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Windows Vista Activation screen..

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Hi everyone. I am not able to access my legitimate Windows because of the activation screen. I've tried cscript slmgr.vbs -rilc, I've tried renaming tokens.dat to tokens.bar, I've tried phone activation with a person from Microsoft (who transferred me to a technician who, after many attempts, transferred me to another technician who still could not resolve the issue even after giving me a fresh product key and told me that I should just reinstall Windows), and I'm at a loss. I have many files and settings on Vista that will not fit on my other desktop, and I have some financial issues that prevent me from just going out and buying an external hard drive (I'll be starting graduate school and taking more loans after surviving off of loans in college).

I was wondering what system files that Windows Vista uses for activation besides the ones located in %windir%\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareLicensing.. I'm speaking of the other files that use the hardware to determine the correctness of the product key. I'm sure it's these other files that have gotten corrupted while I was trying to track down a virus on my computer for the past week. Is there any way to somehow extract these files from the Vista CD that came with my Dell laptop? And then replace the files on my computer to reset the key? Or perhaps install Windows on a different partition of this computer and then simply copy over these system files to the original Windows?

Here's some additional (optional) background info if you care to read on: I have Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit on my Dell Inspiron 1525 refurbished laptop which I purchased from Dell. It came with Windows already installed and it also came with the OS cd (probably in case anything were to happen). I have had this laptop for a few months, and about a week ago, I started getting blue screens at the startup that would not even let me into the computer. After many days of trying to "Repair Vista"/chkdsk with the CD, booting into Safe mode, and even booting into another operating system (Ubuntu) which I installed within Windows (with a program called Wubi).. I finally was able to get rid of the virus (which turned out to be a trojan called Alureon). I had run scans with Avira Antivir and MalwareBytes to do this. When I rebooted, it gave me the activation screen. After a wave of relief at seeing Windows finally boot, I looked at the bottom of my laptop and typed in the Product key. It said the key was invalid. I tried repeatedly, and then finally tried the phone activation. The code given by the representative was also invalid, and she transferred me over to a technician. He was able to access my computer by opening up a firefox link, and then navigating over to C:\windows\system32\explorer.exe and downloading it, and then running it. I also found I could access files by simply clicking "open containing folder" in the firefox download window. Anyway, he tried the steps listed above (renaming tokens, trying various things with slmgr, and then finally said another technician would call me back after researching more into the problem. After about half an hour, another technician called me back and tried some more steps, and finally tried giving me a new key. This came up as invalid as well, suggesting that the system files had been corrupted. He told me he was very sorry but my only option was to reinstall windows.

I know that it seems pretty hopeless since a Windows technician has told me to reinstall windows.. but I believe that this repair can be done with some patience, time, and dedication. I would thank anyone who is willing to help me. If there is any other information you require, please do not hesitate to ask.

Edited by Hartwendy, 23 August 2009 - 03:07 PM.

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