Activation fails on Vista for Business [Upgrade] from Clean Install of crashed Windows 2000 Pro RRS feed

  • Question

  • After a serious hard drive crash of a Windows 2000 Pro machine, I purchased from a local retailer (Best Buy) an Upgrade edition of Windows Vista for Business (Part No. X13-22464-02) for "users running Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional."  As this PC was a victim of a HDD crash AND the back panel print stated that "you must perform a clean install of Windows Vista" if you are not "upgrading from Windows XP SP2 Home” or some other version of XP, I installed the Vista/Business O/S on a new HDD as a clean install per the instructions for "upgrading" from Win2K Pro.

    Upon attempting to activate the product this evening using the official Product Key/Proof of License, I received a failure code of 0xC004F061 with the following description: "The Software Licensing Service determined that this specified product key can only be used for upgrading, not for clean installations."

    Well, isn’t that special?  I can appreciate a good Catch 22 but I have only 29 days to fix this problem.  Have I just thrown away a boatload of money on a diabolically clever software scam or have some mischievous little code monkeys and/or marketeers in Redmondvilleland just been consuming a bit too much Bourbon with their Starbucks?

    Monday, February 5, 2007 7:44 AM

All replies

  • 27 Days until Vista dies and no response...maybe I'm not the only person with troubles...

    Upon trying to activate the product by entering the the Product Key on the box I purchased and selecting the "Activate Windows online now" button, I received a "Type a different product key for activation" error message with the following Error Details pop-up:
      "The following information was found for this error:
        The activation server determined the specific product key is in use."

    Hummmmmmmmmm.  Let's see...First, the software is purchased and installed per directions, the product key is entered, but it is not accepted.  Now the same unaccepted product key is flagged by the activation server as already being in use EVEN THOUGH IT HAS NOT BEEN ACCEPTED.  Having your cake and eating it too, Marie?  Yummmm. 

    The Vista Self-Destruction downdown clock ticks relentlessly towards obilvion...

    Wednesday, February 7, 2007 3:06 AM
  • you have to call msft telephone activation and explain the problem . they should issue you a new key.
    Wednesday, February 7, 2007 2:27 PM
  • Not real helpful as as no telephone number provided.  So searching Microsoft for "phone activation Vista" yields the following advice elsewhere in TechNet:

    "You can obtain the telephone number by running slui.exe 4 at the command prompt. You can also obtain the telephone number by clicking Show me other ways to activate in the Product Activation wizard. Optionally, you can find the phone number for your location in the %systemroot%\system32\slui\phone.inf file."

    Slui.exe 4 actually works and I am presented with the Windows Activation window and a toll-free phone number (866-740-1256) which is quickly and professionally answered by a cheerful and helpful sounding robot.  We work our way through the nine 6-digit Installation ID groups, my carefully enunciated rendition of digits spurred along by the gently supportative chatter of Robo-girl.  When we have finished, Robo-girl takes a brief pause and returns to politely tell me that the 54-digit Installation ID I have provided is illegal. bogus, or something of that nature and I should return the package to the vendor.

    Dollars to doughnuts, Best Buy will gladly refund my money when I present them with my opened Windows Vista package and explain that Microsoft told be they were selling bogus copies of Vista...

    Anyone got a number to talk to a real human for activation?

    Thursday, February 8, 2007 2:47 AM
  • OK, the phone number for human 90 day technical support is 1-866-234-6020. Surprisingly short wait; the world is indeed flat....anyway,

    The plot thickens...after a delighful but disturbing chat with a real technical support human (thanks, Vanessa!), I find that my shrinkwrapped copy of Windows Vista for Business Upgrade that I purchased from the Johnson City, Tennessee, Best Buy on Feb 2, 2007 at 11:50 a.m. (and has not been out of my home) has been flagged by Microsoft as having already been pirated with at least 25 "hits" (or whatever they call it).

     I can handle the NSA snooping the landline. monitoring my teenager's text messages (serves them right), and intercepting the all those credit card applications.  But a home-brewed pirate infestation? Yikes!!!

    Stay tuned...Tomorrow, I speak with the Microsoft anti-piracy folks and maybe a clerk or two at Best Buy (Keep those Vista receipts, boys and girls).

    Thursday, February 8, 2007 4:00 AM
  • The upgrade edition will sort out it's valid cd key only during upgrade installations, which can be a clean install, but only from an existing operational windows environment.  When started as a boot up environment, the vista DVD will identify itself as the FULL installation process, and the valid upgrade cd key will not be accepted.  See the difference?

    You will need to do a basic XP installation first and then use the Vista DVD setup from within that environment.... you can choose to do an option at some point in that routine to perform a new clean Vista installation, rather than an upgrade.  Then the valid cd key you have for upgrades will work.  Buggy for sure, given the amount of work put into the product.

    Thursday, February 8, 2007 4:11 AM
  • > You will need to do a basic XP installation first

    Hard to do as I a) had Windows 2000 Pro, not XP actually installed on the computer and b) this was a recovery from a serious hard drive crash using a new, virgin hard drive (no O/S onboard). 

    Please note that outside package actually states:

    "You must perform a clean install of Windows Vista and then reinstall your existing files, settings, and programs, unless you are upgrading from Windows XP SP2 Home or Tablet PC Edition, Professional (32-bit), or Windows Vista Home Basic."

    In effect, Microsoft seems to force users seeking to upgrade the O/S to Vista to first reinstall their previous O/S (Win2K, or an XP flavor) after a hard disk crash.  Question: If you have to spend all that time (re)installing the first O/S, why bother with the hassle of then plunging into a Vista install?   

    Thursday, February 8, 2007 4:35 AM
  • I have successfully used this method about a half dozen times: Install your upgrade version as a clean install WITHOUT entering the license key (starts 30 day trial mode). Run setup from Upgrade source again and this time input the Key during setup. You will have a "Clean" install AND valid activation. Upgrade media will "Upgrade" even from another Vista or RC install. Not entering the Key during the first install DOES get listed as a Full install; hence running Upgrade again changes key to Upgrade & Key works.
    Friday, February 9, 2007 2:57 AM
  • Cheers for telling me this, i had the same problem going on and now i am doing as you said and it works!!!!

    Like hell was i thinking of getting another Product Key...thats just more money. I knew there was a way out of it.

    Many Thanks.

    Sunday, February 18, 2007 6:48 PM
  • After eight (8) hours over two evenings and nights working with dozens of wonderfully polite MS Tech Support personnel in India and patiently explaining the situation and providing numbers, error codes, etc. a few dozen times, I finally got hold of someone who walked me through this very solution.  The method in a bit more detail:

    1. If you have started to reload data onto the machine, back up the data so you don't lose it in the format.
    2. Insert the Vista DVD launching the installer.
    3. Choose "Vista Home Basic" and install WITHOUT the product Key (per above).  It will take some time to install...When asked, DO NOT key in the Product key data.
    4. Once the installer has reformatted your HDD and completed the installation of Vista Home Basic, eject the Vista DVD.
    5. Push the Vista Upgrade DVD back into the PC and this time, when prompted, input the Product Key (on the inside of the box).
    6. Based upon the Product key, Vista for Business will be automatically installed...sit back & wait.  And wait.  And wait... 
    7. After the installer runs its course, activate the product.

    Good luck & best wishes.

    Wednesday, February 21, 2007 4:21 PM
  • This article from Brian Livingston verifies and provides a more detailed process for doing a "clean install" from upgrade media


    Friday, February 23, 2007 1:57 PM
  • Did you reinstall Windows 2000 on your computer BEFORE you installed Vista?

    If you didn't, this is the source of your problem. You need to do a clean install of Windows Vista, yes, but Windows 2000 MUST be PRESENT AND INSTALLED on your system for the upgrade key to work.

    Otherwise, you are doing a clean install and for that you need the full version of Vista. As some people explained, its possible to do a full clean install but it basically means having to install Vista twice overitself in order for the key to start working.

    Friday, February 23, 2007 3:25 PM
  • A re-install of Win2K might work...I don't know.  I wouldn't recommend it: the limited installation instructions on the Windows Vista Upgrade box (back side) specifically leave out Win2K in the list of O/Ss that do NOT require a "clean install" leading me to believe that a clean install IS probably required.  This is why the "official" MS work-around for this activation problem uses a temporary, non-keyed Vista Home Basic to load a recognized upgradable Vista installation before the "real" (i.e. activatable) upgrade can begin.

    To be honest, if I had to do it all again, I would have just reinstalled Win2K and left it at that, blowing off the Vista upgrade completely.  Well, at least for awhile (i.e., until appropriate software and drivers have been made available supporting Vista).  Almost a month after the roll-out, no less than three (3) of my "mission critical" applications and device drivers remain unsupported---not MS's problem per se.  However, my experience has served as a cautionary tale to wiser friends who now know to hold off for quite a while. 

    This is especially true now that I've found out that Microsoft requires purchasers of Vista Business to purchase 3rd party DVD decoders before being able to view video. Jeeze...


    Saturday, February 24, 2007 6:06 PM
  • Neither Windows 2000 or Windows XP "require" a clean installation, in fact unless you have a reason to the upgrade is the natural route of choice for installation of Vista.  IF you are using UPGRADE media than you need to UPGRADE.  It may sound too straightforward I don't know; I think you are making this difficult when there is no reason.

    How you upgrade is very easy.

    1. Boot into your existing qualifying OS.
    2. Insert Vista media and follow the prompts for an upgrade.

    The Upgrade takes very little time if there isn't much data or any conflicting upgrade problems with hardware or software.  A clean install takes roughly an hour so an upgrade is going to take a little longer than that.  Back in the beta days I left mine on overnight with an internet connection and all was well when awoke-painless.  It's also worth noting that the clean install takes much less time with the released code versus many of the beta versions so the upgrade process would likely also improve as well.

    The new installer process uses an image file of the entire OS (BTW all the flavors of Vista are on that media) and so images your HD with this and moves your existing bytes out of the way and then only moves back what is needed for the migration.  It's a huge step forward from all previous OS upgrade mechanisms.  It elimates the bloat of the old OS and has a net effect of no different system files than if you did the clean install.

    Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:49 PM