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      03-24-2011, 11:08 PM   #1
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Windows Vista product key invalid

I am running Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit, factory installed on a Dell I purchased about 3.5 years ago. Last week, I started seeing a message indicating that the product key for my copy of Windows is not valid. I typed in the product key on my desktop, to no avail. Now every 60 minutes I get this message, and there is a watermark on my desktop stating that this version of Windows is not genuine.

Dell wanted me to restore back to a saved point prior to the last update. That didn't work either. Now they say that I need to revert the hard drive back to factory settings. I really don't want to go through all of that if I don't have to, considering the ton of music, photos, etc. on my drive.

Any one experience anything similar? If so, how did you resolve?
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      03-25-2011, 03:10 PM   #2
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torrent windows 7 and forget about vista.
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      03-25-2011, 04:27 PM   #3
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just activate it through the telephone, takes 5-7 minutes
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      03-25-2011, 04:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBRider88 View Post
just activate it through the telephone, takes 5-7 minutes
This. Call Microsoft support, as painful as it is, and just have them read you off that code.
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      03-25-2011, 04:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ragingclue View Post
This. Call Microsoft support, as painful as it is, and just have them read you off that code.
As you can imagine, I was really hoping to avoid that after dealing with Dell tech support, to no avail. Since there are no easy (lazy) methods for fixing the problem, I'll make the call this weekend.

Thanks guys.
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      03-25-2011, 05:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpratt34 View Post
As you can imagine, I was really hoping to avoid that after dealing with Dell tech support, to no avail. Since there are no easy (lazy) methods for fixing the problem, I'll make the call this weekend.

Thanks guys.
It's an automated system. No idiots to haggle with
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      03-27-2011, 12:12 AM   #7
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Well, that didn't work either. I'm about ready to toss this thing out the window.
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      03-27-2011, 01:33 AM   #8
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like i said, download windows 7 and fuck vista
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      03-27-2011, 10:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluespeed117 View Post
like i said, download windows 7 and fuck vista
I was thinking of doing that, but I'd probably have to shell out the dough for the full version, not the discounted upgrade, because my current OS "isn't validated".
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      03-28-2011, 11:12 AM   #10
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What was the reason it did not work?
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      03-28-2011, 11:18 AM   #11
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Your key is an OEM product key from Dell. I believe you have to pursue Dell to get it working. I'm curious as to what Micro$oft said also.
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      03-29-2011, 11:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
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I'm curious as to what Micro$oft said also.
Microsoft - "Contact Dell".

Dell tells me that I need to wipe it and bring it back to a factory install. They also said that a restore would do it, and it didn't. The last thing I want to do is go back to factory, only to be told that the code is still invalid. I'm just putting up with the warning message every 60 minutes, as well as the black desktop background.
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      03-29-2011, 11:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBRider88 View Post
It's an automated system. No idiots to haggle with
The automated system prompted me for a code. Apparently I need to click on "Use automated system to validate" option, which isn't available to me. I have three choices: enter the code again, cancel, or contact Dell.
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      03-29-2011, 01:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpratt34 View Post
The automated system prompted me for a code. Apparently I need to click on "Use automated system to validate" option, which isn't available to me. I have three choices: enter the code again, cancel, or contact Dell.
So when it brings you up to the screen of activating windows, does it give you an option to call? You put in your country and it should spit out a long code and a telephone number. From there, it is an automated number....you don't have that?
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      03-30-2011, 09:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBRider88 View Post
So when it brings you up to the screen of activating windows, does it give you an option to call? You put in your country and it should spit out a long code and a telephone number. From there, it is an automated number....you don't have that?
Nope. Purchase a new code. Enter a different code. Call Dell. Those were my only options.

I spent 2 hours on the phone with Microsoft yesterday. After being bounced around by customer service and the licensing folks, who told me my product key was good (No S**T!), I finally ended up talking to someone in tech support. I relinquished control of my desktop, and he concluded that my licensing files were corrupted by something. His guess was that it happened during an automatic update, either Windows or some other software. He wiped the licensing files clean, rebooted, reinstalled, rebooted, entered my product key, rebooted, and all was good.

Thanks for chiming in with ideas. This was a weird one, and I appreciate the help.
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