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SQL Server 2000 Upgrade: "Unable to Validate Product Key"

Posted on 2003-11-29
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Last Modified: 2008-02-20
I have a server running Small Business Server 4.5 (Windows NT / SQL Server 7 / Exchange 5.5). I have purchased the upgrade to Small Business Server 2000.  When I start the upgrade, it tells me that I need to manually upgrade SQL Server 2000 first, before doing the entire Small Business Server Upgrade.

I run set-up from Disk 2 (the SQL Server) disk.  I say that want to upgrade an existing installation, then it asks for the 25-digit Product Key.  Here's where the problem is:

I have entered this key FOUR TIMES, verified it letter for letter, and had other people verify it was typed correctly.  But the system simply tells me "Unable to Validate Product Key."

I tried doing a brand new install of SQL Server instead of an upgrade.  Same problem.

I plugged in a network cable, thinking perhaps it had to have connectivity to validate.  Same problem.

I shutdown the running instance of SQL Server 7, thinking maybe that was holding things up.  Same problem.

It simply will not take the Product Key.  I am typing it from the yellow sticker on the back of the SBS 2000 Upgrade CD case.  The only other 25-digit keys I can find are for Outlook 2002 and FrontPage 2002 (both came with the product).  Just for fun, I tried those as well.  No dice.

I checked the SBS 4.5 disk, think maybe it wanted to verify my old media.  No dice -- the Product Key for that version isn't the same format.

I have tried everything I can think of.  This is a perfectly valid and legal situation -- I have the full-blown copy of SBS 4.5, with all media, and I have purchased a copy of SBS 2000 Upgrade.  I have all media, all manuals, and -- presumably -- all Product Keys.

Can anyone give me any advice here?  I've searched the Net for that exact error message, and I've found some people having the same problem.  However, one guy just typed his wrong, and the other guy was have a problem installing to a certain OU.  My network is running on NT 4.0, so I have no OUs or Active Directory.

I can't find any Microsoft support options, except for the Professional Support, and they want $245 per issue.  I don't want to pay $245 for a problem that seems so fundamentally NOT my fault.

Deane
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Question by:deane_barker
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Expert Comment

by:miron
ID: 9843476
try to locate and run the file sqlsetup.exe. This file is the full sql server installation, but I am not sure if it is upgrade though. Could you get back if you

1 could find the file
2 if it solved the issue

If it did not help I would advise to call Microsoft product registration / sales line.
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Expert Comment

by:arbert
ID: 9843990
Are you sure you're entering the product key for SQL Server and NOT one of the other SBS products--I've ran into this problem several times when I as "positive" I was entering the right key only to kick myself later when I figure out it was for another product.
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by:deane_barker
ID: 9844189
I'm entering the key from the back of the SBS CD case.  There are two other CDs -- one for FrontPage and one for Outlook.  I am not using the keys on those cases, but I did try them both at one point out of complete frustration.

The key on the back of the SBS CD case, if this the key that the SQL Server install is looking for?  Other than the Outlook and FrontPage keys, I cannot find any others.

My fear is that if SQL Server won't take the key, how doomed is the rest of the install?

Deane
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Expert Comment

by:arbert
ID: 9844316
Ok, just for giggles, I got out the SBS that I just got in my action pack subscription yesterday.  There is only one license key and I didn't have a problem installing.

Personally, I would open up a support call with MS.  You shouldn't be charged for it since it's a possible licensing issue.  Believe it or not, sometimes they do get their media screwed up and packaged wrong :)
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Author Comment

by:deane_barker
ID: 9844633
At the risk of sounding completely helpless, what number do I call?  I scoured the back of the manual for support numbers, and all I could find in the United States was the "Professional Support" number, for which they want the princely sum of $245 per incident.

Is there another number I'm not aware of?

Deane
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Accepted Solution

by:
arbert earned 350 total points
ID: 9844673
Not sure if you're in the USA or abroad, but if you're in the states, I would call sales at (800) 426-9400.  Since this is a licensing issue, you shouldn't be charge for any support.

Here is the support page for SBS--you can also open two online support questions for no charge:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=fh;en-us;Prodoffer09a&sd=TECH

Brett
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Expert Comment

by:arbert
ID: 9844676
By the way, you're not helpless, trying to find a decent number to call at microsoft is impossible!!!!!!!
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by:deane_barker
ID: 9845618
miron, I looked for the file you indicated, but didn't find it.  I did find setupsql.exe -- is the the file you mean?  If so, then I've been there already.  I was clicking on a BAT file at the root of the CD called "setup."  Turns out it just ran this program in "x86/setup."

Another thing I tried:

I thought perhaps the setup program was trying to read something from Disk 1 to validate the key. (Remember, Disk 1 told me to manually upgrade SQL Server from Disk 2 before continuing, so Disk 2 is the one in the drive).

I tried to swap in Disk 1 just before I click OK on the Product Key screen, but that didn't work either.  Still can't validate.

Points for this one just went up to 350.

Deane
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Author Comment

by:deane_barker
ID: 9858771
I called Microsoft and was pleasantly surprised by their comptetence.

I gave them all three keys, from the SBS, Outlook, and FrontPage CDs.  They checked and found that the FrontPage and SBS key stickers had been switched and put on the wrong CDs.  The SBS key was really for FrontPage and the FrontPage key was for SBS.

I thought I tried the FrontPage key above, but I must have mis-keyed it.  It works now.

arbert gets the points for giving me a valid tech support contact when I couldn't find one.

Deane
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