How to reinstall Windows?

Posted on 2010-01-07
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I have a Toshiba laptop that was 'rebuilt' by a co-worker, but when I log on, the Windows XP welcome screen shows, and says that I will need to activate Windows now. I click yes to the 'do you want to activate now' question, but then I get the response that this version of Windows is already activated. This keeps going around in a loop. What is the best way of resolving this?
Question by:peter2407
    LVL 13

    Accepted Solution

    Go to Start > Run, and type:

    chkdsk /r

    Answer "Y" to the questions and let the scan finish on reboot.

    If that doesn't do it, deactivate your machine and then reactivate it.

    Go to Start > Run, and type:

    %systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a

    If that doesn't work, then run regedit, navigate to:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\wpaevents

    and change any single number in OOBEtimer in the right pane. Close regedit and try the command in the Run box again.
    LVL 21

    Assisted Solution

    probably an registry key failed to fill in to show its registered...

    you can run a repair on the machine - this will 1) fix any errors 2) re-initiate you having to activate again...
    LVL 46

    Assisted Solution


    Author Comment

    Jaynir - the problem is I can't past the login screen so can't get to the Run command. Is there another way of doing this?

    Silemone - I was hoping that booting from the recovery disk would do this, but although Windows appears to be reinstalled, I am not presented with any of those options.

    Thanks both for the quick responses.
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    peter, are you using the original should work...the trick is don't choose the first Repair enter and then let it scan to see if an operating system is already there...then when it finds it, it will give you another option to repair...accept it and that's when the magic :0) happens...
    LVL 59

    Assisted Solution

    You can run CHKDSK from the Recovery Console after you boot from your XP install CD:

    Author Comment

    All - thanks for the responses to date. I think I need to completely wipe this machine and start an XP install from scratch. The recovery console method isn't working (and I have tried with a number of different XP discs).

    How can I wipe the HDD?
    LVL 6

    Assisted Solution

    Hello, im not sure whether wiping the machine will work or not.

    The best thing you can do is call microsoft or activate over the telephone.

    If you want to go down the reformatting route, see the link below which may help:
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    format c: will wipe out the entire drive...
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    but you have other options...if you're planning on upgrading, then you can do that now...this will allow you to keep your files...

    you can maybe create a partition and load windows on and retrieve your files first...

    i do think format c: is extreme...but the good thing about that is you get rid of everything, including malware, viruses etc and you can have fresh install...

    Author Comment

    Silemone - thanks, but how do I get into the HDD to alow that to happen? Remember, the recovery console access doesnt work, I can't log in. Is there a way of getting to a command prompt from the BIOS? Sorry the basic questions ...

    Author Comment

    Silemone - all of the files have been recovered, so if I can get the HDD formatted and start again, that would be helpful.
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    i are correct...I only read the comment previous to the one i posted without rereading the question again...a new install or calling msoft is your only option since you can't get into the machine...

    Assisted Solution

    Problem Details:
    Every time that you start the computer, you receive a message that prompts you to activate Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Server 2003. You experience this issue even if you have already successfully activated Windows.
    Cause of the problem:
    This problem occurs because a script that interferes with Windows activation is running on the computer.
    Steps to resolve the problem:
    Manually remove the script that interferes with Windows activation
    Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    322756  ( ) How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
    Before you start
    To complete these steps, you must have the following:
    "      The Windows XP CD. Or, access to a folder that contains the files from the i386 folder on the Windows XP CD.
    "      An account that has administrator rights and permissions.
    Step 1: Start the computer in safe mode
    1.      Start the computer.
    2.      After the computer runs the Power On Self Test (POST), press F8 repeatedly to open the Windows Advanced Options menu.
    3.      On the Windows Advanced Options menu, use the arrow keys to select Safe Mode, and then press ENTER.
    4.      Use the arrow keys to select the Windows operating system that you want to start, and then press ENTER.
    5.      When the computer is running in safe mode, log on by using an account that has administrator rights and permissions. Then, click Yes in the message that states that Windows is running in safe mode.
    Step 2: Start Registry Editor
    Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    Step 3: Remove the RESETS registry subkey
    1.      In Registry Editor, expand My Computer, and then expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
    2.      Expand SOFTWARE, and then expand Microsoft.
    3.      Expand Windows NT, and then expand CurrentVersion.
    4.      Expand Winlogon, and then expand Notify.
    5.      Under Notify, right-click RESETS, and then click Delete.
    6.      Click Yes to confirm the removal of the RESETS subkey.

    Note Do not exit Registry Editor. You must use Registry Editor in "Step 4: Modify the registry to deactivate Windows."
    Step 4: Modify the registry to deactivate Windows
    1.      In Registry Editor, expand My Computer, and then expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
    2.      Expand SOFTWARE, and then expand Microsoft.
    3.      Expand Windows NT, and then expand CurrentVersion.
    4.      Under CurrentVersion, click WPAEvents.
    5.      In the right pane (topic area) of Registry Editor, right-click OOBETimer, and then click Modify.
    6.      Click to put the pointer in the Value data box. Then, modify any character that appears in the Value data box.
    7.      Click OK.

    Note This step deactivates Windows.
    8.      Exit Registry Editor.
    Step 5: Rename the corrupted Windows activation file
    1.      Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK.
    2.      At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
    ren %windir%\system32\WPA.dbl wpa.old
    This command renames the WPA.dbl file to WPA.old.
    Step 6: Determine the CD or DVD drive letter
    1.      Insert the Windows CD.
    2.      Click Start, and then click My Computer.
    3.      Note the CD drive letter or the DVD drive letter that appears under Drives with Removable Storage. You have to use this drive letter in the next step.
    Step 7: Replace the corrupted Windows activation file
    1.      Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK.
    2.      At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
    expand drive :\i386\wpa.db_ %windir%\system32\wpa.dbl
    In this command, replace drive with the letter of the drive that contains the Windows CD.

    For example, if the Windows CD is located in drive D, the command appears as follows:
    expand d:\i386\wpa.db_ %windir%\system32\wpa.dbl
    This command extracts a copy of the Wpa.dbl file from the Windows CD. Then, it puts this file in the System32 folder of the Windows installation.
    3.      Examine the output that appears at the command prompt. If the command runs successfully, information that resembles the following appears:
    Microsoft (R) File Expansion Utility Version 5.1.2600.0 Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp 1990-1999. All rights reserved. Expanding d:\i386\wpa.db_ to c:\windows\system32\wpa.dbl. d:\i386\wpa.db_: 2222 bytes expanded to 2126 bytes, -5% increase.
    4.      Type exit, and then press ENTER to exit the command prompt.
    Step 8: Remove the files that are associated with the script
    1.      Click Start, and then click Search.
    2.      Under What do you want to search for, click All files and folders.
    3.      In the All or part of the file name box, type the following, and then click Search:
    reset5.exe; reset5.dll; reset5.dat; reset5.dt*; srvany.exe
    This action performs a search for all the following files:
    o      Reset5.exe
    o      Reset5.dll
    o      Reset5.dat
    o      Reset5.dt*
    o      Srvany.exe
    Note If you use a different search tool such as Windows Desktop Search, use this tool to search for each of these individual files.
    4.      In the results pane of the Search Results dialog box, right-click each file, and then click Delete.
    5.      Click Yes to confirm the removal of the file.
    6.      When you have finished removing these files, exit the Search Results dialog box.
    7.      Restart the computer and let Windows restart in normal mode.
    Step 9: Reactivate Windows
    1.      Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Activate Windows.
    2.      If the Windows Product Activation Wizard prompts you to activate Windows, follow the instructions in the wizard to activate Windows.
    3.      Restart the computer, and then repeat step 1 of "Step 9: Reactivate Windows" to start the Windows Product Activation Wizard again. You take this step to verify that the wizard does not prompt you to activate Windows again.
    4.      If the Windows Product Activation Wizard displays a "Windows is already activated" message, click OK to exit the wizard.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Just format your windows partition of a HDD and clean install windows from the original disc you got with the laptop (or purchased) and enter a licence No from the sticker you got with the CD. It is not important how many times you install it, it will always be succesfully activated on the same computer.

    I presume that your co-worker didn`t install windows from a correct disc.

    Author Closing Comment

    Apologies for my late updating - work has been hectic!

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