XP Reactivation questions?

  Chegs ®™ 22:21 27 Nov 2005

Earlier today, I had the annoyance of having to reactivate my XP Home. I run 2x120Gb SATA HD’s on a Gigabyte GA7VAXP Ultra motherboard and an IDE HD to carry the OS. I have 1Gb DDR RAM (PC2700) the CPU is an AMD XP2600 (slightly tweaked with dipswitches to XP2700) and I have used several different apps to create images of my HD.(Drive Image/TrueImage/XX Clone are some of them)

My daughter PCI TV card had been acting up, so I installed it into my PC to see if I could fathom out its problem. With it inserted, my PC refused to boot, so I removed it again. During its installation, I noticed my numerous fans and the CPU Heat sink were covered in dust so chose to leave my PC off whilst I cleaned out the crud. Once completed, I fired up my PC forgetting to stop the boot for a few minutes to allow the SATA’s chance to wake up. Sure enough, this caused the return of an old problem whereby one had not been detected by the controller. I let my XP finish booting to desktop, then straight away restarted my PC only this time entered BIOS (without altering anything) giving the errant SATA chance to get going. After a few minutes, I let boot up continue and was pleased to see both SATA’s were now showing on the controller.

This quickly turned to extreme annoyance as I was presented with the reactivation message (similar to) “Due to your exceeding the number of changed hardware components, you must reactivate XP now.” I couldn’t do this via the internet (exceeded the max number of times…etc) so had to phone MS on UK 0800 number. Then I got the automated voice requesting I input the 40+ number sequences via the phone keypad. The automated voice informed me that this wasn’t accepted and I would be placed on hold until a MS human could talk me through the activation by giving me the 40+ numbers XP needs. I had only to wait a few seconds before I was talking to “Mahout” from MS’s call-centre. He asked for the first six numbers off my activation screen which I duly gave him. He then asked how many PC’s I have this OS installed on. “One, this one” I replied. “Where did you buy it?” was his next question… “Dixon’s” was my response. “What reason did I reinstall XP?” where upon I replied “I haven’t reinstalled, I simply rebooted and was asked to reactivate” He then gave me the 40+ numbers to achieve reactivation, only he further fuelled my annoyance by giving me the wrong numbers for the first block of six, requiring a restart of the number exchange. Trying to make “Mahout” understand that XP had popped up a message stating wrong numbers was not easy as his English wasn’t brilliant.

I appreciate that MS are trying to reduce piracy, but I’m getting somewhat peeved at having to “jump through hoops” to use XP. The CD was bought from Dixon’s with my money, therefore its mine to do as I please with. If I have a problem with the OS, then I recover from images only now all my images are no ruddy good as each time I use them, I have to reactivate before I can use the PC.

This brings me round to my questions on XP activation. Pre SP-1 I recall reading that reactivation was only necessary if a certain number of hardware items were changed. This allowed users to swap RAM/CD-ROM etc, but I now learn that increasing RAM quantity can trigger reactivation or as in my case over clocking the CPU (only I’m not able to ascertain this as it’s a week or more since I upped the multiplier on my CPU so if that was the cause of my incident today why did it not ask for it last week?)
What ARE the hardware changes allowed before XP requires reactivation?
If it is required simply by OC’ing then I’m never going to be off the phone as I frequently tamper with FSB, RAM Timings, etc.

Sorry for the very long post, but I think I’ve covered everything leading up to reactivation.

  Skyver 22:25 27 Nov 2005

It may not narrow it down much but I recently added 256mb and another HD (HD from the owner's previous machine) to an XP box and the re-activation request appeared. Have to tackle it sometime this week.

  PSF 22:47 27 Nov 2005
  Chegs ®™ 23:14 27 Nov 2005

"Scenario A:

PC One has the full assortment of hardware components listed in Table 1 above. User swaps the motherboard and CPU chip for an upgraded one, swaps the video adapter, adds a second hard drive for additional storage, doubles the amount of RAM, and swaps the CD ROM drive for a faster one.

Result: Reactivation is NOT required."

Only this must be out of date information,as I haven't changed anything on my PC,and skyver has not exceeded the number of hardware items or altered any of the items excluded from reactivation compliance.

I was refering to another PC where all they'd done was upgrade the quantity of RAM from 1Gb to 1.5Gbs and they had to reactivate,yet I decreased my RAM quantity from 1.5Gbs to 1Gb recently(sold a stick to girlfriends brother)and didn't have to reactivate. I also know of another PC where they changed graphics card and DVD-ROM to DVD-RW and they too had to reactivate.

Whats going on?

  Djohn 23:25 27 Nov 2005

Same here as Chegs already knows. Few weeks back I fitted a new DVD burner and a new graphic card. Guess what? Yep it asked me to re-activate.It was only one click via the internet and activation was successful, but this is ridiculous.

I know and understand what the requirements for activation or re-activation are, my changes or upgrades came no where near the allowance. It does appear that since I agreed to let Microsoft run a verification check on my hardware/software a couple of months back, the goal post have changed.

  Forum Editor 00:22 28 Nov 2005

will automatically allow Windows XP activation to occur over the Internet four times in one year on what they call "substantially different" hardware. In addition, reinstallation of Windows XP on the same or similar hardware and a subsequent reactivation can be accomplished an infinite number of times.

Incidentally - your comment that "The CD was bought from Dixon’s with my money, therefore its mine to do as I please with" is substantially incorrect - you can do as you please with the plastic that the CD is made of, but the software on it belongs to Microsoft - you simply bought a licence to use it on one computer, and only then if you comply with the terms and conditions of the licence.

You've emailed me to ask if I can obtain clarification from Microsoft. I can, but I know they'll simply point me to the link that has already been posted by PSF.

  Chegs ®™ 09:01 28 Nov 2005

I read the link supplied by PSF,but dont believe that to be correct.I haven't changed any hardware and had to reactivate.DJohn only changed his graphics card and DVD optical drive and had to reactivate.CurlyWhirly only added 512Mbs RAM and was asked to reactivate.Skyver added RAM and HD and has to reactivate.

Somethings changed,as in Microsoft has "moved the goal posts" and I can show it!

I spent awhile last night creating an image of my OS as it now is.I then removed a stick of RAM,and recovered my HD from the image.I was asked to reactivate.I then replaced the RAM,but altered my multiplier and again I was asked to reactivate.I then swapped my Ti4800 graphics card for a TNT32 and yet again I was asked to reactivate.

None of these items (according to MS) should create the situation where I need to reactivate,yet I was being asked to.

I then used an image created Oct last year.It cared not how many changes I made to my hardware(following the same changes as above)I could tweak my multiplier,swap graphics cards,add RAM,remove RAM and was able to boot without reactivating.

I then returned my hardware to the same state it was when the last image was created and recovered my OS and was able to boot up and post this.

  phono 09:58 28 Nov 2005

Hats off to you Chegs ®™, your actions are truly above and beyond the call of duty, I somehow doubt, however, that MS will pay any attention to what you seem to have proven.

  keith-236785 10:19 28 Nov 2005

Just an addition for chegs ammunition.

I bought an OEM version of winXP Pro from an official vendor, at the time i was not prepared to install it as i was about to do a system upgrade and didnt want the agro of reactivation. i put the cd in the drive to test it, it autoran and i cancelled it....put it away for about two months.

so far so good, this is where the fun starts. once i had done the upgrades, i installed the OEM winXP Pro, all went well and i chose to activate later (wanted to make sure everything was ok) all was ok at this point.

on recieving a warning that the 30day trial was about to expire, i decided to activate the LEGALLY BOUGHT version of winXP Pro, it did not accept my code no, i was requested to call M$ and give the number to the contact, i was then told that the number had "EXPIRED" AND I HAD TO CONTACT THE SELLER FOR A NEW NUMBER. i had checked the disc was authentic via ms websites guidelines. Unfortunately i cant find the reciept or remember where i got it from.

So £90 of MY money spent on a product i can not use. IS THIS LEGAL, selling a product which i am unable to use because of M$'s stupidity and reluctance to believe an honest request (i know they dont know i am honest but......)

here i am now stuck with a £90 cd which is useless, does anyone have any ideas what i can do to sort this, i have always used Microsoft legal versions of windows BUT NO MORE will microsoft get any money from me. in going Linux, i would still like to be able to sell this Unused OEM version of winXP Pro albeit at a loss as the price has now dropped.

P.S if their call center was in the UK or was staffed by people who spoke english then things might be sorted a little easier. im sure Mr Gates can afford a call center of this sort.


  Chegs ®™ 10:26 28 Nov 2005

I have always had a penchant to experiment,but its looking like I am going to have to cease tweaking or put MS activation number into the phones memory. ;-)

As these changes are likely to affect all users of XP,its not just going to be me thats looking for a response from MS as to why they have altered the reactivation requirements.

FE has said I'm incorrect in my assertion that the software is mine to do as I please with,that I'm only licenced to use it on one PC and then only if I comply with the licence terms.Okay,I'll go with that but only if MS stop moving the goalposts.

I have several different imaging apps,also had(until this carry on)many images,which are now deleted as they are no longer of use.Or are MS suggesting I create an image to suit every tweak? ;-)

And so the numbers mount,so I'm not a single voice of dissention. ;-)

  phono 10:49 28 Nov 2005

I had to reactivate XP when I removed an ISDN card and fitted a LAN card as the result of installing broadband.

At the time it reactivated via the Internet without problem but I was taken aback at the suggestion that my hardware had "significantly changed".

Like you I am beginning to consider a switch to Linux, if XP is anything to go by we will all have to be contortionists, not to mention multilingual, in order to activate and reactivate Vista, should we choose to install it that is.

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