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?