Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


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

  1. #1


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

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


    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:

    Windows 8 became inactive - a long story

    Now, today this has happened again.

    I was preparing my machine for the Windows 8.1 upgrade this week and I found a new driver for my USB WiFi adapter. I had been running a Win 8 beta driver and this was a WHQL signed driver for Windows 8.

    I downloaded the driver, installed, and re-booted.

    My desktop now showed the Windows build number in the lower corner and the Action Center said I needed to activate Windows.

    When I put in the product key, I got this message:

    Click image for larger version

    This is exactly the same error I got in August.

    I have called MS Support several times today and spoke with several people who bumped me up a level after they were unsuccessful.

    They each went through the same steps that were tried the last time: slui calls, slmgr calls, etc.

    Each time the license fails no matter how they reset the conditions.

    I am waiting for a return call and I am very dismayed at this situation.

    I built this computer a few years ago using a Windows 7 Professional OEM license. I upgraded last Christmas to Windows 8 Pro when they had the reduced price roll-out and I got a free upgrade to the Media Center. In August I entered the new license key that that tech had supplied to solve the first problem. Now I am back in that position again.


    Does anyone have any idea what is going on here?

    The exact error in the Event viewer is exactly the same as the event that happened last August (I saved all those event logs). It looks like this:

    Installation of the Proof of Purchase failed. 0xC004F061
    Partial Pkey=XXXXX
    ACID=xxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxx
    Detailed Error[?]

    I blocked out the partial key and ACID, but they are both identical.

    After I last activated windows I printed out this command (I blotted out the actual data):

    >slmgr.vbs -dlv


    Output:


    Software licensing service version: 6.2.9200.16384


    Name: Windows(R), ProfessionalWMC edition
    Description: Windows(R) Operating System, RETAIL channel
    Activation ID: --------------------------------------------
    Application ID: -----------------------------------------
    Extended PID: ---------------------------------------------------
    Installation ID: ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Use License URL: https://activation.sls.microsoft.com...tension=Retail
    Validation URL: https://validation.sls.microsoft.com/SLWGA/slwga.asmx
    Partial Product Key: --------
    License Status: Licensed
    Remaining Windows rearm count: 999
    Trusted time: 2013-08-21 5:59:08 PM

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


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


    Well, I fixed it.

    I had worried that if I restored an old image, the license would still be screwed up, but that didn't happen.

    I restored an Acronis image from last week and the system comes up fine.

    The license data from

    >slmgr.vbs -dlv

    matches the original.

    Still, I would like to know what went wrong so I could avoid it next time.

    Perhaps when 8.1 rolls out in a few days I won't see it again. We will get new licenses won't we?


      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1


    Still, I would like to know what went wrong so I could avoid it next time.
    Logic would dictate that whatever went wrong happened between the time you created your last system image and your successful restoral attempt. That's a no brainer because you fixed it! However, one would also have to be aware of all activity "in between" to take an educated guess as to what really caused the issue and the only person who can evaluate all those "in between" activities is you; unless you want to start listing all the things you actually did during that timeframe. Good luck.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    When it prompted to activate this time, were you running 8 Pro or 8 Pro plus Media Center? When you went to activate Windows what prompted you to enter a key? Usually it will just try to activate with the current in use key. All so what key did you enter? MC or 8 Pro? I'm thinking you caught in a catch 22 as far as entering a key. The Media Center key can only be used for an upgrade though add features, Windows won't accept it as a key for installation. I know your not installing in this instance but that may explain the "this key can only be used for upgrading" message. If your 8 Pro key was an upgrade key that may also get you that same error message, just a guess on my part. I have no idea why Windows became deactivated? Normally you would have to switch a lot of hardware for that to happen. Or swap out the motherboard. That usually only happens if Windows detects that you've moved it (the hard drive) to a new PC or something like that.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


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


    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    When it prompted to activate this time, were you running 8 Pro or 8 Pro plus Media Center? When you went to activate Windows what prompted you to enter a key? Usually it will just try to activate with the current in use key. All so what key did you enter? MC or 8 Pro? I'm thinking you caught in a catch 22 as far as entering a key. The Media Center key can only be used for an upgrade though add features, Windows won't accept it as a key for installation. I know your not installing in this instance but that may explain the "this key can only be used for upgrading" message. If your 8 Pro key was an upgrade key that may also get you that same error message, just a guess on my part. I have no idea why Windows became deactivated? Normally you would have to switch a lot of hardware for that to happen. Or swap out the motherboard. That usually only happens if Windows detects that you've moved it (the hard drive) to a new PC or something like that.
    I was running 8 Pro plus Media Center.

    The key I entered was the 8 Pro key given to me by the tech support fellow last August during the first fix-up.

    The thing that prompted me to add the key was the warning from Action Center that Windows needed activation - clicking the Action Center exposed the "Enter a new Key' or 'Buy a new Key' window.

    There was no new hardware involved, just an upgrade of a driver for the USB WiFi adapter (NETGEAR WNA1100 N150 Wireless USB Adapter) from a Win 8 Beta driver. There have been no hardware changes since the Aug. 21 incident.

    I test a lot of audio software for several companies so I keep careful records of all my installs and uninstalls. There were 23 software installs between the time of the Acronis image on 10/7 and yesterday's disaster. Most of them are audio software VST's.

    I'll re-create the steps and see what happens this time.

    EDIT: and of course, the Windows Updates. After all, the reason I made the Acronis image on 10/7 is because it's just before Patch Tuesday.
    Last edited by arachnaut; 14 Oct 2013 at 11:07.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    The key you enter has to match the currently installed version. As far as I know 8 Pro + Media Center is going to want a Media Center key not an 8 Pro key. If it happens again I'd open the System Screen, Windows key and the pause/break key, then click activate windows in the Windows activation section. Then if that fails try entering your Media Center key.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


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


    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    The key you enter has to match the currently installed version. As far as I know 8 Pro + Media Center is going to want a Media Center key not an 8 Pro key. If it happens again I'd open the System Screen, Windows key and the pause/break key, then click activate windows in the Windows activation section. Then if that fails try entering your Media Center key.
    The tech support people went through every combination. They even asked for the Windows 7 OEM key from before the Windows 8 upgrade. They validated every key with some tools they have but could not get things to be accepted.

    I am going through the steps again, but I'm going backwards. I'll save the last Windows updates for last.

    I just installed the Netgear WiFi driver and restarted and things are still fine.

    Fingers crossed...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    I hope it all works out for you.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


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


    Well, seems like all is well. All the installs and Windows Update completed with no issues.

    Superficial tests seem to appear that I am back to normal.

    I still don't have a clue as to what went wrong to trigger the license issue.

    I'm making a new image backup now and hopefully the next big thing will be Windows 8.1 later this week.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Its good to hear your still OK. It sucks when you don't know why something goes south on you. Good luck with the Windows 8.1 update.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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