Vista "activation " problem

Posted on 2011-04-20
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi - I have a Dell Inspiron 1420  - bought about 3 years ago that all of a sudden decides it needs to activate again - every time it boots up, i get a message staing that the product key is invalid, and it gives me 3 choices, re-enter product key,  contact Dell, etc - ive re-entered the product key from the bottom of the laptop, and it still gives me the same message, i contacted Dell, and they told me "that my operating system was corrupt, and i need to reinstall windows" which i thought was the most idiotic answer, but as expected from Dell. Does anyone else have any suggestions?
Question by:hodgem
    LVL 62

    Accepted Solution

    You can take your chance with Microsoft's activation Center (they are not obliged to help as support for your system rests with Dell) You'll need to talk to a real Customer Service Representative (CSR) not the automated version.

    To force telephone activation on Vista:

    1)    Click the 'Start' button
    2)    Type: slui.exe 3 and hit Enter
    3)    Type in the Product Activation Key from the sticker on your computer
    4)    Click the 'Next' button.
    5)    You will be asked if want to Activate, click 'OK'
    6)    Vista will attempt to activate over the Internet and will return an 'Invalid Key' error because this is a Dell OEM key
    7)    Click the 'Start' button again
    8)    Type: slui.exe 4 and hit Enter again
    9)    Select your location in the drop down menu and click the 'Next' button
    10) The next screen provides the number to call to "Activate by Phone"

    (If you don't get a list of contact numbers get your local number from this link

    11) When the automated activation message asks you to enter your Product Activation Key do nothing you will then be transferred to a CSR.  Explain you are trying to reactivate your existing Dell OEM installation - hopefully they will take you through the stages youneed to enter an alternate activation key which will work as a "one off" activation it can't be used again.

    12) Post back here how you got on
    LVL 116

    Expert Comment

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    That's to be expected from most vendors today, that's the level of support that they offer. Find your Product Recovery CD/DVDROM and re-install.

    Have you changed anything on your PC to cause a re-activation, hard drive, cpu, graphics card?

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