Windows not genuine

JJMarquart
JJMarquart used Ask the Experts™
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I have a situation i've never seen before.  I have an HP Laptop that i'm working on that has a non-genuine copy of Windows.  The owner of the laptpop said this issue occurred after installing a Verizon Wireless USB 3g modem.

I ran MGA Diagnostics on the system, which the results are attached in the embedded file.

MGADiag-Results.txt

At this time I have very limited access; can't do anything in safe mode w/networking as it can't activate in safe mode.  Command prompt safe mode works, but there's not much I can do in it.  Normal mode I can browse the internet and with a little magic bring up a window where I can browse the hard drive.
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Verify the legitimacy of the license status:

slmgr -dli

If something is wrong, you can reactivate with the same product key:

slmgr -ipk <your_key>
slmgr -ato
slmgr -dli
The report shows an HP laptop with SLIC 2.0 BIOS signature... This means it is valid for Vista OEM activation...

The key shown in the report is NOT the proper one for Vista Home Premium
Windows Product Key: *****-*****-27HYQ-XTKW2-WQD8Q

Also, service packs 1 & 2 for Vista do not appear to be installed...

The question arises as to how Vista was installed on that laptop (original or upgrade or reinstall)?

In order to correct the error, the proper OEM key for HP with Vista Home Premium needs to be entered along with (if missing) the matching OEM HP Certificate file (HPxxx.xrm-ms normally in WINDOWS\System32\OEM).

Both of these are usually on the OEM Windows disk supplied by the manufacturer (NOT Microsoft!)

The following procedure can be used, once the PROPER certificate & key are located:

How to install certificate
Type slmgr.vbs -ilc YOUR_FILE.xrm-ms  and wait for the dialog box to come up
stating the license was successfully installed.

How to install key
slmgr.vbs -ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

where the proper version/brand OEM key is used instead of the x's...

Since the report you listed shows a valid BIOS signature for HP OEM Vista, this should immediately solve your problem!

I am not sure if rules here permit posting of the certificate and key here...
They should be on any HP OEM Vista install disk, however or by doing a quick Google search...

Author

Commented:
To answer some more basic questions, this is an original install from OEM.

The only boot method I have found to perform those suggested commands in is safe mode w/command prompt.  I have admin access to the system in this mode, but I get a permission
denied error on those commands.

Booting in safe mode, safe mode w/networking does not work; refuses to boot.  Normal mode I have only access to the internet (task manager, command prompt, or other windows-based programs cannot be loaded.

Regardless of the parameters I type after slmgr.vbs, I get a permission denied error:

Line 291, char 5, code 800A0046.
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Try running slmgr from an elevated command prompt, i.e. when opening cmd.exe use "run as administrator"
If you still have issues, the Software Licensing service may may have stopped or been disabled.
You can try the below steps to restart the service:
 

1) Click the Start button and type: services.msc and then hit Enter
2) Scroll down the list of services till you find 'Software Licensing' and single click on it.
3) On the left side of the window (above the 'Description' area) you will see either:


"Start the service"
or
"Stop the service

"Restart the service"

 

4a) Click the Start in "Start the service"
or
4b) Click the Restart in "Restart the service"



5) Reboot Vista 2 times

You should then try slmgr again as indicated above...
Another video that shows a step-by-step that MIGHT work until you can find the key/cert is here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_0pZskTgX4

This shows how to reset the trial mode for 30 days...
This will depend on what state your computer is currently in to work, though & is NOT a permanent fix...

Commented:
According to what I've found, that is a valid Vista Home Premium OEM_SLP key for Compaq. Since the activation validation is linked to the hardware, it's certainly possible that the 3G modem install was the last of many hardware changes that tripped the limit.

It was pretty simple for me to find the entire key with a quick search of the fifteen visible digits in your report, but I'm also not sure whether EE would approve of my posting the link, so I'll leave that to you to find.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/940315

That describes how to activate Vista, including a description of how hardware changes may require this after Vista has already been activated. if that procedure doesn't work, you'll be provided with an instruction to contact Microsoft. Do that; I've had to contact them for activation issues a few times in the past, and it's relatively painless.
Interesting...
That key might be valid for Compaq, but a different key is used for HP...

However, SLP licensing does NOT need activation!  Only "vanilla" OEM does... SLP licensing is "pre-activated" based upon the license file (xxxx.xrm-ms) and a matching BIOS signature...

Therefore, short of a motherboard swap (with a corresponding BIOS change), activation is NEVER needed unless either the Software Licensing service is disabled or the xrm-ms is deleted...

I suggest focusing on those 2 items to determine the cause of failure.

Commented:
HP bought Compaq some time ago and futzed around their branding a number of times. The machine in question could be "Compaq" hardware with an "HP" name on it.

According to the MS article above, in "rare" cases, changing the hard drive and memory at the same time can result in this condition, so it's not only mainboard that the signature matches, but the entire hardware set of the machine. I'm guessing the 3G card was not the only piece of hardware added or changed in this machine over the years, but just the one that finally pushed the complete set of hardware far enough out of spec to trip activation.
I was not even able to find the files to attempt to reactivate.  I had very limited access to the system in its current state.  I have decided to reinstall Windows Vista, that has fixed the problem.

Author

Commented:
Thank you all for your help, but none of those suggested steps were successful.  I was not even able to locate the old hp-based file to use to reactivate Windows.  I have decided to reload window.

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