Bizarre Microsoft activation process

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by BassyBill, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I bought a Dell laptop with Vista back in 2008 for musical uses. After about 2 days, I bought and installed XP Pro as I really didn't like Vista. After running this for 5 years with no issues, Microsoft decided my copy of XP was not a genuine one today during a routine Windows update. Nothing I could try with product key updates or whatever could get them to recognise what had been working perfectly for 5 years. "Windows Genuine Advantage", my arse.

    So, I tried a completely clean install of Win7 from an HP upgrade DVD that came with a totally different PC. It installed and activated online with no issues whatsoever.

    I cannot explain how this works. Really odd. Now I have to reinstall all my studio stuff. The upside is I was planning to switch to Win7 anyway and the machine did need a clean up.
  2. Hi.

    That's easy: Microsoft.

    Not really: Microsoft.

    Who You got to thank for that: Microsoft.

    I still wait the day the genius Thorvalds can get his "project" to make Microsoft products obsolete. And Apple software as well for that matter.

  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I've been using Microsoft products for over 20 years with many more good stories to tell than bad ones, so I can't complain too much overall I guess.
  4. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    If the XP activation key was in fact genuine, all you had to do is call MS Support and they will get it reactivated. I've called them a couple times on activation issues and they're actually very helpful and liberal with getting you going again.

    If the XP key is not genuine, not so much.
  5. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Yeah, I thought about that - closed on Sunday, though. My experience with them in the past has been generally positive when I've bought new machines and needed to reactivate my copy of Office.

    Never mind, everthing is up and running on Win7 now so actually it's worked out for me quite well, as it was a sort of "forced upgrade". I've been meaning to sort the thing out with a fresh install for a while.

    The weird thing was why Microsoft suddenly marked the product I purchased as not genuine after it had worked perfectly well for me (and them) for nearly 5 years.
  6. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    When I upgraded from Vista to Win 7, I bought the upgrade version of W7, not the full version. I ran into some crazy issue, can't recall the details, couldn't get the W7 key to take. I think it was I wanted to do a clean install of W7, expected it to ask me for the Vista media and/or key to confirm I was upgrading. Didn't work for some reason, called MS. They walked me through some regedits etc. that activated my W7 key as a full version, not an upgrade. Me was very happy.

    'Course at the time MS was very anxious to have happy W7 customers after the Vista debacle.
  7. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I bought an HP machine in about 2009 running Vista, with an option to upgrade to Win7 on release. The upgrade disc that HP sent, marked as to be used only for a Vista to Win7 upgrade on an HP machine, was the disc I used to do a completely clean install today (after a reformat) on my Dell. It's now activated (using the key that came with the disc from HP) and fully updated with no issues at all.
  8. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    The thing I used to like about Dells in the XP days was you got a full XP install disk with the machine, and you didn't need an activation key as long as it was installed on a Dell. I think their install media "fingerprinted" the BIOS to confirm it was being installed on a Dell. Don't know if they still do that.
  9. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Yes, there's ways of getting the install process to run (unattended) and activate on a machine that has a particular ID, I believe. That's how they churn them out en masse at the factory. I've seen stuff online about editing some files on the ISO image of an installation DVD to be able to do this for particular BIOS versions from whatever manufacturer you like. Too much hassle for me, I'd rather just buy the bloody OS again if I had to. :D

    But I just can't understand how I've been able to install and activate Win 7 on my Dell from an HP OEM upgrade disc. Oh well, better not look the gift horse in the mouth too much.
  10. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Microsoft helped you stop procrastinating and get that upgrade done finally. :)

  11. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Exactly, Mike. I've been dreading it as it can be such a PITA. But now it's like having a new computer. :hyper:
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    A related question: I recently upgraded my MS Office for Mac, and every few weeks I get these notifications for these GIANT "security updates" - usually between 110-200 MB. WTH is that? How can a program need that many "security updates" of that size?
  13. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    That does sound ridiculously excessive if they need to tinker to that degree so frequently. Very strange.

    I got all the priority updates from MS today for Win7 after installing the OS using a disc several years old, and the total size was around 200MB for the lot. The same thing being deemed necessary every couple of weeks sounds crazy.
  14. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    The updates can be very large if they're basically a recompile of the app's core, which is often the case with a Service Pack.
  15. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I have an old E-Machines desktop and a virus-laden Dell laptop. After a short search, I found the E-Machines upgrade DVD. Inspired by the OP, I did the same exact thing he did, and it worked for me too !!
  16. Mr L

    Mr L

    Jul 22, 2012
    Vancouver BC
    At least you didn't make the mistake of trying to call Microsoft support...

    I'm convinced no one there knows how to do anything other than reboot and pass you off to someone who knows even less.
  17. machine gewehr

    machine gewehr

    Sep 17, 2005



    People like to bash Microsoft, I do that too. But I always appreciate what they do.

    I hate Vista with every atom in my body but been using it for years now. Backing up everything and formatting is such a pain that I take my daily dosage of "Error occured. Why you ask? Because **** you, that's why." every day.

    It's kind of a love&hate relationship between people and Microsoft. Sometimes I get computer smashing pissed off, but I can't live without my Windows.:p

    Bill Gates is a hell of a guy too, for helping the less fortunate.
  18. I never install "security updates", only updates that have to do with hardware I'm using, and I've never had a problem from Win 95 to Windows 7; those updates seem to cause more problems than they solve. (my Windows version is genuine, BTW).
  19. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Good stuff. ;)

    You might be on to something there. Back in the day when I was running Win98, I never updated anything and the machine just kept going until the power supply died when it was about 8 years old.

    The PC for my studio never needs to go online anyway - the network card is usually switched off for that reason - why the hell worry abouy security updates? It works fine now with my music stuff all installed today and I think I'll leave it exactly as it is from here on in.

    As an aside, I've been really enjoying tinkering with it today as I had so much stuff that I didn't use on there it was getting ridiculous. I've just put stuff on there today that I really need and it's amazing how much more aesthetically pleasant it is to use a machine that isn't cluttered up with redundant crap. I've gone really minimalist - just the OS, the necessary hardware drivers, Sibelius, Reaper and a small collection of regularly used must-have VSTs/sample libraries.
  20. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois

    It's my understanding (I could be wrong, don't quote me) that Microsoft keeps track of individual instances of activation using the same code. Your license agreement only allows use of one copy on one computer per code and since it's common for people to buy a copy of the OS and then install it on multiple machines and give (sell) it to their friends to install on their machines, Microsoft watches to see if a code is used more than once. If this happens, it disallows activation although you can call support and tell them you're reinstalling the OS on the same machine and they will make it work.