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Could Virus Cleaning cause Windows Activation

Posted on 2008-10-21
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Has anyone had a computer ask for Windows Activation after cleaning viruses and malware?  I was working on an infected computer and cleaned it up and now it wants me to activate Windows.  The user says she's been using it for about a year now since the harddrive crashed and Windows had to be reloaded.  I don't see how the viruses could have caused this issue, but I also don't see how the user has been using the computer for a year without activating Windows.  

I've been on the phone 4 times to Microsoft and they still can't get it activated. They told me to call Microsoft customer support and get a completely new product key (they've already given me 3) and if that didn't work I have to re-install Windows.

Is there an easier way to fix the activation problem?
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Question by:toc-tom
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7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:DenverRick
ID: 22768589
No.  It sounds like you have some corruption in the system which is preventing the Activation.  Have you run a repair?
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by:orangutang
ID: 22768745
Maybe backup your HD and check:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/312295
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Rob Williams earned 250 total points
ID: 22768752
Though I haven't heard of a virus affecting it, there is a little file that if removed will force windows to have to be reactivated. However, if that were the only problem it should easily reactivate on the same hardware at the "click of a button". I would suggest the Virus has resulted in far more damage than simply the activation file.

If you do not want to do a complete re-install, which is understandable, I would first try running the system file checker tool, which "should" replace any missing or corrupted Windows system files.
To do so in the run box, or from a command line, enter    sfc  /scannnow
You will be prompted for the original windows installation CD.

The next step would be a repair install. See:
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

Neither of the above should harm your data but I strongly recommend backing up any data first.
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Author Comment

by:toc-tom
ID: 22780249
I started the system file checker and won't have any time to get back to it until later tonight.  Thanks for the input so far!
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 22780880
It takes quite a while to run.
Let us know how you make out.
--Rob
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Author Closing Comment

by:toc-tom
ID: 31508360
Well, this computer has been giving me a hard time.  I ran the SFC and it didn't make any difference.  I called customer support and they had me run through serveral things with no difference so we ran the repair from the CD.  That fixed the activation problem, but now certian websites (ones that require a login like experts-exchange) won't display properly and other things just don't seem right.  I will put a second drive in the computer and re-install Windows then move all the data files from the old hard drive to the "new" one.

Thanks for the help!
Tom
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 22830349
That is too bad. Virusses can leave a mess. Good luck with the re-install.
Thanks toc-tom.
Cheers !
--Rob
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