What product key should I have used?

boweasel

Member
My cousin was having a lot of problems with his Vista 64 bit Home Premium tower shutting off. I think it was made by HP, and it was one of those small units - less than half the size of a normal tower.

His power supply had gone bad, and since this particular PS was not a normal configuration (it was only about 2 inches wide and ran the length of the tower), and since buying a replacement supply would have cost more than the PC was worth, I decided to put his perfectly fine HDD into another 64 bit Vista Home Premium tower I had from the old days.

After I installed his drive and booted, the system wanted a product key. I used the key on the sticker of the 'new' tower. It didn't like it and prompted me to call the MS phone number which took me through the automated process of entering this 45 character key, followed by me reading back another long set of letters and numbers.

After that, the activation was complete and there was no longer a 30 day countdown, so I gave it back to my cousin. Now, about a month later (strangely enough?), he gets this message that his copy of Windows is not genuine. It displays no number of days to activate - it just displays this message in the lower left corner of the screen when he boots. According to him, it's been doing this for over a week, and it seems to not affect his use of the computer.

He says he never got any warnings that something was amiss, never got a day countdown - it just appeared.

Is this something to be ignored? He's been ignoring it so far without any ill effects. Should I have used the key from his original tower instead of the one on the replacement chassis? And shouldn't the phone call I made to MS with all the character typing and reading, followed by the 'Congratulations. Your product has been successfully activated' message have taken care of any validation already?
 

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ilikefree

Vista Guru
Gold Member
Try
go to CMD and type

SLMGR -REARM

If you continue to have problems private message me
 

My Computer

System One

  • Name
    Roger
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo Thinkpad T400
    CPU
    Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo P8700 @ 2.53GHz
    Motherboard
    LENOVO 64734VM
    Memory
    2.00GB Single-Channel DDR3 @ 531MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Mobile Intel 4 Series Express Chipset Family
    Sound Card
    Conexant 20561 SmartAudio HD
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15 inch
    Screen Resolution
    1280 x 800
    Hard Drives
    1x 180GB Intel 530 series SSD
    1 x 120GB Hitachi 5400rmp
    1 x 650GB Western Digital Elements 5400rpm
    1x 1Tb Western Digital Elements 5400rpm
    Internet Speed
    Medium for New Zealand
    Occupation
    Tech
    Other Info
    Weakest part of my computer is the graphics chipset.
    Only ever used a laptop.
    Also use USB Freeview TV Card
    Lenovo Docking Station
    External Speakers
    Other bits a pieces as needed
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boweasel

Member
Try
go to CMD and type

SLMGR -REARM

If you continue to have problems private message me
I don't actually have the PC here anymore - my cousin's had it for the last month - so I'll have to email him the info, and then talk him through the process (he's not the most computer savvy person...)
 

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ilikefree

Vista Guru
Gold Member
You may have to do it in safe mode with command prompt
 

My Computer

System One

  • Name
    Roger
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo Thinkpad T400
    CPU
    Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo P8700 @ 2.53GHz
    Motherboard
    LENOVO 64734VM
    Memory
    2.00GB Single-Channel DDR3 @ 531MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Mobile Intel 4 Series Express Chipset Family
    Sound Card
    Conexant 20561 SmartAudio HD
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15 inch
    Screen Resolution
    1280 x 800
    Hard Drives
    1x 180GB Intel 530 series SSD
    1 x 120GB Hitachi 5400rmp
    1 x 650GB Western Digital Elements 5400rpm
    1x 1Tb Western Digital Elements 5400rpm
    Internet Speed
    Medium for New Zealand
    Occupation
    Tech
    Other Info
    Weakest part of my computer is the graphics chipset.
    Only ever used a laptop.
    Also use USB Freeview TV Card
    Lenovo Docking Station
    External Speakers
    Other bits a pieces as needed
    Country Flag
    newzealand

virtual6

Vista Pro
SLMGR -REARM

This is only a temporary fix, it extends your activation grace period by 30 days.
You can do this a total of three times.
Then what?

What you have done...move an existing OEM Windows installation to another computer...is specifically not allowed by Microsoft. You may have been asked to reactivate because the system found itself on a different computer...different hardware, motherboard, etc. I don't really know why it let you continue.

Anyway, you may have to call MS for activation,
They will probably allow the "new" computer product key to be validated, even though it's against their written policy.
Their main concern is to have that one copy of Windows running on just one computer.
 
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boweasel

Member
What you have done...move an existing OEM Windows installation to another computer...is specifically not allowed by Microsoft. You may have been asked to reactivate because the system found itself on a different computer...different hardware, motherboard, etc. I don't really know why it let you continue.

Anyway, you may have to call MS for activation,
They will probably allow the "new" computer product key to be validated, even though it's against their written policy.
Their main concern is to have that one copy of Windows running on just one computer.
Well, that is exactly what Microsoft got - one copy of Windows running on just one computer. The tower with the bad power supply is just trash. The perfectly good hard drive from it was just moved to another chassis. The original HDD from that replacement chassis died a long time ago and was sledge hammered and recycled.

What exactly do you think I should have done to comply with Microsoft's kneecap breaking thuggery? Reformatted my cousin's drive before installing a fresh copy of Vista? Would even that have caused problems? Or do they just want people to throw up their hands, open their wallets for a Windows 10 machine and relegate both Vista towers to a landfill somewhere?
 
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virtual6

Vista Pro
Well, that is exactly what Microsoft got - one copy of Windows running on just one computer.

Of course...but how would their validation software know that?
That's why I think you'd have to explain your situation.

To comply with MS policy, you had a couple options:
Restore the factory image on the new tower from your restore disc, which I'm sure you have at hand, then update the system as needed with personal data files and programs from the old HDD. I'm not sure if activation would be automatic; at worst you'd have to use the product key from the COA sticker.
-or-
Purchase a retail copy of Vista, install, update the system as needed, and activate with the retail key.

When you bought a computer with an OEM version of Windows, you were buying a manufacturer's version at a discounted price. Most people seem to think they now own a copy of Windows with which they can do as they please.

If you still feel MS "owes" you a copy of Windows, another alternative which usually works is to download the Vista ISO file from a friendly forum member, install, update system as needed, and activate with the product key from the COA sticker. Also note that this alternative does not comply with the MS policy since the install media/file and COA are not an original pair.
If you tried this now, though, I'm not sure if it would activate cleanly, since you've already used the key...
 

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boweasel

Member
Of course...but how would their validation software know that?
Without really knowing the specifics of how their software works, I can only assume that if it's sophisticated enough to recognize a reinstall on the original computer using the COA sticker, and to be able to differentiate that situation from an install using the product key from another Vista computer....

Then their software should be able to tell the installer 'Hey, this key was already used on another Vista computer. Would you like to deactivate that other PC?', etc, etc...
When you bought a computer with an OEM version of Windows, you were buying a manufacturer's version at a discounted price. Most people seem to think they now own a copy of Windows with which they can do as they please.
Yes, that is exactly how people think and, outside of a rental agreement (which is where I assume MS wants to push us), that is pretty much how it works in the world of commerce. Just because Microsoft has foisted this 'you bought it but you don't really own it' system on us yokels doesn't make it right.
 

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