Win XP Pro OEM Activation issue

By Photo601 ยท 35 replies
Oct 22, 2008
  1. Greetings all. I looked on the net some and read someof the posts here in TS. I didn't see a post that quite fits my description.
    I have ae XP Pro OEM version, purchased from NEwEgg a couple weeks ago. I had it installed on my AMD box. I downloaded a few updates, including SP3. I did not activate windows at this point over the internet, or by phone. When SP3 installed it reset my activation time back to 30 days. (It was at 23 days) The system one morning would not boot. I reinstalled thinkg there would not be a problem After installing, I was promted to activate XP before I could log on. Since I can't log on to load my drivers, I have no internet access and would need to contact MS.

    I don't understand why the system won't let me log in as XP was not activated. Did SP3 somehow mess me up as fas as the activation is concerned?
    If I reformat the drive will there still be the issue?
    Does SP3 somehow tell the system (MBR) or put a file on the HDD that tells the disk it was previously installed, even though it was never activated?
    The system: AMD 2gh 939 core. 320 GB HD 1 gb RAM, ATI Radeon x1600 Pro. On board ethernet and audio.

  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

  3. Photo601

    Photo601 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    So, then did XP activate when the updates installed? If so, it must write to the MBR, correct?
    Lastly, is there a site you can direct me towards to read up on this.


  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    It doesn't write to the MBR (that's way to low)
    It writes to registry
    And creates a system file (or two)
    That is all

    You didn't say if you are back to Normal mode now either?? (I'm left in the dark :darth: )
  5. Photo601

    Photo601 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    kimsland, I haven't been back home since you posted...Hence no status update.

    I like to know the why of things, when possible. I installed XP OEM over an old copy of XP home. The build was corrupted and I didn't care for the home ver. The initial install was flawless, including no prompt to activate prior to logging on.This time, the install was fine until just prior to logging in when I was prompted to contact MS or activate over the net prior to logging on. Obviously no drivers = no internet. I reformatted the drive during the reinstall. What I don't understand is why I am prompted for the activation when a: I wasn't prompted the first time around, and b: It was never activated, by me, during the updates.
    I swear, the more I learn about computers, the less I feel I know.

    I will keep you 'posted'

  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Because you asked twice now
    There are a number of reasons why MS activation could have been reset

    Repair of Windows
    Change of Hardware
    Major update to Windows (ie Service Pack, although not normally)
    Virus\Spyware removing certain system files
    A program has been run to reset the msoobe
    You never activated before!
    Change of Product key
    Change of Operating System

    So it's hard to tell. But usually re-activation is very quick online
  7. jnjgoss

    jnjgoss TS Rookie

    Reformat drive and rerun system

    Sometimes this happens don't really know why.
    But you should be fine if you reformat your drive and reinstall your
    operating system. And if you don't want to activate it turn it off.
    You can search for instructions online and find out how to do this.
    You can also save your activation info after you activate and reinstall it next time you redo your system.
  8. Photo601

    Photo601 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    Okay kimsland, I reformatted and reinstalled XP Pro. I installed the drivers in safe mode. I rebooted and tried to activate over the internet. No joy. I had to call MS. I talked to "Mike" with a noticably thick middle eastern accent who told me the activation key. The prompt told me XP was activated. Then that was followed by Windows XP must be activated prior to logging in. Back to square one. I told 'Mike" it didn't activate. .
    This is not a new issue. It is the XP Activation loop. I tried going in and changing the "WPAEvents" in the registry. I reboot and I am prompted to activate XP before logging in. I click on activate, and I am promted it is already activated.
    I checked the registry (wpaevents) before rebooting. It was as I had changed it. I reboot and it is back.
  9. rapzkilla

    rapzkilla TS Rookie Posts: 53

    Damn thats some problem. mmmmm Try reformating your HDD with a third party software like "wipe DRive" Located at , then re-install windows xp. Wipe drive removes everything and i believe also resets settings aswell such *** MBR
  10. jnjgoss

    jnjgoss TS Rookie

    Don't install in safe mode

    Just do a regular reformat and a regular install of all drivers.
    Hopefully you have a driver CD to use. If not use another computer to download them and save to another drive to use to install from normally.
    If you change your date and time settings after an install this messes up the activation and causes it to cheat you out of your 30 days.
    I know sometimes activation with regular software can be a night mare.
    Personally I don't use it or I turn it off. Or activivate from my saved activation file I saved beforehand.
    Best of luck to you.
  11. Photo601

    Photo601 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    jnjgoss, the problem is I can't log on to install the drivers. I installed the drivers in safe mode in an attempt to activate over the net. No joy. I called MS and activated over the phone. The screen showed activated. Then I was once again prompted to activate prior to logging on. I click to activate and it says XP is activated...
  12. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    I'll try to clear this up a bit for you guys

    1. You cannot save that data file on a format and re-install, it doesn't work! (ever)
    It only works when you repair Windows, and even then sometimes it doesn't work!

    2. I gave you the Safe Mode run command, this will allow you to get into Normal mode. Really this is ideal, but oh well!

    3. Whenever you decide to format Windows --->>> Don't
    Always remove the Partition ONLY (this can be done using Windows setup from booting from the CD)
    Do Not install the Partition manually; Do Not Format manually
    Windows setup will automatically setup the correct Partition and format to NTFS on a non-partitioned HardDrive

    4. Do Step 3.

    5. It is highly likely that visiting the Windows activation page, manually in normal mode (ie step 2) Which will likely reset and install your product key

    You are advised to remove the Partition
  13. Photo601

    Photo601 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    kimsland, I appreciate the information.

    I will use Gparted to remove the partition prior to reinstalling and let windows do the formatting. I do not know how to set up the XP partition manually, so that's not an issue.

    When I do reinstall, after deleting the partition, etc. I will likely, again, be prompted to activate before I log in. do you still recommend safe mode to install the drivers and attempt to activate over the internet, or just use the phone option and call MS.
  14. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523


    Install the Driers in Normal mode.
    You will have 30 days to track them down, put them on CD (or where-ever) and install them
    Actually you just need the network driver (if Windows doesn't automatically find it)
    And then use the same computer to actually go online and get the drivers

    By the way what is this computer a HP a Dell something else? (Make and Model number required)
  15. Photo601

    Photo601 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53


    It is an AMD 939 chip and n MSI K8T Neo2 mainboard. 1gb ram, ATI 1600 Pro512 AGP. 200GB HDD SATA I

    It was a stop gap system until I built my gaming system.
    A long time ago (2-3 years) I had an old copy of XP Pro from MS. A valid, but now expired, copy of XP pro that was originally on the box. (Purchased separately) I had replaced it with the version I bought from NE. The same one that originally installed flawlessly, then choked on me last night with the XP Activation loop. I just think I have a handle on what I think I need to know, then another lesson in computers happens.

    If the system will let me get past the log in/activation screen, I'm good. With the activation loop, it wouldn't let me past the activation screen.
  16. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Well they don't expire

    But OEM Product keys must stay with the computer it was intended for

    Anyway, just do the above
  17. Photo601

    Photo601 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    Well, I reinstalled. Not only did I get prompted to activate windows prior to logging on, but it didn't give me a product ID to give to MS. I called their tech support and I am waiting for their call.

    I didn't load any drivers. I am trying to keep it simple.

    I wiped the drive prior to reformatting and reinstalling using the XP install disc. Is it possible information is still being stored on the HDD, despite getting wiped and overwritten?
  18. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Not Format ! (or wipe)

    Remove Partition

    If you remove the Partition this situation cannot happen
  19. Photo601

    Photo601 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53


    I was on the phone with MS for over an hour while the tech did the trouble shooting. I will post his summary email later. The bottom line is the files did not copy well from the XP disk to the HD. I don't know if this is an anomally, or if the new DVD burner is not reading correctly. Last night I could not even generate the code MS uses to validate over the phone. They finally issued me a new product key. Once that was done, the id numbers appeared and windows was happy.
    I thought about installing the image on a different computer and seeing if the id numbers appear for phone validation, I am not planning on running the image on two different systems, no. I was thinking of this process to test the read cpability of the DVD burner.

    Once I post his summary email, that might give someone a little better idea of the overall problem.
  20. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

  21. Photo601

    Photo601 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    Ran memtest no errors.

    Any other thoughts?
  22. Photo601

    Photo601 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    Sorry, double post...
  23. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    I couldn't believe that you finished Memtest so soon, so I didn't reply
    Usually Memtest must be run for 4 Hours (and there was only 1 and a half hours between posts back there)

    You need to do the above
    Also check with another DVD Drive
    Or another Windows CD

    There is a chance your CPU is worn (no test there, just replace)

    That's about all
  24. Photo601

    Photo601 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53


    This was my first time runing memtest. I ran it until it read no errors across the bottom of the screen. I can re run and see what I get. This is the email from MS Tech Support:
    ACTION :You tried to log on to the windows
    RESULT :But you were unable to log on to the windows and it asked to activate the copy of windows
    CAUSE :The reason for this was that you had performed a clean installation for windows xp professional
    RESOLUTION : Since it was giving us invalid installation id, so went into safe mode, reset the oobe timer, renamed the wpa.dbl file, reinstalled the oobe.inf, registered dll files, generated a new product key, got the installation id and successfully with the help of the confirmation id activated the copy of windows. We even restarted the computer and found that everthing was working fine

    If you have any feedback regarding Microsoft support, we would be glad to hear from you

    They also had me renaming the pidgen file and then installing the file form the install disc. Also going into the WPA events and changing the binary value to deactivate XP. There was more, but I don't think substantially so. Between the language and having to enunciate each letter/file or sound it out by each letter. A=Alpha, B=Bravo etc. That took longer than the regestry edits.
    It wasn't until the tech gave me a new product key, that I could generate the Id necessary for MS to validate. I entered the 40 some odd numbers, clicked next and I was golden.

    I will rerun the memtest shortly and post accordingly. The other testing will take a little longer, but I will keep this updated.
  25. Photo601

    Photo601 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 53

    Update #2


    I reran memtest, this time for approx 6 hours, It did 11 passes with no errors found. I did attempt to install XP Pro using the same installation disk that gave me problems. It was on an older Dell 2.4 GHZ system. One I purchased in 2003. The DVD burner is a TDK burner and it is about three yrs old. Obviously, I clicked on the activate by phone. There were no product ID numbers to be found. The SAME error as I had on this box on the last reinstall.
    Have you ever heard of an XP disk going bad? If so, how? It is not scratched or otherwise visibly damaged, and is put back in the sleeve after each use.

    Any additional thoughts or diagnostic software you can think of, let me know.

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