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Windows XP Activation Nightmare!

Revised on

Originally posted on October 8th, 2002

The Perfect Plan...

Did you know that Microsoft is having a problem with activating new copies of Windows XP? Well, they are.

The other day while installing a copy of for a friend (XP Home OEM) and after doing the MS Updates and upgrades and loading all my goodies like Popup Stopper, Passmark's Benchmark software and the like, I was going to Ghost the PC and burn some restore images... I clicked on the Activate button that was bugging me for the last 5 hours and punched in the Product Key from the packaging and then whammo.. nothing... it reported that I had an Invalid Product Key!

There was a button on the lower part of the Activation Window to activate XP over the phone so I clicked on that. Another window popped up and I had to indicate what country I was in... you know the rest...

So I called MS [888.571.2048 always punch "0" to bypass the stupid recording] and reported this. After a few minutes of conversation, the technician admitted to me that Microsoft is having a problem with the production of the Product Keys. What kind of problem you may ask? Well, it seems that brains at MS (the ones that thought up the logarithm for the Product Keys) were putting the wrong product keys all over the place. The Product Key for Office XP and the Product Key for Windows XP are generated by the same logarithm but the two keys won't work on the others software. One side note here, let me go on record to say that I hate the fact that MS can pour money into making a sticker why can't they put a sticker on the CD!?! The CD is serialized, so if you lose the key for that CD you can't use it. In the case of several of my clients who have 10 or more PCs in their office, if you didn't get a sharpie and mark which one goes to which CD, you could be in for a long afternoon of reloading software before you find which Product Key goes with which CD.


Your copy of XP Office or Windows XP Home or Pro may have a Product Key that won't work.

What do you do about that? Well, if you're a legitimate user, no problemo... You just call another number (800) 936-5700 and press "0" to talk to a tech. This tech will give you a new Product Key right over the phone. They did with me.

The previous product activation person stayed on the line with me (Amanda) to help with this interesting problem.

Interesting enough, I was passed back and forth between the two people, the Product Activation guys and this Key Giver person. About an hour later, I was running.

I Ghosted the system and my buddy is a happy computer user now, but man alive, what a pain that was.

No, there's nothing you can do about this. Maybe MS will fix their distribution and the logarithm that produces the Key Codes or maybe they wont, but at least the gods at Microsoft are at the ready making sure you're no thief! Ahhh... no I can sleep at nights.

Ga' night.




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