|What happened is that my Vista machine began booting up to a black screen, albeit one with the mouse pointer, which did work. But other than that, just black. |
Cntrl/Alt/Delete did nothing, and while I could access safe mode through the F8 key, it, and all the other options on that screen only brought me to that same black screen.
I had backed everything of any importance, and since I was never in love with Vista anyway (it was already installed on the PC when I bought it, new, a few years ago), and I never had any Vista OS disks, I simply got out an old Windows XP CD from an old Gateway that had long since bit the dust, and installed XP onto the Vista machine.
I had to labor mightily to get all the drivers, since the device manager was a mass of yellow question marks, but eventually I got them, and updated Internet Explorer to IE8, and installed Flash, etc, etc.
Never heard peep one about any product code when I installed XP. But the next day when I boot up, I see a message about 30 days left to activate Windows. I clicked on the icon in the notification area, and I get the message that Windows has already been activated. I give a mental shrug, and ignore it.
Next day, same thing. Same result. Next day, yesterday, when I click on the icon I get taken to an activation screen.
With apparently extreme naiveté, I enter the product code on the MS sticker on my PC. Nada. I do it again. Nothing.
I hit the button to activate by phone, call the number and read off the 9, 6 digit group of numbers that displayed on the screen to an actual human. She says to hold on a minute. I looked at my watch. 12 minutes and 35 seconds later I hung up without ever hearing her voice again.
Further phone calls to MS have informed me that my Vista code won't work to activate XP. And they can offer me no other assistance other than to suggest I go to ebay and buy yet another copy of XP so I can enter THAT product code from the box.
I explain to them that I've already purchased a de facto copy of Vista that came with the machine, and I hardly see why I should have to shell out anything more. I've also already paid them money fro my old XP Gateway. It's not like I'm trying to go from Windows 98 to Vista - I'm simply trying to 'downgrade' (if you will) Vista (which had stopped working anyway) to XP.
The old Gateway XP CD does work, since I had a friend who had XP, and his PC would not boot without the blue screen of death. I re-installed XP on his PC, entered the product code from the sticker on the back of his Compaq, and he was good to go....
Can anybody suggest ANYTHING before the rest of my 30 days are up?