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how can I resolve Activate Windows message?

Posted on 2014-11-29
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Last Modified: 2014-12-08
Hello and Good Evening Everyone,

          I have a nice laptop which is an Acer Aspire (Model V3-731-4473) that originally came with Windows 8.0 when purhcased about a year ago.  A few months ago I upgraded it to Windows 8.1.  When I turned it on today, I got a message requesting that it be activated.  When I clicked the option to Active, an icon did spin around suggesting that an action was about to be carried out.  However, it never did activate.  There was another option which requested a Product Key Number.  When I purchased this laptop, the operating system was pre-installed and did not come with any software accessories.  With that said, I am wondering how I might can resolve this issue.  The request did indicate that I have until December 24th to activate Windows 8.1.  In the meantime, everything is still working great with this laptop.  I just don't understand though why I am getting the request to activate Windows when it is suppose to already be activated.  Perhaps the upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 had something to do with it.

              Any shared input or suggestions for resolving the activation request will be greatly appreciated.

              Thank you

             George
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Question by:GMartin
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40472080
Windows 8.1 is a Microsoft Store upgrade to Windows 8. If Windows 8 is properly activated, then Windows 8.1 will upgrade and be activated.

So then something seems to be wrong with the basic Windows 8 activation. I suggest you call Microsoft Support and they should be able to activate Windows 8.1 for you. You would have the Windows 8 key on the machine from Acer.

Windows will require re-activation if you change hardware but that will normally happen right away.

I suggest calling Microsoft Support,
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 40472095
Hello and Good Evening

              Thank you so much for your suggestion.   Could you give me the direct telephone number to Microsoft Support?  

               George
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 150 total points
ID: 40472096
Here is a Microsoft Support contact page.

http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?pid=17655&tid=100109454

You might also try calling the Store (where you got Windows 8.1) and asking for support from the store.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 150 total points
ID: 40472098
This MS knowledge base article (Get Help Activating Microsoft Windows) may help:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950929

Note the section "Winodws 8.1 and Windows 8". Regards, Joe
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40472103
The other thing to do is try to activate and then see if you can select Activate by Phone.
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McKnife earned 200 total points
ID: 40472400
Since 8.1 can activate with a win8 key, it seems your installation has either lost its key or a major hardware change is detected for some odd reason.
So if phone activation doesn't work, next step would be to locate your key and compare it to the key that is entered.

Locate your key that is inside the bios: http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/a-clean-install-of-windows/microsoft-product-activation/obtaining-your-oem-bios-embedded-slp-product-key-using-rw-everything-oem-only/
Locating the (last five digits of) your current key: open an elevated command prompt (rightclick cmd.exe and select "run as administrator") and enter the command
slmgr.vbs -dlv

Then compare the last 5 digits to see if they match - they should. If they don't, you should re-enter the key you found in the step before and reactivate.
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 40472875
Hello and Good Evening Everyone,

          I want to take a moment and provide some updates in response to the submitted suggestions.  Upon visual inspection of my settings, I did notice that Windows is activated despite of the message indicating that Windows 8.1 needs activated by December 24th.  Secondly, I obtained a Partial Product Key of 6XWKK following the use of the command parameter of slmgr.vbs -dlv
The Product Key revealed by the operating system is 00260-70000-00000-AA824.  I did attempt to download rw-everything using the link of http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/a-clean-install-of-windows/microsoft-product-activation/obtaining-your-oem-bios-embedded-slp-product-key-using-rw-everything-oem-only/ , however, I got an error message indicating Bandwidth Exceeded.  The message further indicated the owner of the site has run out of bandwidth and to try back at a later time.  Seeing that this program taps into the BIOS to extract the product key number, I am wondering if that can simply be done by manually entering the BIOS and bypassing a 3rd party program all together.  

            In closing, I hope my followup updates will be a good starting point for further fruitful suggestions.  At the moment, it is a bit confusing because the settings within the operating system indicates it being activated eventhough I get another popup window indicating that it is not activated.  

             Any further input will be appreciated and certainly welcomed.

             Thank you

             George
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 150 total points
ID: 40472880
I did notice that Windows is activated despite of the message indicating that Windows 8.1 needs activated by December 24th

I have not seen an activated system requiring activation before.

however, I got an error message indicating Bandwidth Exceeded.  The message further indicated the owner of the site has run out of bandwidth

I wonder if this system has a virus or other malware - very common.

Scan thoroughly with your existing anti virus application and then again with Malwarebytes. (malwarebytes.org)

You might also try run System File Checker or DISM.

Open cmd.exe with Run as Administrator.
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Scanhealth (takes 15 - 20 minutes).
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth (takes 15 - 20 minutes).
Restart the computer and test.
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by:McKnife
ID: 40473157
If a system says it's activated but needs activation then you should call microsoft.
About rweverything: you need it. It cannot be read out otherwise.
If the domain reweverything.com has exceeded its bandwidth, you'll have to wait or download it from another trusted source. It is no indication of a virus, John.

At last: "The Product Key revealed by the operating system is..." no, that's the product ID, not the product key.
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 40474332
Hello and Good Afternoon,

           If it would not be a bother, could you provide the direct 1-800 number to reach Microsoft support?  In the meantime, I will follow up further by carrying out the suggestions given by John just to help rule out possible malware infection.

           Thank you

           George
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40474393
George,
In the MS knowledge base article that I posted earlier, it says, "There are multiple Product Activation Centers worldwide. The correct telephone number is based on the product and your location. This article describes how to find use the built in product activation features to find a telephone number for a Product Activation Center." So the number that you're looking for depends on your location. Regards, Joe
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 150 total points
ID: 40474407
See if this Microsoft Activation and Support link works:

https://support2.microsoft.com/getsupport/hostpage.aspx?oaspworkflow=start_1.0.0.0&wf=0&wfName=upandrunning&locale=en-US&gsacn=17655&productname=Windows+8.1&ccsid=635530291340459773&wa=wsignin1.0

From this page: Alternatively, you can call us directly on this number: 1-866-234-6020
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 40478690
Hello and Good Morning Everyone,

             Thanks so much for the additional followups given which is proving to be insightful, useful, and certainly promising to the final resolution of the Windows Activation concern.  At this point, I do want to provide some updates with respect to the recommended troubleshooting strategies.  First of all, I was able to download and install rw-everything.  Using the embedded links within http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/a-clean-install-of-windows/microsoft-product-activation/obtaining-your-oem-bios-embedded-slp-product-key-using-rw-everything-oem-only/ as reference guides, I was able to extract the 25 digit alphanumeric product key number.  The last four characters of this 25 digit code did not match up to the partial product 5 digit code from the results of using the command parameter of slmgr.vbs -dlv.  The second troubleshooting strategies involved scans for malware.  Microsoft Defender did locate and remove some malware.  I followed up further by updating and runing Malwarebytes for infection.  The results of its analysis came back clean.  Of possible technical interest, I have not seen the Windows Activation popup window appear anymore which makes me wonder if malware may have been a culprit.  Within the System settings, there remains indication of Windows 8.1 being activate.  Strangely, I could not ever determine what version of Windows 8.1 I actually have rather it be Home Edition, Professional Edition, etc.  

               After successfully carrying out the previously mentioned steps, I have been led to a few followup questions.  First of all, can the program rw-everything be used for determining the embedded 25 digit product key number for any Windows operating system?  The reason I ask is because this utility seems like it could be very useful in other similiar or identical situations such as mine stated within this post.  Secondly, command line parameters used within Windows 8.  I was able to successfully carry out the command line of slmgr.vbs -dlv.  However, I was unable to carry out the command lines of ISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Scanhealth and DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth because of the message indicating elevation is needed.  I went to Start, Run, and typed cmd.exe.  Most likely, it was not set to administrator which would explain why it would not execute the command.  Is there a way I can check to see if administrator is turned on to carry out all command line parameters?  When I right click on the cmd.exe within the command line box, I could not see Run as Administrator.  And, finally, will the 25-digit product key extracted by rw-everything be sufficient if I need to have an online chat with a Microsoft representative?  Unfortunately, the sticker which normally has this number was not found on my laptop bought about a year ago.

               In closing, I greatly appreciate all of the insightful feedback and helpful links given in response to my question.  I look forward to reading and reviewing any further thoughts to this post.

                Thank you

                George
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by:McKnife
McKnife earned 200 total points
ID: 40478798
"And, finally, will the 25-digit product key extracted by rw-everything be sufficient if I need to have an online chat with a Microsoft representative?  Unfortunately, the sticker which normally has this number was not found on my laptop bought about a year ago. " - will be sufficient. No sticker, that's only shipped inside the bios, nowadays.
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40479481
More:

"First of all, can the program rw-everything be used for determining the embedded 25 digit product key number for any Windows operating system?" - no, just if the key is embedded in the bios. This is usually seen on all computers bought in the last three years.
"However, I was unable to carry out the command lines of ISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Scanhealth and DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth because of the message indicating elevation is needed" - if you are logged on as administrator, you will be able to rightclick cmd.exe and select "run as administrator", there's no way this option is not there.
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 40485806
Hello and Good Afternoon Everyone,

          Thanks so much for the insightful and well thought out replies given in response to my question.  I must confess that I have learned so much from the combination of feedback and submitted links.  To be perfectly honest, I don't believe it would have ever crossed my mind that the 25 alphanumeric product key number was embedded within the BIOS.  The program rw-everything certainly made it easy to determine this number.  I have to admit that I had to review the embedded YouTube link to determine the logistics of accessing the 25 digit product key for Windows 8.0.  I would not mind viewing an entire tutorial YouTube link demonstrating the use of all features of rw-everything when I have more time.  I am confident this utility would prove fruitful in other avenues of troubleshooting.

           With respect to the links outlining the steps for activating Windows in addition to contacting Microsoft, I went ahead and printed them out for future reference.  Interestingly, I never had to carry out the mechanics for properly activating Windows because the popup requesting activation is no longer present on the desktop of my laptop.  Of technical curiosity, I wonder if it is possible to determine the longevity of activation?  Perhaps that that should be left as another question for another time.

            In closing, I do sincerely thank everyone for your input.  Not only is my concern resolved, but, I am once again walking away knowing I have learned a great deal from this experience.

            Thank you

            George
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40485812
George - You are most welcome and thanks for the update. I was happy to help.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40487861
George,
Thanks for taking the time to write such thorough updates. Not all askers do that — I really appreciate it when a member does. And thanks for the kind words — very nice to hear! Regards, Joe
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by:McKnife
ID: 40488276
That's true what Joe says. George, thanks for giving proper and detailed feedback!
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