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XP Home - Windows Activation problem after a repair install.

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Old 29-01-2009
Posts: n/a
XP Home - Windows Activation problem after a repair install.

I have a machine that was getting stuck while booting up, and decided that
the best course of action initially was to try a repair install. The machine
is an Advent PC (UK brand) and I did a clean install with an OEM install disk
a couple of years ago after replacing the motherboard.

The new repair install appeared to go the normal way, asking me the right
questions along the way. The problem came at the end of the install when the
machine was rebooted.

There is only one user account on the machine (other than Administrator) and
when it gets to the login screen a Windows Product Activation window appears
"This copy of Windows must be activated with Microsoft before you can login.
Do you want to activate Windows now."

If I hit [Yes] the desktop image appears for a few seconds, but no icons or
taskbar, after which the login screen returns and we are back to square one.

I have Google'd the problem and found a number of likely solutions which I
have tried to noeffect other than the message now reading slightly different.
It now says:

"A problem has prevented Windows from accurately checking the status of the
License for this computer".

Is there anything that can be done or is the ONLY answer a new clean install?

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Old 29-01-2009
Posts: n/a
The only answer right now is a new Clean Install. But for the future use
a program like Acronis True Image Home, Norton Ghost or BootIt NG imaging
software, where you can restore an image instead.

Also you replaced the motherboard with the same motherboard or different

If you replaced the motherboard with a different brand of motherboard,
was the Product Key for Windows XP Home Edition attached to the computer or
to the Windows XP OEM CD?

Unfortunately I have never found one, and I have seen this problem a couple
of times.

It does appear to be possible to get into a loop where activation is
required to get to the activation window, with the result that the XP
install is basically bricked.

I found that the only prudent course of action (since I had to actually
deliver working systems) was to copy off the data, which I did by way of
making an image to my main service system, then wipe the drive and start
over with a clean install. I used the image for references as to what I
needed to install, and to restore the data. I was done in a few hours
longer than expected, but the systems were in good working order.
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Old 30-01-2009
Peter Foldes
Posts: n/a

Also see the following and read down the page

And if you are able to open then at the command Prompt type the following

oobe/msoobe /a or Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Activate Windows.

If you are doing a repair reinstall of XP on the same hardware, you can back up the
activation status and then restore it after you run the repair install of the OS. To
save the activation status, back up the wpa.dbl file from the %systemroot%\system32
folder to a floppy disk.

Sounds like your repair install had messed up your Internet Explorer. It
can do this if you had Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) or Internet Explorer 8
(IE8) installed before you performed the repair installation.

Windows XP includes Internet Explorer 6 (IE6). There is no supported method
for integrating IE7 or IE8 into the installation media - so the files are
replaced (sometimes unsuccessfully - I would venture to say almost always)
and you have no working IE - at least not 100%.

BTW - for everyone wondering what old conversation "hijinx12" brought back
to life
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Old 23-08-2009
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1
I beat my head against a wall trying to figure this one out but finally did so I wanted to share with everyone because I couldn't find an answer anywhere.

1. Boot into safe mode (NOT w/ networking).
2. Install Internet Explorer 8. It will allow you to do this in safe mode.
3. After IE8 install, restart Windows to normal mode and activation window will appear as it should.

This worked for me. I was stuck in a loop until I tried this.
Starting in Safe Mode (no networking) and installing IE8 solved the problem for me.

I want to confirm - I did this same thing and it did the trick - adding IE install to my USB stick of tricks

Following the OS Repair with any flavor of XP, you are unable to click into the activation screen because your browser is different. The OS repair re-installs IE 6. More than likely, you had IE 7 or IE 8. Reboot into the SAFE MODE and reload whichever flavor of browser you had before the repair. You WILL immediately go into the activation screens after clicking to activate.
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Old 20-11-2009
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1
Re: XP Home - Windows Activation problem after a repair install.

I had this same exact problem after an uninstallation of CD Burning software
left my system unable to boot into safe mode much less normal.. After
messing around with various recovery console ideas, my lack of preparation
(no c: backup to restore from, no ASR disks, etc) I decided to pull out my
original media (legit, XP-sp2) and see if I could get some traction with a

That totally worked!! Or so it seemed. Wife tells me not to get all
excited until you are sure that something works. Well, the system repaired,
liked my license key and rebooted for the final time when the 'looping'
problem of activation and then limbo after choosing to activate appeared.

Turns out that for those who upgraded to IE7 or IE8 and SP3 (et al) when you
do a repair install the newer IE's are replaced with IE6 and back to your
former SP. When the system boots the WGA and Activation stuff kicks in and
with the state of the browser it is unable to kick off the wizard. The
controls keep you from advancing further to install IE7/8 and then going
legit as well.<suggestion>It would be nice if MS made a provision for

One forum helpfully suggested that you boot into safe mode and using
alternative means (CD, USBkey) install IE8 (downloaded from MS) and then
reboot. For some this works. For others, IE does not completely install or
fails or just plain does not work. Mine was the latter case, for some reason
or antother IE8 would not completely install and failed out.. MS's diag tools
(fixit) didnt work in safe mode and now I am compounding problems.

Here is what eventually worked for me. I dont know if this stretches the
boundary for legitimacy, but I did this under the premsie that I bought my
legit XP-SP2 from MS with its shiny-pretty media so I am going to make the
most of it...

I downloaded IE8 and SP3 from microsoft and 'slipstreamed' it into my copy
of XP. I created a new ISO and used this to complete another repair install.
This time, IE8 and a lot of the hotfixes provided by SP3 allowed the system
to have what it needed to allow activation to come up and for me to
activate/register properly. Not to mention it saved me tons of time with
windows update after everything came back.

The process requires that you can follow some instructions, have another
working computer, blank CD media, a burner and of course a legit (one that
you bought) copy of the OS. SP3 and IE8 are available from the MS download
site. There are a ton of instructions and free tools that reduce the
complexity greatly and it is not necessary to employ any hacker trickery or
altering of the OS outside of MS slipstreaming.

If you need further info, you can get in touch with me or google slipstream
SP3-IE8-XP and you should be good to go. I found a neat tool that pretty
much did it all (hfslip.org) and has excellent instructions with one stop
'shopping' so to speak with great links to all necessary items, plus its all
FREE. (minus the OS of course)

The system came up and needed some TLC but all my 'stuff' was there and I
didnt have to start from scratch. I do a ton of graphics development, have
tons of software that would literally take years to reinstall (not to mention
probably repurchase) all that stuff. BACKUPS! BACKUPS! ASR, Blah-Blah, I
got it.. :)

Either way, it was only right to share.
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Old 04-06-2010
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1
Re: XP Home - Windows Activation problem after a repair install.

i put the needed files on a cd
started in safe mode , installed stupid IE8, and BOOM
activation worked.
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Old 16-06-2010
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1
Re: XP Home - Windows Activation problem after a repair install.

I have experienced this after a repair of XP.

I have tried to run an install of IE8 in safe mode but get "program too big to fit in memory" error.

What files are needed on the install media, I downloaded ie8-windowsxp-x86-ENU.exe from MS which when run gives the above error. Can I place files on the USB stick which allows the "install programs " through Control Panel to run?

Appreciate any replies.
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Old 23-12-2011
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1
Re: XP Home - Windows Activation problem after a repair install.

I have a solution!!!
It is a problem with IE. On repair of windows IE gets corrupted and halts the activation process.

Here it is:
Start your PC in Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
Once command prompt is ready type explorer and hit enter, which will open windows explorer in safe mode.
From there go to add/remove programs and then add/remove windows components. Once in there remove IE. After that install IE8 or the latest version.Once prompted to restart do so and you should be able to activate Windows now on the normal boot!!!
After activation go to add/remove programs and then add/remove windows components and from there tick the box with IE and install.

That should be it.

Good luck

Hope it helps.
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