Windows logs in and straight back out, can't validate. RRS feed

  • Question

  • Okay, first of all, thank you for taking your time to read this.
    My question is at the end of this, I simply thought you should know the details behind the problem first:
    My Flash drive was corrupted, so I downloaded a program to restore this on Windows XP [There was half a years work on it, and my back ups were over a week old, so I was desperate to get those files back]. The next instant I was bogged down with a question if I accepted the TOS agreement to an anti virus(I already had one, so I didn't want this), However there was no exit button, and my Alt+F4, would not shut it down. Alt+Ctrl+Del was similarly locked, saying I did not have the rights to access this (I am an Adminstrator). Then Windows shut down and when I tried to re-boot into Windows XP, at the end of the boot, the computer crashed(giving me the smallest glimp of a blue screen.
    So I flicked to Windows Vista, used AVG to scan for viruses, which it found 114 of. I then did it again with the trial of ESET's NOD32. This found a further 37.  I then tried to re-boot into XP, that was a no-go. So a week later(after getting my work up to date for school), I tried doing a repair install.
    This seemed fine, and worked... up until the point where I needed to enter my XP serial code, and found that I couldn't find it.
    I said to myself, fine, I'll just skip this step, boot into XP, and see if I can find it floating around in there somewhere(or failing that, ask my manufactor for my serial key, they had already forgotten 2GB's worth of RAM, which they kindly sent down to me, and I installed).(This is my 3rd PC running Windows XP Pro, the other two also didn't come with a serial code).
    All fine and dandy until I try to log on. Windows asks me to activate before I can log on. I'm still without a serial code here, so I say no thank you. At which point it logs me out.(Not that it even fully logged me in before).
    I try to log on again, Windows starts logging on, reaches loading personal files, and then logs me back off. Without asking me to validate.
    It does this for every user, so I try safe booting, same deal with the adminstrator account.
    So I try repair installing. See if it will now ask me to validate. It reaches the part where it asks me for the serial key, I cheekily grab the one from my laptop(thanks to Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder). Windows Accepts this and I carry on.
    I reach the log on screen.
    Try to log on and no joy, just logs me straight back off, without asking me to validate.
    So I am completly lost, I have no idea how to continue. I would prefer not to reinstall as I have lost some of the CD's to games and programs that I have on there.
    So my question is, how do I activate windows in this situation?
    Sunday, August 31, 2008 11:24 PM


All replies

  • Dark Cursader,

    First a few words on Software Licensing (I hope this helps explain a little bit about this process). But first I have to get the particulars out of the way. 

    The purpose of this forum is the support of the WGA program.  Software licensing is off topic as well as outside my area of knowledge. I would like to provide some information which may help. There are two types of licenses for XP that consumers will encounter. Retail (aka the full version product), and OEM (original equipment manufacturer product).

    Retail licenses may be moved from one computer to another, as long as the license is activated on one computer at a time and as long as the previous installation of the license is removed from the previously licensed computer.

    OEM licenses for XP are tied to the first computer onto which they are installed and the license is not permitted to be moved on any other computer.  For the purposes of defining what a computer is, since a computer is really just a collection of parts, Microsoft has established that the motherboard is the base or "defining" component, and the OEM license is permanently tied to the motherboard.

    There is one exception. If a motherboard becomes defective, you are permitted to change it and reinstall your OEM XP license to it.  You should replace it with an identical board or the manufacturer's designated replacement. OEM licenses obtained thru a major manufacturer that uses SLP technology set the recovery or repair CD to look for certain bits in the BIOS of the official manufacturer's motherboards.  If such bits are not found, as they would not be if you replaced the defective board with one not from the original computer manufacturer, then the CD will refuse to install XP. The correct thing to do in these cases is to install XP using a genuine system builder/OEM Microsoft Windows XP CD-ROM, which does not have the SLP technology.  When installing, be sure to use the Product Key on the Certificate of Authenticity affixed to the computer, and NOT the Product Key that came with the CD-ROM. (Note that retail and Volume License CDs will NOT accept OEM product keys, returning an "invalid product key" error.)  Finally, when installation is complete, do a Telephonic Activation because the OEM PK on the COA will not be accepted by the automated online activation system.  If the automated telephone system also refuses activation, choose the option to speak with an activation rep and explain that you are replacing a defective motherboard and cannot use the manufacturer-supplied recovery CD-ROM.

    One does not "lose their license" for XP if the motherboard becomes defective and has to be replaced.  If the computer owner chooses to use, or because of availability is forced to use, a board that is not a direct or identical replacement, there has to be a mechanism to accommodate these circumstances, and that is why a telephonic activation is authorized.

    Note that if the computer owner decides to replace the motherboard for performance reasons or to add features or new technology, the defective exception is NOT applicable and a new license for XP is required to be purchased. A clean installation destroys all data on the hard disk, so be sure to back up any valuable email, pictures, docs, music, etc that you cannot afford to lose.

    Next, if you registered your computer with your manufacturer, you may be able to contact them in an attempt to get information regarding your license/product key. Information on how to contact them can be found at your manufacturer's website under a support link. Outside of this, I really don't know any other way of retrieving your product key outside of the avenues you have already taken.

    I hope this information helped.

    Rick, MS

    • Marked as answer by RickImAPC Tuesday, September 2, 2008 4:12 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by Dark Crusader Wednesday, September 3, 2008 10:44 AM
    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 4:12 PM
  • Well, I was never worried about my product key.
    I don't think I was installed under OEM in any case as it was custom built, and it cost me $199 to buy XP, which I got the official CD for. I just don't know where the official logo thingy with the Product Key went(it has been removed and stuck somewhere obviously as there is a big rip out of the case).[The others are, which is what I think you were saying]

    That's besides my point.

    What my question was, how do I make it ask me to validate again?
    It refuses to ask me to activate. It doesn't even give me the chance, just instantly logs back out as soon as I try to log in.

    When I entered the Laptop's product key(when asked to by the installer), when it got to the log in page it didn't even ask me to validate my install. Just carried on rejecting my log in attempts.

    I don't mind having to buy a new product key, I'd just rather not loose those files, as there is several grand worth of stuff installed.(Which even if I had all the CD's/DVD's would be a pain to re-install). I had just got settled into my XP, had everything set up the way I wanted it.
    But I also don't want to spend $199 or whatever when I don't have to. So the question is, if I repair install again, with a new product key, will it finally give me the validation screen back?

    I am, and always have been a Windows person, my first such problem with Windows(hell, my first computer lasted me 10 years(Win 95, lol)). It would be a shame for one computer to ruin six other computers worth of good experience(two laptops and three desktops). Five of which have been with XP, and they never ever gave me such a problem, even upon repair installing(hell one of them never even asked for a product key after repairing, this is my 3rd time repair installing, first time when I couldn't find my serial).
    • Edited by Dark Crusader Wednesday, September 3, 2008 10:45 AM Adding stuff
    Wednesday, September 3, 2008 10:43 AM
  • Dark Crusader,

    Have a look here:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555648

    And here:  http://www.compatdb.org/support/topics/179496_windows_logs_in_then_out.html

    Based on your descriptions of your XP installations, we have serious concerns about whether your manufacturer is providing you with Genuine Windows.

    When you get up and running again, please follow these steps:

    If the computer is operational, run the utility at this link http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=52012, then click the Windows tab, click the "Copy" button, then paste the report into a response in this thread.

    Step 2 is to look on the computer or with the materials you received with the computer or with your retail purchase of  Windows to see if you have a Certificate of Authenticity (COA).  If you have one, tell us about the COA.  Tell us:

    1.  What edition of Windows XP is it for, Home, Pro, or Media Center, or another version of Windows?

    2.  Does it read "OEM Software" or "OEM Product" in black lettering?

    3.  Or, does it have the computer manufacturer's name in black lettering?

    4.  DO NOT post the Product Key printed on the CoA.

    Not sure what to look for?  See this page for reference:  http://www.microsoft.com/resources/howtotell/en/coa.mspx

    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    Wednesday, September 3, 2008 2:58 PM
  • Dark Crusader,

    Your post from Sunday, August 31 indicates you had PC Security issues which led to you reinstalling your Operating System. Then you couldn't get logged on without product key. Then you wrote "I just don't know where the official logo thingy with the Product Key went" in your post today, Sept. 3rd. 

    Your question was: "how do I make it ask me to validate again?"  First, this is not a "Validation" problem at this point. It is an "Activation" problem and it is out of scope for the Windows Genuine Advantage program forum. PC Security issues are also out of scope for this forum. Second, at this point it is rejecting your log-in attempts. If you paid $199 for a Retail copy of Windows XP, then the short answer and bottom line is that you will need your product key to continue further. I could give you the information for telephone activation, however, you will still need your product key.

    I know this comes a little late, but when it comes to Microsoft products, it is very important to save and catalog your product Certificate of Aunthenticities, Product Key Stickers, and Paperwork. It's also important to register your computer, activate, and validate.

    If you are able to find your product key, please repost here so we can continue further.

    Rick, MS
    • Marked as answer by RickImAPC Wednesday, September 3, 2008 3:24 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by Dark Crusader Friday, September 5, 2008 8:44 AM
    Wednesday, September 3, 2008 3:23 PM
  • Okay, I have finally found my COA
    Windows XP Professional
    OEM ***Looks like you were right, there goes another $199 when I want to update my hardware***
    Product key: [Not that silly]

    It was not attached to my PC, it was floating around attached the plastic wrapping in the CPU cooler box(the manufactor sent out all the boxes etc they used to make it[I always keep all the documentation holed up somewhere safe, just in case of such an emergency, just wasn't expecting it to be there...]).

    My Computer's have all been from different people, Compaq, Toshiba and I can't remember the others.

    I repaired windows again, entered my Product key, tried to activate, but my internet was dead in the water.
    Told it to skip(the first process assured me I had 25 days of grace to activate, so I thought I'd just set up my net and activate).
    Unfortunatly, the program lied to me, Started Windows like normal, went to log in, and it did the same thing.
    Logged me straight back out.[Prehaps I should rephrase this, it starts logging me in, loading my personal prefrences, etc, etc, then once it hits a certain stage, just says, saving personal prefrences and deselects it's self]
    Tried safebooting but same deal.
    So I shoved in my Vista CD, repair the bootmanager(as I'm dual booting here, I can't use Vista until I do that, but you already know that).
    Started up Regedt32, checked those files, they are all pointing to the correct place.

    What now?
    • Edited by Dark Crusader Friday, September 5, 2008 8:46 AM Adding log in/out details.
    Friday, September 5, 2008 8:44 AM
  • Dark Crusader,

    I believe it was logging you out because you were in reduced functionality mode. Here is some information in regards to telephone activation and activation looping. Here is the information which will help you.

    Thank you for visiting the Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program forum.  Your issue is related to Windows Product Activation.  The purpose of this forum is the support of the WGA program and your question falls out of the scope for our support. In an attempt to assist I would like to provide some information which may or may not help. I do suggest trying to activate using the “Activate by Phone” method from the activation Wizard. Telephone numbers for Activation Centers vary by product license and country/region. Use the number provided on your Activation Wizard screen to call the Microsoft Activation Center.  Please follow the below guidance for telephone activation for activating Windows. 

    To contact a Microsoft customer service representative to activate Windows by phone, follow these steps:


    Click Start,  All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then Activate Windows.

    Or, click the Windows Activation icon in the taskbar notification area next to the clock.


    Click Yes, I want to telephone a customer service representative to activate Windows now.


    Click Read the Windows Product Activation Privacy Statement, click Back, and then click Next.


    Follow the steps in the “Activate Windows by phone” dialog box, and then click Next.

    Note The number appears now and differs based on the location that you select.


    When activation is completed and you receive the following message:

    You have successfully activated your copy of Windows

    Then click OK.

    More information on how to activate Windows XP see the following link:


    Also you may reference the following site for various telephone activation centers:


    Here is the website for international support and the contact information:


    After you finish the above steps please restart the computer and try to validate Windows again. See the following link:


    Please locate the “Validate Windows” button in the upper right hand corner. Double click on the button and follow the guidance.

    Activation Looping

    Some users, when they try to bring up the Windows Product Activation window, the window does not come up,  comes up but displays a “Fault Error”, comes up and is blank, or they can't get to a point to bring up the window due to the looping issue. 

    If one of these customer scenarios defines you, please see this post for a possible fix for your issue:


     If you are receiving the error "...the number of times you can activate Windows with this product key has been exceeded" while trying to Activation over the Internet, you are permitted to reinstall and activate XP as many times as you want to. This comes with the caveat that as long as your use of Windows XP is in compliance with the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA).  After a certain number of activations within a certain time period, automatic online activation will be suspended (This will also happen the first time you reinstall and activate some OEM versions of Windows XP), which will require that you do a Telephone Activation. To do so, rerun the Activate Windows Wizard and select "Activate my product using the telephone".  Follow the phone prompts.

    If the automated telephone activation is not accepted, you will be offered the option to speak with a live activation representative.  Choose that option.  The rep will ask a few questions for the purpose of confirming that you are still using your license for Windows XP in accordance with the EULA.  If this is confirmed, the rep will issue an activation code for you to enter into the Activation Wizard.

    Thank you for contacting us here in the WGA program forums.

    I hope this information helps you.

    Rick, MS

    • Marked as answer by RickImAPC Friday, September 5, 2008 2:49 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by Dark Crusader Tuesday, September 23, 2008 6:22 AM
    Friday, September 5, 2008 2:45 PM
  • Dark Crusader,

    So essentially what we have here is an OEM installation of XP Pro dual booted with an installation of Vista.  The XP Pro starts and runs but does not allow an interactive logon--it starts to log on your user but balks and logs you out.  The XP installation has valuable files on it that you absolutely have to preserve.

    Let's concentrate on retrieving your files and worry about the XP installation later.

    I think you attempted to check the registry entries that often are the cause for the quick log out.  You can check the XP registry remotely over a network.  You might be able to do the same check with your dual booted Vista (I have not yet tried it), but you have to remember to check the XP registry from Vista.  Just firing up regedit will check the Vista registry unless you tell regedit to look for the XP registry which should be on the XP partition.

    Here are ways to retrieve your files:

    1.  Start the computer to the Vista installation and access the files using Vista.  Hopefully your XP and Vista installations are on separate partitions.  Can you navigate with Windows Explorer and copy the files from the XP partition to a suitable location on the Vista partition, or perhaps onto a flash drive or external disk or a network share?

    2.  Perform a parallel installation ( http://support.microsoft.com/kb/316941 )of XP onto the XP partition.  This installs XP's OS files into a different folder (other than the default c:\windows) and generates a whole new registry, but puts user profiles into the same c:\documents and settings folder.  You would retrive your files by copying them off to a separate location, say a flash drive, external drive, or network share.

    3.  On a different XP computer, make a BartPE disc.  (Google for details).  Start the computer from the BartPE disc, and copy essential files onto a flash drive, external disk, or network share.

    4.  Once the files have been offloaded, go ahead and do a clean installation of XP using your systembuilder/OEM CD and Product Key.
    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    • Marked as answer by RickImAPC Monday, September 8, 2008 3:06 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by Dark Crusader Tuesday, September 23, 2008 6:22 AM
    Saturday, September 6, 2008 6:01 PM
  • Thank you all for helping, and Dan you have helped greatly so far.
    I indeed edited XP's files using a Hive load.(I had to google it for help xD)

    1) Yes they are on seperate partions, and I have offloaded the files to my External Harddrive. My Vista's partion is smaller than my XP's as XP is my workhorse and I use Vista for just general computing.
    My next question for you dan is how to get the registry files so that I can run the applications.
    Would I have to hive load XP registry and backup every one of the application's registry? or is there a more simpler way to get the applications to run in a new XP install? (In my past experience some applications, when moved from one Windows XP to another will refuse to run without copying the necessary registry files in. (I haven't really moved one application from one pc to another much).

    Also, to my annoyance, I finally managed to get the Windows Activation box to come up, and I activated using telephone as it still won't automatically run my network, which it accepted and thanked me for, but still logs me straight back out.
    Well actually, now it hits a blue screen pauses for a second, and then logs me back out, progress of sorts. I'm going to use the live scanner again, see if there is a virus, I'll post my results below. I just double checked the registry, still pointing to the right place but I replaced it and copy pasted from the KB article.(Replacing X with C obviously).
    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 6:39 AM
  • The live scanner picked up 5 more viruses and killed them, so I'm going to try one last repair install tomorrow.
    • Marked as answer by RickImAPC Tuesday, September 23, 2008 3:16 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by Dark Crusader Wednesday, September 24, 2008 4:46 AM
    • Marked as answer by RickImAPC Wednesday, September 24, 2008 5:53 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by RickImAPC Wednesday, September 24, 2008 5:54 PM
    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 12:39 PM
  • Dark Crusader,

    Thank you for visiting the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program forum.  The purpose of this forum is the support of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program. Virus isses on your computer are off-topic for this forum.  

    Please c
    all our
    <removed by Moderator: Phone number no longer in use>

    This phone number is for virus and other security-related support free of charge. It is available 24 hours a day for the U.S. and Canada.

    Detailed information including selecting various regions for support can be located at:


    The following link regarding Cleaning a Compromised System can be found here:


    The following link regarding Computer Viruses: Description, Prevention, and Recovery can be found here:


    The best way for eradicating malware and virus infections is to re-image your computer. Reinstallation does take time. It may provide you with a better peace of mind overall.  Should you take this route and need assistance please reference the following How to Install or Upgrade to Windows XP article here: 


    The following article How to Install Windows XP may also be helpful for you:


    Now you will need HELP for fighting spyware and keeping a newly re-formatted system free from malware and viruses.  Please always ensure critical updates are updated by visiting the Windows Update site located here:


    Next you may want to download Windows Defender for free. Windows Defender will help thwart malware infestations. It can be found here:


     Next, the Microsoft Security Center has many links providing customers assistance for arming themselves against malicious activities which lurk around the Internet.  It can be found here: 

    http://www.microsoft.com/security/default.mspx .  

    Windows Live OneCare is a great tool for providing the following services: Antivirus & Antispyware, Online ID Protection, Firewall, Multi-PC Management, Printer Sharing, and Backup and Restore features.   Information for OneCare can be found here:


    OneCare will help detect and eradicate both malware and viruses from your system while silently running behind the scenes. OneCare may be purchased inexpensively from Microsoft Marketplace at the following link:


    I encourage regular visits to The Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC)blog located at the following link:


    Microsoft provides a real-time way for communicating with customers as well as helping customers understand Microsoft's security response efforts.  The following link is for the Security at home website:


    The following link is for the Security Guidance Center:

    http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/support/computer-security-overview.aspx - BulletinsAndAlerts

    These sites provide many links with detailed information covering PC Safety and Security. Please take the time and review the various links because there is a wealth of information for protecting families while using the computer.

    Thank you again for contacting the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program forums.

    Rick, MS

    • Marked as answer by RickImAPC Wednesday, September 24, 2008 5:56 PM
    • Edited by Darin Smith MS Tuesday, April 10, 2012 6:52 PM removed PC Safty phone number. Number no longer in use
    Wednesday, September 24, 2008 5:56 PM