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Trouble "re-activating" Windows XP Home

I am having a problem re-activating Windows. Here are the details:

I have a Dell computer running Windows XP Home. The system got infested with spy ware. I was able to get most of the spy ware out using the normal methods; Spy Sweeper, HiJack this, etc. After cleaning I ran Windows updates which installed IE 7. Everything was fine except that IE 7 would not connect to the Internet even though my connection was good. I decided to remove it and discovered there was nothing at all listed in the Add/Remove programs section. Going on the Internet, I was able to find a method of removing IE 7 via Recovery Console which I did. Once IE7 was gone, I started getting a missing file error on start-up. I decided to do a Repair Install from the Windows CD using the original product key from the side of the machine. Now Windows gets to the Welcome screen and allows me to select a user. As soon as a user is selected, a box pops up stating that Windows needs to be activated before I can log on. I click yes to activate, the screen goes to the desktop (no icons / task bar) for a split second and then returns to the Welcome screen. Safe-Mode gives almost the same results, always returning to the Welcome screen. Any suggestions? Keep in mind I can not get into Windows itself to run anything.
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whitestonecomp
Asked:
whitestonecomp
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1 Solution
 
BrughCommented:
I have had this happen before, did you use the Dell OEM disk or a different disk to restore?
I would wipe and reload, just make sure you get data off the disk first.

You may be able to boot into afe mode and then call microsoft to activate  Just tell them what happened and that you needed to restore and are having this issue.  They will re-activate for ya.

 -Brugh


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EMONEROCommented:
you got to options:

1- Just contact Microsoft. They will be able to reactivate it for you.

2- You need to take out your HD and install it on another PC to do your backup (or just buy a USB to IDE adapter). Then use the restore CD that came with your PC to winstall  Windows and apps.
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phototropicCommented:
You should be given the option of 1) activate over the internet; or 2)telephone Microsoft; if you choose 2) you are asked where you are calling from, and then given a toll-free number.
If the above does not happen, I would suspect a corrupt/incomplete reinstall...
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and235100Commented:
Try this method:
http://tomorrowtimes.blogspot.com/2006/12/how-to-login-to-expired-windows.html

Open up cmd and check that you have internet connectivity.

Then - activate windows manually by typing C:\Windows\system32\msoobe.exe /a <hit enter>
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willcompCommented:
You're in an endless activation loop. There is a possible fix if message states Windows is already activated. Otherwise, my experience has been that a clean install is necessary.

I booted from ERD Commander and tried editing registry entries associated with activation without success. Maybe one of our registry gurus has a possible fix that can be done in recovery console.

You can't enter safe mode either and XP cannot be activated in safe mode anyway.
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and235100Commented:
Just out of interest - have you tried booting into VGA Mode? Does that help you get past the login screen?
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elissaqpCommented:
Did you ooted on safe mode or last good know configuration? Pressing F8 when booting.
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whitestonecompAuthor Commented:
Ok, here are the updates so far based on the help / questions.

- I used an OEM CD for Windows for the repair reinstall since the original Dell CD was not available.
- I am not able to get into Safe-Mode, VGA Mode, Last Know Good Configuration, or to the screen that would normally allow you to pick Internet or Telephone
- I tried and235100s suggestion by going to Safe-Mode Command Prompt but the file msoobe.exe was not there.

I did find out that if I went to Safe-Mode Command Prompt, and typed Exit, Windows would not load but I was able to use CTRL-ALT-DEL and bring up the Task Manager. From there I can run programs. By using this method I was able to locate the msoobe.exe file in the C:\Windows\System32\oobe directory. I ran the file but got an error stating I could not activate in Safe-Mode.
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and235100Commented:
I apologise - msoobe.exe is in c:\Windows\System32\oobe, as you state.

Did you try the method I linked to (http://tomorrowtimes.blogspot.com/2006/12/how-to-login-to-expired-windows.html) in Normal mode? (rather than Safe Mode - as you found out, Windows cannot be activated in Safe Mode)



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whitestonecompAuthor Commented:
I tried the suggestion at (http://tomorrowtimes.blogspot.com/2006/12/how-to-login-to-expired-windows.html) from Normal mode but the "Let's Activate Windows" window never comes up.
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and235100Commented:
Even when you run msoobe.exe /a ?
Try using the Win key + R combo to bring up the run box - and run it from there.
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EMONEROCommented:
Is this PC still under warranty?
Are you the original owner? If you are just call Dell.
They will sent you the original software that came with the PC.
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BardicCommented:
A standard OEM disc is not the same as a Dell OEM disc.  For one thing, the dell disc never asks for a CD Key when you are installing.  It is an odd quirk of Dell, the keys on the side will work for installing but not activating.  Also, there is never a reason to enter it unless you wanted to use a keychanger and change it for fun.

If you can get a Dell disc, you can do the repair again and save your self a lot of trouble.  You could even technically download a Dell OEM disc legally to use as your personal backup since it should only be installable on a dell computer anyways.
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whitestonecompAuthor Commented:
I did get ahold of the orginal Dell CD and did the reinstall with that. I was then able to get past the problem. Thank you all for your help.
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