I recently helped a colleague with a Windows Vista Activation problem. The client system, running Vista Enterprise SP1, was unable to activate against our KMS Server. Since the system had SP1, the client was spared Reduced Functionality Mode, but she was getting frequent Windows Genuine warnings.
Here are some troubleshooting steps — for my future reference as much as anyone else’s — for for gathering information for diagnosing and resolving Vista and Windows 7 activation issues.
Quick Fix: Try this first!
Most Windows activation issues I’ve encountered are resolved by entering the appropriate product key (not a secret; see footnote):
|Vista Enterprise Volume:
|Windows 7 Enterprise Volume:
If you’re in Reduced Functionality mode, one of the options on the Windows Activation dialog box is to re-type or enter a new product key. Reduced Functionality mode has been removed from Vista SP1; however, alerts will still be presented. Alternatively, a new product key can be entered in the System control panel.
In either case, enter the code above and attempt to reactivate. If it works, you should be all set. If it doesn’t, the following steps will help identify the issue.
Gathering data is essential to fixing problems. If you ask me (or other IT staff) for help with Windows activation, the first thing I will ask from you is the output of the commands below.
I recommend opening a text editor and copying all the commands and output into a file, which you can send to us if you need additional help resolving the activation issue.
NOTE: All these steps require running commands from a console window (cmd.exe), which you may need to run As Administrator. These commands work in both Windows Vista and Windows 7.
1. Run ipconfig /all to capture current IP configuration information.
This could tell us whether the system is in a netreg-ed subnet and needs to register at http://netreg.uvm.edu, or if there are other basic network configuration problems. We really just need the Ethernet adapter, assuming that’s what is being used to connect the system to the network. We don’t need all the additional tunneling adapters, etc. If someone is using a wireless adapter, possibly with the VPN client, then info about those adapters also should be captured.