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What is your experiance with Windows Product Activation?

(37 posts)
  • Started 8 years ago by jd2066
  • Latest reply from raphoenix
  • Topic Viewed 3090 times

jd2066
Posts: 3814

This topic is talk about people's Windows Product Activation experiences.
I stated my experience with it in the "Windows 7" topic. In my experience Windows only needs to be reinstalled once every year or two if nothing goes wrong with it and with that time frame it doesn't seem like that big of a deal to call Microsoft after doing so.
Some disagreed with it not being a problem.
I decided to make a new topic so people could list their experience with it as I would like to know how it causes problems for other people.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

Here is a summary of the way Product Activation works.
http://aumha.org/win5/a/wpa.htm
If one reads it carefully, one can see that it becomes a nightmare for Builders, Software Testers and those who constantly reconfigure, change components, etc. and then do O/S Clean installs on their machines on a regular basis.
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At some point in time, though they may be working on the same machine using their own genuine copy of the MS O/S, the over the net PA will fail and a manual PA over the phone will have to be done. From that point forward, net PA will always fail there after and a manual phone PA will always have to be done.
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I have NO idea how MS acquires the information to put a known Genuine Product key piece of software on an only manual phone call to activate list but some how they do.
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To avoid this "hassle" especially on complex Builds and Machines:
1. Purchase MS O/S 3-5 computer volume license.
2. Purchase Retail MS O/S license.
3. Purchase OEM MS O/S with Cals license.
---------------------------------------------------
Have run into the problem on occasion of UN-Archiving an already PAed version of an O/S which had to be Re-PAed on the same machine with a different configuration so archiving / imagining is not mentioned as a solution above.
---------------------------------------------------
In summary, without purchasing expensive appropriate O/S license versions as mentioned above, Builders and others (may) run into a huge problem with MS PA through NO fault of their own and when using legitimate, genuine MS software.

Posted 8 years ago
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BobJam
Posts: 1052

Rick,

I take it the PA phone call will work though. Certainly an irritant, bothersome, and a hassle, but that does do it, doesn't it?

And what do you tell M$ on the phone? Do you have to go through a lengthy explanation of your circumstance and an argument, or is it relatively straightforward and brief? Is the "huge problem" you refer to the phone call, or is it something else with PA?

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@Bob,
A phone number and code pop up in a box on the screen when PA fails.
The phone call is free and can go to any MS call center world wide.
When someone answers, you give them the 45 digit alphanumeric code that pops up when PA fails over the net.
They give you a 50 digit alphanumeric code back in "broken Language" to put in the pop-up box and hit enter to PA the software. (This may be reverse numbered - can't remember but code is longgggggg.)
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If there is a squabble, you give them the Product ID and the Product Code on the Software.
They look that up.
If one has a special status with MS such as MS Partner, You give them that ID.
They look that up.
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That will settle the issue but it is a "hassle" with all the alphanumeric code going back and forth in "broken language" usually at 2:00 AM in the morning your time. (LOL)
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I actually got answer one time from a person who said they couldn't help me.
I ask why ??
They replied; "that they were just there to answer the telephone" - BUT DID switch me to another country who could after I got there attention. NOT A JOKE. (LOL) (LOL)
------------------------
If your software is on the "blacklist" or "pirated", don't even bother to pick up the phone. You are just wasting time.
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Remember, you don't own any MS products. You only have a license to use their products if they are kind enough to let you use them.
------------------------

Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Rick, I have to say though, with all the pirating that is being attempted and going on, I understand their caution. Already 23 years ago I found out that $100 million worth of software was pirated WW each year - and that was only of 1 company and only with commercial customers. I wanted to start with product keys back then - but the development houses would not buy it. MS does the right thing. Maybe the implementation is a little flaky, but if you spoke Hindi, you could make out a lot better.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@whs,
It's a though matter as I can see BOTH sides of the issue.
I don't know what the answer is.
Maybe if MS didn't have such a large market share, the answer would be easier to figure out.
Most folks will NEVER do a manual PA as they don't build their own machines.
In fact, probably most think the O/S comes free with their machines and don't even know what this thread is about.
Best Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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0zSpitt
Posts: 1037

i've had to call to get my copies activated, is there a limit to the amount of times they'll activate it over the phone or will they finally say "you've done this too many times, buy a new copy" ~~~>???

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

Oz, I would check up on that. I vaguely remember reading somewhere, that there was a limit.
I may very well be wrong. But it's worth checking.

Posted 8 years ago
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0zSpitt
Posts: 1037

if there is i'm sure i'm close to my limits

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@0z,
Don't know the answer to your question.
If you are abiding by the Eula License, I can find no legal grounds for MS stopping one from manually PAing forever.
However, MS makes its own rules up as they go and are much less well regulated in the US than in other world regions so they can really step on the consumers here without one having any recourse.
Best Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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0zSpitt
Posts: 1037

i'm like you rick, i like that clean install. sometimes i even overwrite norton ghost to get it. even on vista ultimate i've reinstalled instead of restoring. i've probably had to call at least 7 or 8 times. so far they've been nothing but nice to me

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@0z,
"WE Preach a Little Gospel and Sell a Couple Bottles of Doctor GOOD" :) :)
Thanks,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

I'm not sure but I would think that if you restore an install from an image made with something like Ghost you would not need to reactivate. So you could just create an image after a clean install and then you wouldn't need to activate again. Problem solved (in theory, I haven't tested it, I rarely do clean installs on my computer and I have yet to try restoring an image).

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

jd, I restored a Ghost image several times - no reactivation required. That is even true when the disk was swapped.

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

whs. But was the original installation with an OEM disk ?

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Yes - all my Vistas are OEM.

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

Yep. OEM disks don't need reactivating.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

Wrong.
A machine may need Re-PAing even when using an MS OEM O/S Edition if (SUBSTANTIAL) machine reconfiguration can be accomplished on the (SAME) machine.
----------------------------
The Posters above are (NOT) reconfiguring a Builder Machine in between the original archived machine configuration archive file and a (new completely different) machine configuration onto which the archive file is UN-archived upon.
----------------------------
Ghost is only a tool used to make an archive file of a system and components as they are when the file is created.
----------------------------
On Pre-built OEM Machines, it is highly, highly unlikely one has the option to reconfigure the machine enough to
require a RE-PA.
----------------------------
However one can run into trouble on a (Complex) Machine with Multiple LANs, WIFI Cards, Multiple Hard Drive Controllers, Multiplicity of Hard Drives used in Different Configurations, Memory Configurations, etc., etc.
----------------------------
I know of what I speak as my Genuine MS Software is on the (Only Activate Upon Phone Call) MS List.

Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

All I can say is. I have reinstalled with the same OEM disc, over 100 times. Both via clean install, and Norton Ghosts installs (7 times).
Never had to reactivate.

Posted 8 years ago
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madmacs
Posts: 1438

As for OEM and PA, a friend of mine called me back about 2 months ago and said M/S wouldn´t reactivate his system online due to a graphics card upgrade!! He thought it was a virus (not understanding computers that much)!! What had happened was due to a (massive!!) change in hardware, lol, graphics card and ram, one had to call M/S to reactivate (XP). In my opinion it´s absolute B/S, just because one changes memory and graphics card (on an OEM system)!! Matt

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@madmacs,
Your post is right on point once again !!!!
My last posting begins with the statement:
"A machine may need Re-PAing even when using an MS OEM O/S Edition if (SUBSTANTIAL) machine reconfiguration can be accomplished on the (SAME) machine."
The operative word is (SUBSTANTIAL) as your friend found out the hard / easy way.
Best Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

@raphoenix: I disagree. Sure you may to reactivate after installing new hardware but is calling Microsoft really that much harder then installing a motherboard or graphics card in the first place? I don't think so.
I think you would have to be installing a ton of new hardware every month before it would be an issue.
It seems really unlikly to happen. I know that I only install new hardware around every 2 years or so. I wouldn't mind calling Microsoft if Product Activation required it (I wouldn't know due to my last monthboard and graphics card upgrade being part of a new computer as my old desktop from 2001 / laptop from 2005 wasn't worth upgrading seperately). Even if I upgraded once a month, I don't think it would be a problem.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@jd2066,
Disagreement is fine.
If one enjoys phoning and talking with MS folks for no real reason, by all means do so as often as one likes.
In fact, I encourage such.
Sometimes when I'm bored, I just call up MS Support and ask; "What's Happening ??" to get a conversation started.
Listening to the Advertisements and Computer Tips is especially enjoyable while on hold.
Best Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Rick, this is a new form of masochism that I had not seen yet - "bother MS" - lol.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Whilst browsing, I found these paragraphs in an MS FAQs which is relevant in this context:

1. Can I transfer my operating system license from an old PC to a new one?
ANSWER. Not unless it was purchased as a Full-Packaged Product from a retail store (i.e., Windows in a box). Current OEM licenses for all Microsoft operating system products are not transferable from one machine to another. The End User License Agreement (EULA) governs the terms for transfer of licenses. Some EULAs for copies of certain older OEM operating system products (i.e., MS-DOS®, Windows® 3.1, and Windows for Workgroups 3.1) distributed in 1995 or earlier may permit transfer of the OEM operating system software license under limited circumstances. (See Software Product Transfer section of your End User License Agreement.)

2. If I “retire” a PC with an OEM license on it, can I use that software on a new PC?
ANSWER. No. To put it simply, OEM product is “married” to the original PC on which it was installed. Current OEM licenses are not transferable from one machine to another. The software cannot be moved from PC to PC, even if the original PC it was installed on is no longer in use. This is true for all OEM software – operating systems and applications.

3. Rather than purchase completely new PCs, my organization performs in-place upgrades to the hardware on many of our computers. We often times only replace the motherboard, processor, and memory. Since the COA is still on the case and the OS is still installed on the hard drive, this computer is still licensed, right?
ANSWER. Generally, you may upgrade or replace all of the hardware components on your computer and maintain the license for the original Microsoft OEM operating system software, with the exception of an upgrade or replacement of the motherboard. An upgrade of the motherboard is considered to result in a "new personal computer." Microsoft OEM operating system software cannot be transferred from one computer to another. Therefore, if the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect then a new computer has been created, the original license expires, and a new full operating system license (not upgrade) is required. This is true even if the computer is covered under Software Assurance or other Volume License programs.

4. If I upgrade some of my PC components, do I have to purchase a new operating system?
ANSWER. The answer depends on the components that are upgraded or changed in the PC. The operating system licenses must remain with the device that retains the motherboard, chipsets, and chassis that include the serial number of the device. The operating system may be installed on a new/replacement hard drive as long as the operating system is first removed from the old hard drive.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@whs,
Just responding to (jd2066)'s disagreement posting higher up in the thread.
Best Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@whs,
My "xyz" motherboard was defective.
The OEM MB manufacturer could not replace my older model motherboard so they sent me a newer "abc" motherboard as a replacement. Is my MS OEM Software License still good under the "defective motherboard clause" ??
Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

@raphoenix:
Yes, calling Microsoft may not be the most fun thing and I have yet to get hold music/ads on a call to Microsoft (Only called about twice though).
Should you get ads while on hold every time you call then I agree with you that it's a bad thing to do and Microsoft should correct that.
I do think it's ok to enforce the Windows license with a simple 5 minute phone call. Microsoft spent years developing Windows and millions (maybe billions) researching and developing things like Windows Aero and the ribbion UI (Used in Office and it seems Windows 7)
Now, the fact that an easy to use hack for Windows XP Product Activation appeared within months/weeks does make it a little silly. Though Windows Genuine Advantage took care of that.
Windows Vista Product Activation on the other hand is very hard to get around. In part to see if it was possible I looked for an easy to use hack (Of which I mean a one click to install program/driver, I'm not going to alter the system files on the hard drive for it). It took a few months to find and only works because of the OEM BIOS loop hole in Windows Vista Product Activation. It even passes the Windows Genuine Advantage test.
Getting around Windows Genuine Advantage in Windows XP is even harder to do and requires a hacked WGA DLL file (I can do that as WGA is separate from the OS for Windows XP so it's won't affect stability of the OS).

I've pondered just switching to Linux so I don't have to deal with it but Desktop Linux isn't quite good enough for me yet (Or at least it wasn't a year ago when I tried Gentoo Linux, I've heard good things about Ubuntu).

> "Is my MS OEM Software License still good under the "defective motherboard clause" ??"
If you explain that to a Microsoft rep on the phone they should give you a new activation key.
I have no idea about Microsoft's offical position on it though.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@jd2066,
It ain't a simple five minute phone call and suggest you read your post again.
Don't want to get into the same gray area discussion we had last week do we my friend - remember ??
Best Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

@raphoenix:
Ok, I agree with you that it is bad if the phone call is not a simple 5 minute deal. When I last activated Windows XP Home around 2002/2003, that is what I recall it being. Maybe something has changed since then.
Also, I'm writing my posts very carefully to avoid that discussion happening again.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@jd2066,
GOOD DEAL !!!!
Best Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

@raphoenix: If Microsoft on the phone is anything like Verizon Wireless Tech Support then I understand the phone issue, last night I had to wait on hold listening to how great the new BlackBerrys are until I got someone who told me my issue (Using SSL/TLS for email access) has been worked for a while and has no idea when it will be done. The really annoying thing there is that my phone gives me the SSL/TLS options but they don't function giving me the idea I could use them.

There is still one part of one of your last posts I don't quite get:
> "The Posters above are (NOT) reconfiguring a Builder Machine in between the original archived machine configuration archive file and a (new completely different) machine configuration onto which the archive file is UN-archived upon."

I only change my computer motherboard, processer, etc once every few years and after that only upgrade hard drives for space reasons so a phone call every few years doesn't seem like a problem even if it's not fun.
I would like to know how offten you change your hardware configuration that makes it a problem as I'm interested to know what issues other people have with Windows that I don't have to update my knowledge of Windows issues.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@jd2066,
I don't reconfigure the machines anymore as the MBs and HW are outdated and I know the machines' best configuration plus have the systems archived using Ghost and important data burned to optical storage.
-------------------------
Want to build an i7-X58 machine with the Latest and Greatest HW plus run Windows 7 Beta.
That plan is on hold now because of the HUGE cost (Thousands) and the current economic environment.
-------------------------
Since we are regulars, will stay in touch by E-mail.
Best Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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jmcguire
Posts: 552

@raphoenix
I am somewhat confused as to a post of yours, and it may be due to a misunderstanding on my part:

To avoid this "hassle" especially on complex Builds and Machines:
1. Purchase MS O/S 3-5 computer volume license.
2. Purchase Retail MS O/S license.
3. Purchase OEM MS O/S with Cals license.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am assuming the list is an OR list and not an AND list, but why would one want to spent more money on multiple licenses (with option 1), and I honestly do not know what "OEM MS O/S with Cals license" is.

It seems that if you purchase one retail license for Windows "INSERT VERSION HERE" you should be fine for re-builds/replacements/re-installations. The irritation from having to call Microsoft after "X" number of re-installs would be worth not having to purchase multiple licenses.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@jmcguire,
The above is a list of the type of licenses one may purchase from MS to (avoid) Manual Product Activations after Clean Installs.
----------
A MS Volume License is for folks that have multiple machines and want to use the same copy of the O/S and license on all their machines. The price for the license varies with the number of machines covered by the MS Volume License.
----------
Theoretically, one is suppose to be able to purchase one MS OEM License per machine and Clean Install the O/S forever on the SAME machine without a Manual PA.
----------
However with Custom Builder Complex Machines, the machine configuration can be changed substantially enough so that a Manual PA may have to be performed upon subsequent Clean Installs after an Initial Clean Installation with net PA.
----------
MS does (NOT) cater to Builders or Computer Enthusiasts as they comprise an infinitesimal market share of MS Business.

Posted 8 years ago
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jmcguire
Posts: 552

@raphoenix
Thank you for clearing that up. I am then assuming that if one purchases a single retail copy of Windows, it is then (theoretically) possible to clean install that copy on any build (as long as it is only on one computer at any given time) forever. I am also assuming these are the cases in which the PA will eventually fail after "X" number of installs?

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@jmcguire,
Your assumption is correct however one is allowed to upgrade their machine incrementally (over time) as long as the incremental changes do not cause net PA to fail. (Read Link in my first post on thread).
The (over time) is operative as no one knows for sure how often MS dumps old net PA information from off their database and may vary by world region in different regulatory environments.
Folks have guessed at 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year time frames but I don't know.
The License Agreements and Eula's are forever changing at the whim of MS.

Here is link to MS License Agreements for All MS software. Enjoy :) :)
http://www.microsoft.com/about.....fault.aspx
--------------------
As always, the higher the License Price one pays for the software, the more clout one has with MS.
(1) OEM License with NO cals being the lowest clout. (Beggar's License)

Posted 8 years ago
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