Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Windows 8 became inactive - a long story

  1. #1


    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts : 283
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64-bit)

    Windows 8 became inactive - a long story


    In the early morning of Aug 21, 2013 I saw a full screen desktop image saying in a big blue background: "Activate Windows".


    I had activated Windows 8 Pro on Dec 25, 2012 and installed the Windows 8 Media Center Pack upgrade on Jan 7, 2013. I had one product code/key for Win 8 Pro and another for Win 8 Pro with Media Center. I had no licensing problems during this time and only one hardware change - a new DVD drive to replace a broken one a few months ago.


    When I went to the System Control Panel it showed no product id and when I looked at the event viewer it showed several licensing errors:


    The first error was:
    Event 1017 Security-SPP:Installation of the Proof of Purchase failed. 0xC004F061


    The next was:
    Event 8211 Security-SPP:Update Windows license and product key tokens failed with 0xC004F061.


    The next was:
    Event 8228 Security-SPP:The rules engine failed to evaluate the rules. Reason:0xC004F011 Stage:GATHER_RULES_FROM_LICENSES


    When I tried to reactivate Windows via the Activation screen, it told me it could not do that - try later. I restarted and tried again - same message. So I clicked on the other link on that screen - the MS customer support line and called Windows support.


    I spoke with someone who tried a few things via remote desktop (msdt.exe was one of them). He poked in some activation data and it required a restart. When I restarted there was no real change - just a different error message:
    Event 8198 Security-SPP: License Activation (slui.exe) failed with the following error code: hr=0xC004C008


    I called back and got another fellow who tried similar things with no change and he transferred me to the MS Store.


    The MS store fellows tried a few things to no avail and transferred me to a 'Level 2' guy and I was assigned a case number.


    Level 2 guy (via remote desktop) made some registry changes and asked me to re-install Windows 8 from my install DVD. I told him I had made many customizations to Windows 8: custom locations to the Desktop, paging files, Windows Search, etc. He told me (basically) not to worry.


    The re-install took about an hour and he hung up when it started and called me back after a half-hour when it was still going on and then again shortly after it completed.


    After the re-install I went through the customization settings and found that my drives were enumerated differently which messed up most of my user folders. I had set up a J drive which located all my user folders (that is, the libraries were moved via the library 'Locate' context menu. That drive had a volume name of 'Jim' but it was now the K: drive. My old K: drive was now the L: drive. In fact I had all the drive letters from A-L except for J which was skipped for some reason. (I have a lot of drives).


    After I renamed K->J and L->K and rebooted, my desktop and user files were back to normal. Will drive letters ever go away?


    But there were many other problems - a device was not installed, the Classic Start button settings were messed up, the User pinned taskbar entries were lost and my custom toolbars were missing.


    I had to set up Chrome again and some services and so on. Windows update found 64 new updates to download (I had been up-to-date).


    I am still trying various programs and functions to see what still needs to be done. I've lost a lot of time and my system backups and image are probably now worthless since I have a different license code.


    It may take a another few days to get things back to the way they were before my license became 'inactive'.


    I don't know why this occurred and none of these people gave me a convincing reason why it happened.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 1
    Windows 8 Pro


    I have EXACTLY the same problem. I had to re-install Win 8 Pro and I did activation and updates. After that I used my key for Windows Media Center and it was installed. After reboot my Widows 8 is INACTIVE.

    Error Code:

    0xC004C004 (EDIT: 0xC004C003)

    "The activation server determined the specified product key had been blocked."

    Dear MS, your "artificial inteligence - server" IS WRONG! I have all proof of purchase of my Windows 8 and Media Center.

    I spend 1 hour on the phone (mostly waiting... shortly we will connect you!!!). Talking to Tech Support, Windows Store... back to Tech Support.

    I don't think I payed MONEY for my system to be "blocked"!!!

    BTW. I still need to call back! Since isn't activated!
    Last edited by Koko; 23 Aug 2013 at 07:09.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 60
    Windows 8.1 Pro Media Center X 64


    Gentlemen,

    Please see this thread.....I feel your pain. I really hope that you both get your issues/questions about why did this happen rectified!
    Fortunately after three calls to 'level 1' Tech Support...(about 10 hrs total on the phone).....then another 30 minute session with a 'level 2' Support Engineer.....my issues were solved.

    Windows 8.1 Activation Error: 0xC004C003

    P.S.S. I asked the MS engineer....if your servers are soooo touchy....why did Microsoft offer these separate Media Center Product Keys, which runs through the Microsoft store---------------->Windows 8------------>Add to features........
    She kind of chuckled......but did not have a concrete answer...at least over the phone where all conversations are recorded for quality control.

    Koko, this killed me.........lol

    "Dear MS, your "artificial inteligence - server" IS WRONG!"

    Albeit, in all fairness to MS.....they could have charged me $99 for the phone support, plus $69 or so for a new Product key....and my laptop came OEM with Win 7 pre-installed....and we all are aware that MS does not offer any support for Win 8. 1 Preview...so I was pleased, but no answers to why I was getting all the Win 8 Pro installation errors/issues locked drives, installation stalling ..etc.. after testing Win 8.1 Preview.
    Last edited by gahbmwm5; 23 Aug 2013 at 07:20.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts : 283
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64-bit)


    gahbmwm5,

    I read your thread, but I don't think it is the same problem. Several of the techs tried various phone activation strings. My key was not blocked - it just could not be found for some reason. I suspect some sort of corruption in the rules database. My machine is rarely powered down or restarted - this problem occurred in the middle of the night while the machine was idling.

    Since I'm posting again, I thought I'd relate the issues I had to clean up after the Win 8 re-install.

    The install was an in-place upgrade that 'should' keep all settings. The tech supplied me with a new key code.

    After the install, my drive letters were re-enumerated in a different order. In particular, the letter 'J' was ignored for some reason (maybe the re-install created a J drive Ramdisk?).

    My name is Jim and the J: drive was labelled 'Jim'. I locate all my user folders there: Desktop, My documents, etc.

    After the install, the Jim drive was now 'K:'. I had used the 'K:' drive for my 'Komplete' Library. Komplete is the name of a Native Instruments product set for audio production - synthesizers, samplers, etc. A huge Library over 400 GB. This drive was now labelled 'L:'.

    So after the install I got many location errors. It was easy to change the drive letters back to what they should be, though, but why was this even necessary? After those initial setting changes got most things working I immediately backed up the system image in case I needed to get back to this point.

    But here are some of the remaining issues:

    I had a huge hiberfil.sys file and a huge system restore point. I don't use the hot restart nor system restore (I just do full image backups fairly often). And now all my system images are useless because they have that old product key. I found this out because PerfectDisk no longer had enough free space to do a boot-time defrag.

    Had to do 'powercfg - h off' to fix the power plan settings and I had to turn off system restore twice - for some reason it kept on coming back. Those shadow copies were 38GB in size.

    My places bar (navigation pane) settings were lost - had to disable Homegroup and the Library display. I have 12 drive partitions so I need all that space just to get to them. I don't use libraries or homegroups.

    My Google symlink of Google appdata (internet cache, drive stuff, picassa stuff, etc.) is pointed to an E: drive - that was lost and had to be re-created. Even though I enable symlinks in a group policy, I have to be admin to make them for some reason.

    The LogMeIn app ('support.me' tool) did not uninstall itself - I had to clean up it's data folder in Appdata.

    There was a bizarre G:\ProgramData data folder created with WER data inside.

    The now-useless Windows.Old was 20GB in size. I moved it to another drive for safe-keeping and later deleted it.

    My Windows gadgets were lost (had to re-install 8GadgetPack). I like that clock and calendar.

    All my custom Windows File explorer settings were lost. I set up all folders as General documents with a lot of header display data (Date modified, created, last accessed, Owner, attributes, Path and Link Target). As I said, I do a lot of beta testing and I'm often redirecting program data to drives with junctions. I need to know a lot about files and folders structures. I often make mini-directories of program install locations, program data locations, appdata settings, libraries, user data, etc.)

    My GUI shortcut overlay icon (a tiny arrow to replace the big honker you get by default) was lost.

    The system services were set back to some defaults so I had to go to the black viper site to check them and set them to some more realistic settings.

    All my programs show up as installed on 2013-08-21 (actually I think it is just the 64-bit ones, some of the 32-bit apps have retained their install date). So forget about sorting the program installs via the control panel application. This is really annoying because I do a lot of software beta testing and I need to keep logs of things I install and uninstall. Fortunately I use Revo Uninstaller and it's logs are dated.

    Recycle bin icon was lost. You have to restore and do that icon,0 trick to get the full/empty display to work dynamically.

    Everything related to the tray bar was altered. My pinned data was still in the User pinned folder, but it was no longer pinned. When I re-pinned things I got two copies of the pins (I don't like to see a '-2' on a file name.) So that had to be fixed.

    My custom toolbars were lost and had to be reset. I use these as my 'mini-directories' of installed music applications and library data. It's hard to keep track of them all, I have several hundred audio applications, synthesizers, libraries, hardware, etc.)

    I do nightly Retrospect incremental file backups and routine Acronis image backups. I backup by partition, so all my old C partition backups and images were useless. I have these scattered among several external drives and a few large USB Flash drives. I recycled the Retrospect partition backup set for the system partition and deleted all my Acronis image backups. Then I re-created them.

    It's now been three days of constant routine grunt-work and I can easily make a careless mistake. So I better take a break...

    I'd hate to think of the impact something like this would be for someone with a solid-state drive. The wear-leveling stuff would be pretty heavily exercised by the massive data relocations this causes.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 60
    Windows 8.1 Pro Media Center X 64


    Quote Originally Posted by arachnaut View Post

    It's now been three days of constant routine grunt-work and I can easily make a careless mistake. So I better take a break...
    arachnaut,

    Yikes...you are a true IT professional, and I'm confident that you will get your system back to your specifications.

    Good luck...but definitely 'take a break'.....for at least a little while.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts : 283
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64-bit)


    To continue with story...

    Since things were looking good I did a Disk Cleanup and an sfc/scannow check.
    I did the sfc /scannow as one of the first things after the new install and it was fine.

    The Disk Cleanup was taking quite a long time, but I left it running and came back a few hours later and it was finished.

    Then I ran sfc /scannow and it found some problems that needed a restart to fix. After the restart I repeated the process.

    I went through this several times and it looked like things were not improving, so I checked the CBS.log file and didn't see anything that looked wrong, so I just ignored it.

    Then I did a system defrag due to all that cleanup and I saw a humongous 4GB 'Reserve.tmp' file in WinSxS.

    Looking at it with a binary editor I found it was completely filled with zeroes.

    Knowing that would be easy to re-create, I just deleted it.

    A restart showed no problems, but I got to checking the web for signs that others might have seen this and I came across this nightmare related to KB2821895:

    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_8-windows_update/kb2821895-windows-8-x64-update-06112013-problem/eed54c3d-37c2-4965-8974-3f323b4e8e24

    This update compresses files and does stuff in preparation for Win 8.1. How lucky for us. That's why Disk Cleanup took so long. I was wondering what that TiWorker process was doing, now I know.

    So then I ran the DISM commands and got this result:

    Code:
    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.2.9200]
    (c) 2012 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
    
    
    C:\Windows\system32>DISM /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth
    
    
    Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool
    Version: 6.2.9200.16384
    
    
    Image Version: 6.2.9200.16384
    
    
    [==========================100.0%==========================]
    The component store is repairable.
    The operation completed successfully.
    
    
    C:\Windows\system32>DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
    
    
    Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool
    Version: 6.2.9200.16384
    
    
    Image Version: 6.2.9200.16384
    
    
    [==========================100.0%==========================]
    The restore operation completed successfully. The component store corruption was repaired.
    The operation completed successfully.
    
    
    C:\Windows\system32>sfc /scannow
    
    
    Beginning system scan.  This process will take some time.
    
    
    Beginning verification phase of system scan.
    Verification 100% complete.
    
    
    Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.
    
    
    C:\Windows\system32>
    It didn't take all that long for me, some folks said it took a long time to complete.
    So now I suppose I can rest easy.

    By the way, I came across this link that explains how the windows software protection mechanism works and the part WinSxS plays in it:

    Should you delete files in the \WinSXS directory? And what

    Good reading...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 60
    Windows 8.1 Pro Media Center X 64


    Quote Originally Posted by arachnaut View Post
    To continue with story...

    It didn't take all that long for me, some folks said it took a long time to complete.
    So now I suppose I can rest easy.

    By the way, I came across this link that explains how the windows software protection mechanism works and the part WinSxS plays in it:

    Should you delete files in the \WinSXS directory
    Good reading...

    arachnaut,

    Outstanding, and thanks for the KB 2821895 nightmare info...I immediately went into my Windows update 'History'...and there it was glaring at me...I ran the C:\Windows\system32>DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
    Same exact results as you kindly posted. Then ran sfc /scannow:
    First sfc/scannow:

    Second sfc/scannow:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Command Results.jpg   Command ll Results.jpg  
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts : 283
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64-bit)


    I'm posting this to make a pointer to the second time this happened.

    Read it here:

    Windows needs to be activated -- AGAIN! Another long story

    I'm re-visiting this because another user had a similar experience and I wanted to re-link the posts.


    By the way, this problem has not happened since the Windows 8.1 update.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Windows 8 became inactive - a long story
Related Threads
A Horror Story in Chillout Room
Last Friday a very old lady (85) asked me to help her with her printer as it was only printing light purple. When I got into her computer it was a disaster. Requests were popping up all over the place and the Internet Explorer was opening up on weird pages and no matter what IP Address you TRIED...
On Aug 21, 2013 I had an experience where my Windows 8 installation somehow became de-activated. I outlined the situation in great detail in this thread: https://www.eightforums.com/windows-updates-activation/30105-windows-8-became-inactive-long-story.html Now, today this has happened again....
I searched the subject in this and SevenForums. Things start on Windows 7 and move on to Windows 8. I have a Windows 7 64bit system with internal and external hard drives. I bought 2 X 3Tb external hard drives and they worked fine so I bought 2 X 3Tb internals and formatted them as GPT etc and...
Edit, after posting I decided to search this issue and it appears this has been asked previously. Next time I will search THEN post! Hopefully I can explain this correctly: Is there a way to make inactive windows have a little more contrast around their borders? I have added a screenshot which...
New report shows Windows 8 sales remain sluggish; no significant growth in sight | Computerworld Blogs
Hi All!! Is there a way to change the border color of inactive windows? Currently mine shows as white/light gray (see image). Thanks!!
Behind the Windows 8 Metro UI | BUILD Conference Highlights | Channel 9
Eight Forums Android App Eight Forums IOS App Follow us on Facebook