Stuck in a "Need to Activate Windows" loop...

Background:  This was to be a simple mainboard replacement for a system running Windows XP Pro (SP2).  My first action was to create an "image copy" of the original hard drive before continuing.  Because I would be changing mainboard chipsets (VIA to NVIDIA), I returned the IDE controller to "standard", uninstalled the display driver and removed any other references to VIA in Device Manager.

The system was restarted and would boot from the original Windows XP installation CD (OEM).  A Windows Repair was selected and allowed to run.  Upon subsequent final startup... the one that would typically find me back at the system's original desktop... I received a message that Windows would need to be activated first.  When I select "YES" (to activate), it loops back to the login window.  Further attempts to log in all receive the "must activate" message.  As before, "YES" loops back and the process begins anew.

I would prefer NOT having to do a clean install.  If I can find a way to make repairs that would allow me to bring up the telephone activation window and proceed from there, I'd be elated.  Any ideas?

Jim
JimBillyJoeBobAsked:
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
Perhaps the activation period has expired on your computer.  What you are describing seems similar to what is talked about on the following page, which may be helpful to you, for it gives you a way of getting on the internet, and then perhaps you can go to the Microsoft Windows Activation page:

http://tomorrowtimes.blogspot.com/2006/12/how-to-login-to-expired-windows.html
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JimBillyJoeBobAuthor Commented:
Lee,

Previous research had located that same link but it did not yield any help that would move me forward.  It is the "Let's Activate Windows" window that does not appear.  I've also removed the WPA.DBL & .BAK files... hoping that they would be recreated (from another similar thread).  I believe the request for reactivation comes for the hardware changes.

Jim
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
Can you boot to the Windows XP Command Prompt after pressing F8 to get to the Advanced Startup Options menu when your computer starts up?  I don't know for sure whether this method will work at the Command Prompt, but since the normal instructions are to use the Run dialog box off the Start Menu, I assume they might:  

copy and paste this "oobe/msoobe /a"    without the quotation marks;  click the Enter key.  This starts the online activation wizard.
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JimBillyJoeBobAuthor Commented:
Selecting "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" halts at a Windows splash screen and moves no further.

For the moment... I think that I will return to the point from which all of this began, connected to original hardware and with a copy of the original drive.  Perhaps I missed something in my preparations for the chipset differences.  Then I'll perform another Windows Repair.  I'll report back later this afternoon...

Jim
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JimBillyJoeBobAuthor Commented:
The Windows Repair was again performed (no differently than I have done a hundred times before).  And, again, I get the "You need to activate this copy of Windows before you can log in".  And, as before, when responding "YES", it moves to a blank desktop for several seconds and then returns to the login screen.

I did attempt access through SAFE mode and was able to access the desktop.  I attempted the RUN of "oobe/msoobe /a" and was informed that Windows activation could not be performed in SAFE mode.  I was able to install mainboard drivers while in SAFE mode, but upon subsequent restart, indications for activation remain the same.  Still hoping for a solution towards achieving activation...

Jim
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JimBillyJoeBobAuthor Commented:
There has been no further attempt to help me with this issue.  As such, I have no other option but to perform a clean reinstallation of Windows.  I will award these points to Lee Tutor.  Though unable to help me with my issue, the attempt was appreciated.

Jim
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