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Vista Error - Windows Must be reinstalled to Activate RRS feed

  • Question

  • First I want to say that I bought Windows Vista Ultimate recently and installed it on a brand new machine that I put together from TigerDirect. 

     

    I installed Vista Ultimate 4 days ago on my new computer.  During an install of a game last night I saw an error message last night on my Vista saying "Windows Dreamscene is not working" and "You may be the Victim of Software Counterfeiting".  I ignored the message and continued playing my game.

     

    This morning my Vista computer will not start.  The message I see is "Windows must be reinstalled to activate". 

    In the lower right corner of the screen it says "This copy of Windows is not genuine"  WHICH IS NOT TRUE AT ALL!

    I can start Windows ONLY in safe mode with NO networking. 

     

     

    I CANNOT PROCEED PAST THIS ERROR MESSAGE!!!   >>>  "Windows must be reinstalled to activate"  <<<

     

    I have checked the forums, and there are no good answers. 

    I believe that WGA has forced my machine into required activation, but with no method to do so.

     

     

    HELP ME TO UNBRICK MY NEW VISTA ULTIMATE MACHINE!!!!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Monday, December 17, 2007 2:12 AM

Answers

  •  

    While researching this problem I found the answer in another thread (and I fixed the mistake in the instructions).

     

         http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2559439&SiteID=25

     

     

    1) Open Internet Browser

    2) Type %windir%\system32 into the browser address bar.

    3) Find the file CMD.exe

    4) Right-Click on CMD.exe and select 'Run as Administrator'

    5) Type: net stop slsvc  (it may ask you if you are sure, select yes)

    6) Type: cd %windir%\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareLicensing

    7) Type: rename tokens.dat tokens.bar

    8) Type: cd %windir%\system32

    9) Type net start slsvc

    10) Type: cscript slmgr.vbs -rilc (It may take a long time for this to complete, please be patient)

    11) Reboot Twice

    12) You may be required to Re-Activate. Use the Activate by Phone method outlined above

     

    -TerryMc

    Thursday, December 20, 2007 11:39 PM

All replies

  • I was also able to run the WGA tool.  I waited 15 minutes on the "Windows must be reinstalled to activate" dialogue box, and a WGA IE window opened.  I went to this forum and downloaded the WGA tool and ran it.  Here is the diagnostic response:

     

    Diagnostic Report (1.7.0066.0):
    -----------------------------------------
    WGA Data-->
    Validation Status: Invalid License
    Validation Code: 50
    Online Validation Code: 0xc004f012
    Cached Validation Code: N/A, hr = 0xc004f012
    Windows Product Key: *****-*****-YGPHD-YYHC4-C4G38
    Windows Product Key Hash: W8z0JemWNNa9R+S29cr6gRkvo8w=
    Windows Product ID: 89580-448-7449855-71252
    Windows Product ID Type: 5
    Windows License Type: Retail
    Windows OS version: 6.0.6000.2.00010100.0.0.001
    CSVLK Server: N/A
    CSVLK PID: N/A
    ID: {D07E0839-6AAF-4BC3-8D63-4BABD7BB4896}(1)
    Is Admin: Yes
    TestCab: 0x0
    WGA Version: Registered, 1.7.59.1
    Signed By: Microsoft
    Product Name: Windows Vista (TM) Ultimate
    Architecture: 0x00000000
    Build lab: 6000.vista_gdr.071009-1548
    TTS Error:
    Validation Diagnostic:
    Resolution Status: N/A

    Notifications Data-->
    Cached Result: N/A
    File Exists: No
    Version: N/A, hr = 0x80070002
    WgaTray.exe Signed By: N/A, hr = 0x80070002
    WgaLogon.dll Signed By: N/A, hr = 0x80070002

    OGA Data-->
    Office Status: 109 N/A
    OGA Version: N/A, 0x80070002
    Signed By: N/A, hr = 0x80070002
    Office Diagnostics: FCEE394C-2989-80070002

    Browser Data-->
    Proxy settings: N/A
    User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Win32)
    Default Browser: C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe
    Download signed ActiveX controls: Prompt
    Download unsigned ActiveX controls: Disabled
    Run ActiveX controls and plug-ins: Allowed
    Initialize and script ActiveX controls not marked as safe: Disabled
    Allow scripting of Internet Explorer Webbrowser control: Disabled
    Active scripting: Allowed
    Script ActiveX controls marked as safe for scripting: Allowed

    File Scan Data-->

    Other data-->
    Office Details: <GenuineResults><MachineData><UGUID>{D07E0839-6AAF-4BC3-8D63-4BABD7BB4896}</UGUID><Version>1.7.0066.0</Version><OS>6.0.6000.2.00010100.0.0.001</OS><Architecture>x32</Architecture><PKey>*****-*****-*****-*****-C4G38</PKey><PID>89580-448-7449855-71252</PID><PIDType>5</PIDType><SID>S-1-5-21-3855396149-1649899379-2736748435</SID><SYSTEM><Manufacturer>System manufacturer</Manufacturer><Model>P5K-E</Model></SYSTEM><BIOS><Manufacturer>American Megatrends Inc.</Manufacturer><Version>0401   </Version><SMBIOSVersion major="2" minor="4"/><Date>20070530000000.000000+000</Date></BIOS><HWID>C7323507018400FA</HWID><UserLCID>0409</UserLCID><SystemLCID>0409</SystemLCID><TimeZone>Pacific Standard Time(GMT-08:00)</TimeZone><iJoin>0</iJoin><SBID><stat>3</stat><msppid></msppid><name></name><model></model></SBID><OEM/><BRT/></MachineData><Software><Office><Result>109</Result><Products/></Office></Software></GenuineResults> 

    Spsys.log Content: 0x80070002

     

     

     

    Monday, December 17, 2007 3:18 AM
  • Hello TerryMc

     

    You stated that after waiting about 15 mins, an Internet Browser opened up. Once the browser opens, please try the below steps.

     


    1) Type %windir%\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareLicensing into the address bar of the browser. 

    2) Rename tokens.dat to token.bak
    3) Reboot.
    4) Log in normal mode.
    5) Open a Browser and type %windir%/system32

    6) A folder will open, scroll down till you find CMD.exe

    7) Right Click the 'CMD.exe' file and select "Run as administrator"

    8) A window will open with a black background. Type in: net start slsvc

    9) Next type in: cscript slmgr.vbs –rilc

    10) Reboot computer twice

    11) You may be required to Re-Activate. I suggest using the Activate by Phone method outlined below.

     

    -Activating by Phone-

    a) If you have access to the Start button: Click the Start button, and type in "slui.exe 4" in the search field and then press the "Enter" key. This will bring up the Activate by Phone dialog window. Follow the steps provided by the window. The phone activation process should only take about 6 minutes.


    b) If you do not have access to the Start button: Reboot and login to Vista, a dialog window will come up. In that window, click the option "Access computer with reduced functionality". Once you do that, Internet Explorer or Firefox browser will open. In the address bar type "c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe" press enter, a new window will come up, type: slui 4 and hit enterand follow steps to Activate over the Phone.


    NOTE: The key to this process is that you need to talk to a Live Activation Rep! When you first call, you will be interacting with an Automated Voice, either select the option to talk to a Live Rep or if there is no option, do not enter any numbers. This should force the automated voice to tansfer you to a Live Rep.

     

    Please confirm that this resolved your issue or not.

     

    Thank you,

    Darin Smith

    WGA Forum Manager

    Tuesday, December 18, 2007 6:22 PM
  • Hi Darin,

     

    I followed your directions (and I will elaborate below), but Vista always returns to the dialogue box titled "Windows must be reinstalled to activate".  and the text says "Insert the Windows installation DVD or CD into your computer to begin the reinstallation process."

     

    Here are the details...

     

    [You said]  

    You stated that after waiting about 15 mins, an Internet Browser opened up. Once the browser opens, please try the below steps.

    1) Type %windir%\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareLicensing into the address bar of the browser. 

     

    [TerryMc]  I tried this, however I get a dialogue box titled "Address Bar" and the text says "Windows cannot find windows\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareLicensing"  Check the spelling and try again.  ... Believe me I tried several times and I typed it correctly (I took photos if you would like proof).  The autocomplete works up until the "Appdata" part, then it does not fill... 

     

    So I rebooted to "Safe Mode", opened the File Explorer, and went to the above folder.  I renamed the Tokens.dat file to Tokens.bak and I rebooted ( I found this alternate method while searching online ).

     

    Same problem.  When I boot in normal mode Vista always returns to the dialogue box titled "Windows must be reinstalled to activate"  and the text says "Insert the Windows installation DVD or CD into your computer to begin the reinstallation process."

     

    You will note that the only way to run the "Net Start slsvc" is if you are booting in Normal mode or Safe mode with Networking.  Booting into Normal mode or Safe mode without Networking always returns be to the Same Problem above. 

     

    Once again...  My computer will only show the "Start" button when booting to "Safe Mode" with no networking.    When I boot into any other mode, I get the "Same problem" described above.

     

    My new computer is still a brick and says "This copy of Windows is not Genuine" - and I can assure that it is indeed a Genuine version of the Vista Ultimate software.  In parallel I have opened a case with Windows Update Support (case 1052733925 ) and I have provided them with the actual 5x5 Vista Key. 

     

    Please help.

     

     

     

     

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 5:27 AM
  •  

    Please provide me with an update. 

    Thursday, December 20, 2007 6:48 AM
  •  

    While researching this problem I found the answer in another thread (and I fixed the mistake in the instructions).

     

         http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2559439&SiteID=25

     

     

    1) Open Internet Browser

    2) Type %windir%\system32 into the browser address bar.

    3) Find the file CMD.exe

    4) Right-Click on CMD.exe and select 'Run as Administrator'

    5) Type: net stop slsvc  (it may ask you if you are sure, select yes)

    6) Type: cd %windir%\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareLicensing

    7) Type: rename tokens.dat tokens.bar

    8) Type: cd %windir%\system32

    9) Type net start slsvc

    10) Type: cscript slmgr.vbs -rilc (It may take a long time for this to complete, please be patient)

    11) Reboot Twice

    12) You may be required to Re-Activate. Use the Activate by Phone method outlined above

     

    -TerryMc

    Thursday, December 20, 2007 11:39 PM
  • I followed the instructions and I am having the same problem.  can rename the file (had to find it from Command prompt using dir /s tokens.dat in the windows directory.  I have Vista on a BRAND NEW MACHINE $1200 from Best Buy.  I just installed Office about a week ago and it is a valid copy of OFFICE that I paid a fortune for.  
    When I reboot I get the same message 

    I can start Windows ONLY in safe mode with NO networking. 
    I get the following message "Windows must be reinstalled to activate".
    when I get to step 4 )Log in normal mode.  <   I can't do this.  It won't let me!

    When I try to run the commands in step 8 (net start slsvc) it says I can't run this command in safe mode. 

    I have had sooososososososo many problems with VISTA.  I thought by this time most of the bugs would be worked out.  Here it is Oct 08

    I don't know whether I should cry right now or go kick my dog. (just kidding all you animal lovers)  I just want to go outside and see how far I can toss this thing.  I can tell you for sure I will never buy anything with VISTA on it again.  My next laptop will be a MAC, Linux, or trusty XP.  I can't stand VISTA.  It is starting to remind me of Windows ME which was the biggest piece of junk ever put on the market. (UNTIL NOW...)

    Arrrggggg

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008 12:40 AM
  • Ok.  After doing some more reading, I found another thread that suggested the same answer.  And someone replied with the same problem that I was having and with a very unusual answer that by the grace of god, seems to have work!  I wanted to repost this VERY ODD answer...  It's kind of like tuning your radio to a certain station before you can start your car...  :-)

    Here is his answer.... It worked for me !!!!!   Sorry for being a little synical but when you spend that kind of money on something that is supposed to be state of the art technology, I have a right to be.  Thank God Apple is still in business and we have other options. 


    *******************************************************************
    Here's a serious complication though: the instructions above are not fully followable as written, specifically in steps 4 and 5.  Deleting tokens.dat did not change my situation in any obvious way, because the "must be reinstalled" dialogue box still prevented me from logging into normal mode and opening a browser.  I did eventually find a work-around, and it may or may not be the most straightforward possible way, but at any rate it worked for me:

    (1) On the login screen I have an accessibility icon: I can click it to activate features such as "magnified text" before logging in.  I tried this just for the hell of it when I had no idea what else to try.

    (2) The result was that upon logging in, I got not only the usual "Windows must be reinstalled to activate" message but also had the magnified text program running, with an extra window to control it.  Now here's the sneaky part: if you focus on that extra window and press F1, it opens a help window (as you would expect).  From here you can access the rest of Windows help, which includes any number of links to find additional information online, so clicking on one of these starts a web browser.  That's how I found out that I _was_ in fact still online, even though I couldn't even access my desktop directly.

    (3) Once you have a web browser running, you can access not only the net but also the files on your harddrive, using the "open file" or equivalent option and then browsing through directories.  I finally managed to follow through with step (5) of the above instructions by finding an HTML file on my harddrive and right-clicking on it to "Open with Internet Explorer" (which is not my default browser).  Then I was able to run "CMD.exe" as administrator and so forth.  There are surely other ways to do this.

    (4) From that point it was mostly smooth sailing, except for one minor point: for reasons that I don't understand at all, trying to copy and paste the command "cscript slmgr.vbs –rilc" into my command window didn't work (it claimed the option "-rilc" wasn't recognized), but it did work when I simply retyped the command by hand.

    I hope someone out there finds this information helpful and can therefore avoid the weekend full of struggle that I've had.  I'd still love to know what caused this problem in the first place, especially as various people have suggested the corruption could be caused by a bug in one of the recent Windows updates.  Does anyone have any further insight on this?  The whole experience has convinced me to shut off automatic updates and be very selective about which ones I install in the future.
    Tuesday, October 21, 2008 1:09 AM
  • Just wanted to say I had the same error last night, Terrymc's solution was the one that worked. On the last step in the command prompt itll display two lines right after you press enter but you still have to wait a bit until cmd gives you another option to input a command. Spent hours talking to dell with no help, this is the what fixed it. Thanks guys
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 9:37 PM
  •  TerryMc,

    I also wanted to jump in and say a big thank you. It worked for me too!. I appreciate the fact that you made effort to post step and step instructions and tried to clarify with side notes when there would be reluctance before proceeding with an action. I had some anxious moments before reactivating windows as it said I am using an unauthorized copy. But once I reactivated and rebooted a couple of times, I was able to verify it is genuine (I validated through www.microsoft.com/genuine) and was able to logon. Like another user said I too sought help from emachines technical support but they couldn't fix it. Your solution certainly saved me from a lot of headaches. Well, thank you again.
    Thursday, March 26, 2009 4:30 AM
  • Thanks! I'd just like to add that for the Re-activation process, I was able to use the online activation. I just flipped the laptop over and typed in the key.

    Worked like a charm.
    Friday, July 24, 2009 2:41 PM
  • Apart from finding a way to run CMD from within a file open dialogue I can say you rock TerryMc.

    Yet again this proves that the net is a greater source of help and valuable information than all the ms MSCE study guide books.

    Thanks you are a life saver

    Regards

    David M
    Wednesday, August 5, 2009 5:54 AM
  • THANKYOU THANKYOU THANK YOU i was having the worst day ever until i did this.  I'll explain my problem in case someone else has the same thing:
    -start computer , get warning saying "reinstall windows" "windows must be reinstalled to activate. insert cd or dvd"
    -inserting dvd DIDNT WORK because the drive wasn't working
    -restoring system wasn't working even after restoring to old dates
    -tried doing terry's thing through firefox but i was having problems.  to open explorer (im not a computer whiz) i clicked on the get help thing on the reinstall windows box, went to ask for professional, opened one of the links that opened the firefox browser.   From firefox i typed c: into the address bar, found internet explorer in the program files and then used terry's directiions from there and it worked on the first try.  yay.  sorry if the description is poor
    Friday, August 14, 2009 2:47 AM
  • How do you access the internet explorer when the message was "windows must be reinstalled to activate", I've hit CTRL ALT DEL, and  waited 15 minutes but the internet explorer hasn't shown up yet
    Thursday, August 20, 2009 1:45 PM
  • Hey everybody,

    I am having the same problem: can follow the steps in the beginning, but as soon as I reboot in normal mode, I cannot open explorer. Neither the "magnifying trick", nor the 15 minute waiting for an explorer window to pop up has worked. So now I am stuck. Isn't there any way to change from safe mode with network connection (which works) to normal mode or so? I am REALLY frustrated - this activate message just popped up out of nowhere and now I am sitting here with a useless PC. Annoying!

    PLEASE HELP :(

    Marian
    Saturday, August 29, 2009 4:51 PM
  • In order to get past the "you must reinstall Windows" screen click on "How do I reinstall Windows?". This will take you to the help and support window.
    When you get there type in command prompt
    click on open a command prompt window
    When that help screen comes up you will be able to click on 'click to open command prompt"
    You may have to run it as admin

    when you get to the new command prompt type in explorer.exe
    that brought up windows for me.

    If you need it here is the command line for run as admin

    runas.exe /noprofile /user:mymachine\administrator cmd
    It will then prompt you for a password for the admin account

    After I was able to do this I followed the directions above and was prompted for the license key.


    ----from above------

    While researching this problem I found the answer in another thread (and I fixed the mistake in the instructions).

     

         http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2559439&SiteID=25

     

     

    1) Open Internet Browser

    2) Type %windir%\system32 into the browser address bar.

    3) Find the file CMD.exe

    4) Right-Click on CMD.exe and select 'Run as Administrator'

    5) Type: net stop slsvc  (it may ask you if you are sure, select yes)

    6) Type: cd %windir%\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareLicensing

    7) Type: rename tokens.dat tokens.bar

    8) Type: cd %windir%\system32

    9) Type net start slsvc

    10) Type: cscript slmgr.vbs -rilc (It may take a long time for this to complete, please be patient)

    11) Reboot Twice

    12) You may be required to Re-Activate. Use the Activate by Phone method outlined above

     

    -TerryMc


     

     

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 8:30 PM
  • Please Note:  This thread is marked as answered.  It is assumed that if a thread is marked as Answered, it no longer needs attention from Support.  If the person that created the first post in the thread (i.e. the thread owner) thinks their question was not answered, they can set the thread back to unanswered, which tells support that there is still something in that thread that needs thier attention.


    This is why we ask that all user create thier own thread for their own issues. Then you can control if the thread is marked as Answered or not.

    Thank you,
    Darin MS
    Friday, October 23, 2009 7:37 PM