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Genuine Advantage and a genuine copy


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#1
stucuk

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Folks,

Right I have a standard Acer tower PC with Windows XP Pro installed, it has the usual Microsoft sticker on the side with a product code on it as expected. Now the chap who owned this had a problem a few months ago and sent it back to Acer who, he says, reinstalled Windows but now he gets the dreaded Genuine Advantage notification saying his copy is not.

So I use Keyfinder and find the Windows key is nothing like the one on the sticker, I try the inbuilt change product code but it fails. I look on Knowledgebase and find the article giving the two methods i.e. via Registry or scripts. Choose to do the former which lets you get to Activation Wizard where you can choose telephone activation and enter a new product key but that also says it is invalid so I try to get an installation code and it refuses to give me anything. So I ring the Product Activation number and tell them and they put me on to Customer Support.

Customer Support actually validate the product code on the sticker and tell me to go to a web page to run an update routine from an asp page (sorry can't remember the link). Firstly this validates my files but fails saying the wininit.dll file is corrupt but I can carry on at my risk(?!) so I enter the correct key again and it starts the process, it gets 70% done then stops so I leave it running over night but it doesn't move so it is obviously not working so crash it out.

So there I am I have a valid key but I can't get the [bleep] thing into Windows and I don't particularly want to reinstall everything so anybody got any ideas? I very much suspect if I contact Microsoft again they will tell me to reinstall (having waited hours!) Any thoughts gratefully received, many thanks.
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#2
wannabe1

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Hi stucuk...

Do you have the installation CD? Is it an OEM or a Retail version?

wannabe1
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#3
stucuk

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Hi wannabee1 and thanks for the reply,

In terms of the version to which the sticker on the side refers it is an Acer Incorporated version so I assume OEM but as to the versin that is currently on there I don't know - is there a way to tell?

Many thanks.
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#4
stucuk

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:whistling: Sorry, answer the rest of the question now, no Acer's come with a 'recovery cd' but hat is a blitz and reinstall job. I do have other XP discs though - would a repair sort out the problem with the wininit.dll file and then allow the key modifier to work??
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#5
wannabe1

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Let's save the repair as a last ditch effort. Try System File Checker first.

Click Start then Run...type sfc /scannow (Note the space between sfc and /) and press "Enter". You will be asked for your installation cd, so have it handy. Wait for the scan to finish (this might take up to an hour). When it's finished, click Start then Run...type chkdsk /r (Again...note the space) and reboot when prompted (type Y and press Enter).

This will run on boot-up so restart will take a while...be patient.
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#6
tschrock

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I have seen this before. Acer may have used the Microsoft SystemBulder software to pre-load the hard drive. It sounds like someone forgot to exit audit mode at the factory.

Most of the time when you buy a new PC you have to enter the product key yourself after the first boot. If you did not have to do this, your PC is running in audit mode and is using a default product key.

Symantec offers instructions on exiting audit mode manually.

If that doesn't work, you can try a repair using an original Windows XP CD (Acer is required to ship one with the new PC, but it may not be a hologram disc) and the code on the side of the case.

Good luck!
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#7
stucuk

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Thanks for the replies Wannabe1 and Tschrock,

Well I ran the sfc /scannow which took about two hours to complete but it did and then ran the Microsoft Product Key Installation package again and the check on this occassion did not give me any errors so I carried on through to putting in my key and it (eventually) accepted it! I still ended up having to activate it over the phone but it did give me an installation key this time so they could proceed and it is now working fine.
:whistling:

Interesting about the audit mode, I checked that anyway but the entries weren't in the Registry.

Many thanks for all your help chaps - one happy computer again now. All the best.

Regards, Stu ...
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#8
wannabe1

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Glad we could help... :whistling:

Well done, tschrock...thanks for chiming in!
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