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XP Activation Problems

Dell Dell inspiron 530 desktop computer...
March 22, 2010 at 12:01:14
Specs: Windows XP Home SP3, 896 MB RAM
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?

See More: XP Activation Problems

March 22, 2010 at 15:42:53
What product key did yoy use to install XP? I don't know why you would have tried a Vista key...Vista is not XP.

What you need to do is change the product key to another one, then activate.

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March 22, 2010 at 16:58:32
It let me install XP without a product key. I simply inserted the Gateway XP disk into the CD drive of the non-functional Vista machine, and pressed any key to boot from CD. Since it never asked for a key, I assumed that I was still 'covered' by the the original Vista key.

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March 22, 2010 at 21:00:28
If you have the old gateway key, it should work, but that would fall into the dark gray area, and MS would probably frown on it. If installing XP did not destroy it, you might still have a recovery partition for returning to Vista (check with Dell, maybe booting to one of the F keys will activate it). If not and you can get an unused XP key cheap, it might be worth it, but if the cost is near $50.00, then get an upgrade to Windows 7 instead and do a clean install (you do have the old vista key if needed to verify the upgrade).

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Related Solutions

March 23, 2010 at 15:42:08
1st of all, I provided 2 links in my other response that will correct the problem & it won't cost a penny.

2nd, 896MB RAM isn't enough memory to run Win7 decently. I wouldn't run Vista with that amount of RAM either. XP is the best choice. Check the links ;-)

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March 23, 2010 at 17:26:43
I've already tried the Belarc / Google search method, and as of a few days ago, not a single code has worked - I've tried about 20.

I'm unclear about the other method - the only key that I know is vaild at this point is the one for Vista - the one stuck to the side of the processor. And the link you provided is to Microsoft, the one's who are playing hardball with me. How would anything on any of their pages possibly help me?

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March 23, 2010 at 19:48:16
"not a single code has worked"

How did you use it? You already had XP installed, all you had to do was change the key using the method explained on the M$ site, then go online & activate. I can't walk you through it, you have to take the time to read! And if you can't get it to work, do a google search for "make xp 100% genuine"

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March 24, 2010 at 01:33:32
No, I've explained that last post badly...

After I installed XP, and it was working perfectly, and it began asking for a product code to activate itself, I started with the 25 character code for Vista,

Later, when I realized that the Vista code would never be accepted, I began inputting codes I'd found by doing a Google Belarc search for Windows XP Home. All of those were invalid. But I not yet tried the method wherein you modify the registry, bring up the activaion screen, choose activate by phone, choose change product key, and THEN enter one of those codes found on Google.

I will try that in a few days - the PC is at my wife's house.

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