Windows Vista "This copy of Windows is not genuine" after System Recovery RRS feed

  • Question

  • My notebook was purchased new from a big-box store with Windows XP pre-loaded.  I experienced some serious system problems that required a reinstall of the operating system.  With the original restore disks that came with the notebook nowhere to be found, I  purchased the System Recovery Media from Gateway through their Recovery Media Purchase Program.  I received the disk from Gateway and proceeded with the install (which installed cleanly).  However, when the notebook re-booted after the install I noticed that instead of Windows XP the notebook was now running Windows Vista. 

    I was able to use the notebook for about 30 days without any problems.  Now, When I start the notebook I am immediately taken to the "Windows Activation" screen where I am given the options of 1)Reduced Functionality/Buy a Product Key, 2) Typing in a different product key, or 3) contacting Gateway for help. 

    Unfortunately option #3 proved fruitless.  No one at Gateway has been able to help me with this situation as of yet, hence my search for answers elsewhere.

    The COA for the Windows XP that was originally installed is still on the bottom of the notebook and that is the product key that I entered when the Windows Activation" screen popped up. 

    Is my problem due to the fact that Gateway sent me the wrong System Recovery disk?  I don't think Windows Vista likes the product key for XP. 

    Any assistance or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


    Thursday, July 30, 2009 7:30 PM


  • Is my problem due to the fact that Gateway sent me the wrong System Recovery disk?   

    Hi Kelee,

      Yes! that is precisely the problem.  

      The disc Gateway sent you will only work on a computer that originally came with Vista pre-installed.  

      Computers that come with Vista Pre-installed (made by Gateway and other large computer companies) have a specal code inside the Bios Chip on the computer's motherboard.  This code tells Vista it's ok to selfactivate.
      When you used the Vista Recovery disc to install Vista on your computer, Vista couldn't detect that specal code (because this specal code thing wasn't out when XP was released and is only compatible with Vista) so Vista couldn't self-activate. But instead, it waited the 30 day Grace/Trial Period and then gave the Non-Genuine message.

      At this point, to resolve the non-genuine issue, your options are 

    Get an XP recovery disc (make sure it's the right recovery disc for your model of notebook) 
    Buy a full version of Vista and install it using the Retail Product key that comes in the retail box.

    Hope that helps,
    Darin MS
    • Marked as answer by Darin Smith MS Wednesday, August 5, 2009 5:32 PM
    Thursday, July 30, 2009 9:23 PM