You would have the same problem if somebody else tried to register or activate...
  9. nojudge2000

    nojudge2000 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    yeah, I did a Belarc (fearing this problem!) and if I remember correctly, I did activate it using that no. before I re-partitioned. (crumbs, why did I activate it the first time). grr.

    Checked with Macrium on "can I restore an image to a partition with less space". And the answer rats.
  10. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Astonishing ! Claim your money back as not fit for purpose and buy Acronis home 2009 £24 in Uk
  11. nojudge2000

    nojudge2000 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, gang, I am steaming mad at these people. I call MS tech support. After the usual language problems, they finally tell me to call the manufacturer of the PC (HP). I go with the live chat option at HP (figuring the accents won't be such an issue that way.). Over an hour later and the guy tells me that "The HP Restore CD won't allow for partitions". Duh!!!! I know that's the problem! So I say, (does this guy get it?) PLEASE GIVE ME A NEW KEY so I can activate on my partitioned HDD.

    Goes away, comes back, gives me a key. IT DOESN"T WORK!. So he says, you can't do it, so here I am back at square 1 and re-installing XP with their darn restore CD, which of course puts it back to one partition. (I do pro bono work for a local not-for-profit and I need to get this pc delivered! the install is running now. then I'll have the gazillion updates to XP to download...aurghghg).

    I tell him, can you tell your Powers that Be that we are all buying 500GB or 1 T hdd's now and need to partition them so change the install s'ware so we can do that!!! ("I will do that,", he says.)

    Gee whiz. I think the experience with this guy makes me just as mad as the outcome. (At one point he asked me, "Did you use the HP Restore CD when you were reinstalling XP?" Yuh! sayeth I. I needed to get the driver for the ethernet controller off it so I could try to activate XP and also to contact you!!!

    Learning point: Cough up the extra $200 and buy the retail version next time. The time I've spent on this has been worth way more than that.

    On the other hand, YOU guys have been great. Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions.

    BTW, you Brits -- I lived for 4 years in your lovely country and would still be there if I didn't have family to take care of here in the U.S. Oxford area. Mr. Brown sure has a lot on his hands these days with all the mess with the MP's, huh. Glad to know that the U.S. doesn't have a corner on being a democracy with corruption in government.

    thanks again.
  12. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    What you have learned is pretty much true for all the Windows restore, rescue, recovery disks for all manufacturers... And is definded pretty clearly in the EULA... Also difficult in the Microsoft OEM versions...
    You are going to have your best luck with the full versions of Windows...
  13. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Have another read of my post#4 - I tell you how to reduce your existing setup via an image.

    However, there is an even easier way, with just a tiny bit more risk. Download gPartEd, build a bootable .ISO, and just DO IT. It can resize any partition non-destructively.
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