Also, how to log on without activating Windows
Ghosted a machine to a new harddrive today, as the old one was failing.
Windows activation pops up on the first boot, as is to be expected, but when I clicked “Activate”, nothing happened. The activation wizard simply wouldn’t continue. And of course I couldn’t get in and activate the system normally, because Windows didn’t let me log on without activating. Gah!
The solution, it turns out, is the following:
- Start the machine, while repeatedly hitting F8 from just after the initial BIOS image disappears
- Choose “Safe-mode with command prompt”
- When the command prompt appears, type “explorer” and press <enter>
Now you need to (re-)install a hotfix, and Internet Explorer 8. Download them on another machine, and put them on a CD, a USB-stick, or whatever you have available. Install the hotfix first.
Hotfix KB946501: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/946501
Internet Explorer 8: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/default.aspx
Anyway, after they’re installed, reboot and activate as usual.
Worked for me