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XP Activation Loop

Okay, we did a repair install on a HP with a XP Home SP/2 OEM Disk because of a video driver issue, but now we have this activation issue. "Windows XP must be activated before you can continue" we select yes and then you are right back to the log on screen. We can get into safe mode, can't activate in safe mode so no real big deal. Okay, we do not want to do a wipe and install due to the amount of business programs on machine but we know that we are at that point. Is there anyway to remove this "LOOP" and activate Windows? We have done enough Knowledge quests with no joy. Yes the copy is legit. No, we cannot get to the desktop, only the log in screen. Let us know if this is fixable or are we at the Wiping point, please.
1 Solution
This exact thing happend to me on a clients machine about 2 weeks ago. I wasn't worried about the time to rebuild but more so about the amount of applications that were installed. What I ended up doing (because like you said nothing else I tried worked) was taking an image of the PC with Acronis True Image and saving it to an external drive. I then formatted and reinstalled the OS, Installed all drivers etc... Then I installed VMware on the machine and restored the original image of the PC to a virtual machine. From here i used PCmover ( http://www.laplink.com/pcmover/ ) to migrate the apps. Took a while but it worked. I hope someone on here has a better solution but i though I would share my story.
I found a link that may help.
You stated that you could get into Safe Mode so hopefully this works.
I would also suggest copying the data to a different hard drive if possible. (Slaving the drive to another system)
Here is another link that provides Registry hacks as well as the default "Contact MS" entry.
I had the same thing happen the other day. Boot from XP cd and run repair (not repair console). This will re-install XP system files and ask for the product key. Once it is done, you will have to activate. This is the only option besides formatting. It is a good idea to back up data before doing a repair. Also, some applications may not function properly after the repair. They may ask for thier original set up disks to re-install some files.

Good Luck
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You can call MS Support if its a legitimate copy and check if you have any more options.
wolf61Author Commented:
There is no quick fix to this problem and this did work with a few changes.
I had the same problem on brand new hardware.

I loaded XP SP3 in safe mode and it went away.

Hint:  burn the IT download of SP3 to a CD.

Something to try!
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