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  • Question

  • Hey everyone I got a product key for Windows Server 2008 R2 from my University (MSDNAA) and I installed and activated Windows just a couple of weeks ago and also upgraded to Service Pack 1 without a hitch. I also made a disk image of the system so that if I buggered it up I could nuke and restore, however on configuring Active Directory I've just been greeted with a message stating that I may be the victim of piracy.

    However I've just checked the System control panel and Windows still states that it is activated and lists the product ID that its had since activation. The message originated from SLUI.exe and was executing from the genuine System32 directory.

    I have just run SFC /SCANNOW and that has stated that some files where corrupt and was unable to fix them. But my question is this, is there any way to force Windows to do an activation check to make it realise that it is genuine?

    Sorry for the essay like message, however I figured you might want to know the events leading up to the message.

    Thanks, Michael.

    Thursday, March 10, 2011 1:38 AM

Answers

  • I can see rebuilding due to the errors you received. You may want to back up the product activation files but there is no need. Windows will re-activate on the same hardware as often as you like. It only requires Microsoft intervention if you change 3 or more major hardware components. Where you had issue with the activation would definitely not re-import those files as you may re-import the problem. The back up and restore of the activation files is basically a hack not an accepted procedure. I only referenced it earlier implying somebody may have edited those files in an attempt to hack the activation and caused the popup and the file corruption.
    Rob Williams
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 1:35 AM
  • Hello again Rob.

    I am happy to report that my server installation has not produced any more problems and is ticking over nice and easily so that pop up must have been a fluke.


    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 6:16 PM

All replies

  • Try from an elevated command prompt (right click on the command icon and choose run as administrator) the slmgr command.

    slmgr /?  will list all options

    slmgr /dlv  will display the detailed license information

    slmgr /ato  will activate windows

    If necessary you could try re-installing the CD key and activating

    slmgr /ipk  installs a new product key


    Rob
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 2:03 AM
  • Hi Rob.

    I ran the SLMGR /DLV and it reported that it was activated and displayed the first portion of my product key, running /ATO told me that the activation server stated that the product key had exceeded its activation limit. Doing /XPR stated that Windows was permanently activated and would not expire. I've only just restarted the server and I'm going to keep an eye out for that message popping up again.

    I've checked the Event Logs and none have indicated the system being marked non-genuine or that message ever popping up, so I am wondering whether or not it was just a fluke.


    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 3:21 PM
  • Very odd. I have seen it popup once and only once on a legitimate Win 7 box.

    Let us know if it returns.


    Rob
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 6:16 PM
  • I have just run SFC /SCANNOW and that has stated that some files where corrupt and was unable to fix them. But my question is this, is there any way to force Windows to do an activation check to make it realise that it is genuine?

    Thanks, Michael.

     

    If I were you I would just wipe it clean and start over. I wouldn't want to comtinue using that install if something like that happened with a clean install.

    Thursday, March 10, 2011 6:22 PM
  • @RobWill - Well so far the message hasn't reappeared and I am on doing another SFC scan to see if those system files have been repaired so I will let you know what happens.

    @kgrrtt2004 - The only thing I have is the disk image I initially created after I installed and activated Windows, I cannot reinstall as last time I did so I ended up not being able to activate as the MAK product key wasn't accepted by the activation server and phoning the activation centers at the moment is not possible as funds are really short at the moment, although I do appreciate the advice.

    If the message does re-appear, I'm going to restore the disk image, however as with all cases I can't be sure whether the disk image would not be affected as well.

    UPDATE: SFC reports that some files where still corrupt despite and would repair them on system reboot, however I checked the CBS.LOG file and the files stated where to do with Direct3D and none were related to the actual Software Protection mechanism.

    OTOH the message has not re-appeared yet neither.


    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 6:32 PM
  • You mention "your University"; is your product key activating to Microsoft on-line or a University KMS server? If Microsoft it should activate on the same hardware with no problem and with no Microsoft intervention. You said last time it would not activate which is interesting, especially where you may have "missing or corrupted files". No chance you have corrupted WPA.dbl and/or WPA.bak files due to someone tinkering with the activation process? KMS can have different issues such as that popup if it can't connect to the KMS server or it has not contacted the KMS server for 180 days to re-activate.
    Rob
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 6:54 PM
  • My university product key was provided by MSDNAA, however I'm not sure whether or not it was activated with Microsoft or not, although I don't think my university has a KMS server. The time it failed to activate was related to a DreamSpark product key and is not remotely related to the current version I am running on my server. The thing is though the system was activated just short of three weeks ago.

    I know in Windows XP and Server 2003 you could backup the WPA.dbl/.bak files if you needed to reinstall and Microsoft detailed this process quite some years ago however I have no idea if Windows Server 2008 R2 can do such a process and even if it did, I wouldn't know how to, unlike XP and 03.


    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 6:59 PM
  • To be honest I don't know if the WPA files exist on 2008, they do on Win7, I was more asking if the activation process might have been "modified" if you had problems reactivating, which might explain corrupt files and the genuine advantage popup.

    On the same hardware re-activation after a clean install should just work.


    Rob
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 7:10 PM
  • Well I was thinking if I partitioned the C drive and installed Server 2008 R2 to the seperate partition, I would be able to test if the system would activate without nuking my current installation. Would I be able to do this without potentially causing my working install to mark itself as non-genuine because I tried/successfully activated the new installation?

    It's a bleeding nightmare when you daren't even reinstall Windows in order to fix a problem. :-/


    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 7:16 PM
  • I wouldn't. That could present different issues.

    If considering a re-install, if needed, Microsoft support for activation issueshould be free.


    Rob
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 7:27 PM
  • Well I'm going to monitor the server for a couple of days to see if the message was a fluke because functionality wise, Windows is fine, Active Directory is ticking over fine and Security Essentials hasn't stopped working (Which would have been the case had the system been marked non-genuine) and the system has been running for 4 and half hours solid now and has not had any problems.

    The part about support should be free might not be exactly true in my case as the last time I had activation problems I was calling from a mobile and I don't know if it's related to me being in England too but my 10 pound credit got swallowed after a couple of minutes. I will let you's know if the message re-appears in the next week, so I'm not going to close this thread just yet.


    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Thursday, March 10, 2011 7:37 PM
  • Hello again guys.

    I've decided to reinstall Windows and have restored the activation files for it from a backup I made, (Speaking of which Rob, the same process used by 7 is used by Server 08 R2, here's the guide I used. http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/09/24/how-to-backup-and-restore-windows-7-and-server-2008-r2-activation-status-activate-offline-on-reinstall/).

    I am a little bit gutted on the fact that I just managed to get AD and the Group Policy for the domain setup which was kind of a pain in the backside. However I haven't recieved any errors about Activation nor when running SFC so I'm guessing the installation might have just been a bit dodgy.

    On the whole, I thank you for the help you gave me and hope that my link will provide you with a little bit of payback really. With regards, Michael.


    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 12:12 AM
  • I can see rebuilding due to the errors you received. You may want to back up the product activation files but there is no need. Windows will re-activate on the same hardware as often as you like. It only requires Microsoft intervention if you change 3 or more major hardware components. Where you had issue with the activation would definitely not re-import those files as you may re-import the problem. The back up and restore of the activation files is basically a hack not an accepted procedure. I only referenced it earlier implying somebody may have edited those files in an attempt to hack the activation and caused the popup and the file corruption.
    Rob Williams
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 1:35 AM
  • I tried re-activating with the product key prior to restoring the activation files but it did not work and I got the usual product key has exceeded its activation limit message but as I stated there have been no errors and upon checking on the server just now, the desktop was still the same blue-ish colour and was just ticking over whilst blinking the hard drive light in a pattern (Makes me wonder what Intel put in the Xeon's because I haven't seen that since the old 95 days), the System control panel still stated it was activated and showed the correct product ID.

    Running SLMgr.vbs again with the usual options all showed the same results, to be honest Rob I think it might just have been a fluke because XP and WGA had a few mishaps about product activation in general and those where actually on the server side if I remember the news story correctly. I have reinstalled MSE on the server and that hasn't stated anything about the system not being genuine.


    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 3:02 PM
  • Interesting the "exceeded its activation limit" message should only appear if installed on different hardware.

    You mention MSE. I assume MSE = Microsoft Security Essentials. It is not supported on servers. However, was it installed before? There is a known issue with it causing the Genuine Advantage warning on a legitimate system:

    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/protect/forum/protect_start/genuine-windows-validation-error-with-microsoft/22930cda-a0bd-4263-890b-ddf812859ca4

    For servers you should be using Forefront Client Security, which is not free, but the basic client is very reasonable.

    http://www.microsoft.com/forefront/endpoint-protection/en/us/previous-version.aspx

    Is this license a TechNet or Action Pack license, and may have been installed before?


    Rob Williams
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 3:44 PM
  • Yep, Microsoft Security Essentials, I know the original version doesn't support being installed on servers however the new version to runs and installs on Server 08 R2 without a hitch. I don't know the exact license type as I downloaded it through my University's Acedemic Alliance system, I have thought about using Forefront but when I was taking it into consideration, I happened to stumble across a web page which stated that the new MSE v2 installed and worked fine on their servers.

    I got in touch with one of the fellas which said MSE worked fine on their systems and asked if they have had any issues since and they replied back stating that it is still running rock solid.


    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 5:30 PM
  • I suspect you are actually using the Forefront Client. It is very similar to MSE. Full Forefront is quite an investment and has full client management capabilities, but the base client is very affordable and compatible. MSE as I understand it is still not supported on servers although it may work. More importantly it would be a huge licensing violation for a University to run on the free MSE version. It is allowed in businesses now with a maximum of 10 computers.

    Regardless, my point was, there is a known issue with it and Genuine Advantage as per the link provided.


    Rob Williams
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 5:45 PM
  • Oh I'm not actually working for my University, I'm just a student making use of 08 R2 for my networking course. Here is a screenshot of the servers desktop running with the appropriate dialogs to for proof, and about the theme I tend to like the server to look good whilst I'm initially setting up and will automatically disable it once I feel the server is ready.

    Beats the drap Windows Classic look.


    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 5:55 PM
  • That is MSE. The only difference with Forefront its the tell bar at the top which says "Microsoft Forefront Endpoint protection. As mentioned I don't see either versions being the problem, only the Genuine Advantage I pointed out which applies to both.
    Rob Williams
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 7:40 PM
  • Well as I mentioned before it hasn't stated anything about the system not being genuine and it had been running fine on this installation as well as the installation prior to that. At the moment though I'm pretty sure it was a fluke however I will keep an eye on the system to see if it re-occurs and if it re-appears before the end of next week, I will let you's know.
    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 7:46 PM
  • Sounds good.
    Rob Williams
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 7:56 PM
  • +1 Cool points for you as I only ever hear that from the my house mates. XD

    I'll keep you's up to date. But thank you for the help so far.


    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 7:59 PM
  • Hello again Rob.

    I am happy to report that my server installation has not produced any more problems and is ticking over nice and easily so that pop up must have been a fluke.


    I use the Apple way of life with developing software, "It isn't a bug, its a feature."
    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 6:16 PM
  • Good to hear, thanks for updating.
    Rob Williams
    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 6:40 PM