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Introduction

When you try to activate Windows 7 or Windows Vista, you may receive an error message that is accompanied by an error code and its description.

This article will guide you through step-by-step methods to help you resolve your problem. First, we'll take a look at your symptom, and then, based on your answer, we'll determine which of these methods we should have you try.

These are self-help steps for a beginning to an intermediate computer user.

Several methods require you to browse away from the page that you are now viewing. By browsing away from this page, the content that you are now viewing will no longer be displayed. So, before you continue, you might find it helpful to create a shortcut to this Web page on your desktop so that you can easily return to this page by double-clicking the shortcut. To create a shortcut to this Web page on your desktop, follow these steps:
  1. Right-click this page, and then click Create Shortcut.
  2. In the Internet Explorer dialog box, click Yes to create a shortcut on your desktop.

Symptoms

When you try to activate Windows 7 or Windows Vista, you receive the following error message:
An error has occurred
You also receive a specific error code and its description.

To know which method you should try to resolve your problem, locate your error code in one of the following lists, and then go to the recommended method for your error code.

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Error codeDescription
0xCD004F050The Software Licensing Service reported that the product key is invalid.
If you received the error code in this list, go to method A.


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Error codeDescription
0xC004C003The activation server determined the specified product key is in use.
0xC004C001The activation server determined the specified product key is invalid.
0xC004C008The activation server determined that the specified product key could not be used.
0xC004C812SL_E_CHREF_BINDING_0UT_0F_T0LERANCE: The activation server determined that the specified product key has exceeded its activation count.
0xC004C4CEUnable to find a detailed error description.
0x8007232BDNS name does not exist.
If you received one of the error codes in this list, go to method B.


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Error codeDescription
0xC004F027The Software Licensing Service reported that the license is tampered.
0xC003E004The Software Licensing Service reported that the license has not been evaluated.
0xC004E003The Software Licensing Service reported that license evaluation failed.
If you received one of the error codes in this list, go to method C.


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Error codeDescription
0xC004F033The Software Licensing Service reported that the product key is not allowed to be installed. Please see the eventlog for details.
If you received the error code in this list, go to method D.


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Error codeDescription
0XC004D401The security processor reported a system file mismatch error.
0x80080250Unrecognized error.
If you received one of the error codes in this list, go to method E.


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Error codeDescription
0x8004FC03Unrecognized error.
0X8004FE2DHTTP_STATUS_DENIED.
0x8004FE33HTTP_STATUS_PROXY_AUTH_REQ.
0x8004FE91HTTP_STATUS_NOT_SUPPORTED.
0x80072EE7The server name or address could not be resolved.
0x80072EFDA connection with the server could not be established.
0x80072F78The server returned an invalid or unrecognized response.
0x80072F8FA security error occurred.
If you received one of the error codes in this list, go to method F.

If the error code that you received does not appear in any of the lists here, please search the Microsoft Knowledge Base for more information. To search the Microsoft Knowledge Base, please visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/
Then, type the text of the error that you received in the Search Support (KB) field.

Methods to resolve your problem

Method A: Use Microsoft Knowledge Base article 950756

This method is rated: Moderately easy.

For more information about how to resolve this error message, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
950756 Error message when you try to activate a copy of Windows by using the Windows Activation wizard: "The Software Licensing Service reported that the product key is invalid: 0xC004F050


If this method worked, you are finished.

If this method did not work for you, you might want to ask someone for help, or you might want to contact Support for your next steps.

Method B: Verify your product key and use the "Change product key" feature to reactivate Windows

This method is rated: Easy.

If you were directed to this method, you entered an incorrect product key. See the product packaging to make sure that you have the correct product key. Then, follow these steps to use the "Change product key" feature and reactivate Windows:
  1. Click Start
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    the Start button
    , click Computer, and then click System properties on the toolbar.
  2. In the Windows activation section, click the Change product key. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type your password, or click Continue.
  3. In the Product key box, type the product key, and then click Next.

    Note Check the product packaging to make sure that you are entering the correct product key.
  4. Follow the steps in the Windows Activation Wizard to complete the activation process.
If this method worked, you are finished.

If this method did not work for you, go to method G.

Method C: Use the "Change product key" feature to enter your product key again

This method is rated: Easy.

If you were directed to this method, you have the correct product key, but you have to try entering it again to reactivate Windows. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start
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    the Start button
    , click Computer, and then click System properties on the toolbar.
  2. In the Windows activation section, click the Change product key. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type your password, or click Continue.
  3. In the Product key box, type the product key, and then click Next.

    Note Use your original product key.
  4. Follow the steps in the Windows Activation Wizard to complete the activation process.
For more information about error code 0xC004E003 in Windows Vista, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
950755 Error message when you try to activate a copy of Windows Vista: "The Software Licensing Service reported that the license evaluation failed: 0xC004E003"
If this method worked, you are finished.

If this method did not work for you, go to method G.

Method D: Verify that the product key is compatible with your version of Windows

This method is rated: Easy.

If you were directed to this method, your product key may not be compatible with your version of Windows. For example, if you have a 32-bit version of Windows, and you purchased a 64-bit upgrade of Windows, the new product key will not work with your current version of Windows. You can only upgrade a 32-bit version of Windows to another 32-bit version of Windows.

To complete this method, follow these steps:
  1. Determine whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start
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      the Start button
      , type system in the Start Search box, and then click system in the Programs list.
    2. The operating system appears as follows:
      • For a 64-bit version operating system: 64-bit Operating System appears for the System type under System.
      • For a 32-bit version operating system: 32-bit Operating System appears for the System type under System.
  2. See the product packaging to determine which version of Windows the product key is intended for (32-bit or 64-bit).
  3. If the versions are different, you will have to obtain the correct version of your upgrade.
For more information about all compatible upgrade options for Windows Vista, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
932616 Installation choices for consumer versions of Windows Vista (32-bit only)
932795 Installation choices for 64-bit consumer versions of Windows Vista
If this method worked, you are finished.

If this method did not work for you, you might want to ask someone for help, or you might want to contact Support for your next steps.

Method E: Obtain a compatible version of antivirus or DRM software

This method is rated: Moderately easy.

If you were directed to this method, your antivirus software or Digital Rights Management (DRM) software is incompatible with Windows.

To obtain a compatible version, follow these steps:
  1. Contact the software manufacturer of the antivirus software or of the DRM software to obtain a version that is compatible with Windows.  For more information about this issue in Windows Vista, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    931699 Error message when you use Windows Vista: "An unauthorized change was made to your license"
  2. Follow the steps in method B to reactivate Windows.
If this method worked, you are finished.

If this method did not work for you, you might want to ask someone for help, or you might want to contact Support for your next steps.

Method F: Verify that your Internet connection is working

This method is rated: Moderately easy.

To complete this method, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then click Help and Support.
  2. In the Search Help box or in the Search online Help box, type Troubleshoot network and Internet connection problems, and then click Search Help.
  3. In the list of topics, click Troubleshoot network and Internet connection problems.
  4. Click the link that best describes the problem that you are experiencing.
  5. Follow the suggestions to troubleshoot the problem that you are experiencing.
  6. When you are finished, follow the steps in method B to reactivate Windows.
If this method worked, you are finished.

If this method did not work for you, go to method G.

Method G: Activate Windows by using the automated telephone system

This method is rated: Easy.

To complete this method, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start
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    the Start button
    , and then click Computer.
  2. Click System properties on the toolbar, and then click Click here to activate Windows now in the Windows activation section.

    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type your password, or click Continue.
  3. Click Show me other ways to Activate.
  4. Click Use the automated phone system, and then follow the instructions that are provided.
If this method worked, you are finished.

If this method did not work for you, you might want to ask someone for help, or you might want to contact Support for your next steps.

Similar problems and solutions

For more information about reduced functionality mode, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
925582 Description of the behavior of reduced functionality mode in Windows Vista
For more information about the "activation period has expired" error message, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
925616 Error message when you start Windows Vista: "Your activation period has expired"
For more information about additional errors that you may receive when you try to activate Windows Vista, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
951287 A list of Microsoft Knowledge Base articles is available to help you troubleshoot error codes and error messages that you may receive when you try to activate Windows Vista

References

For help with common system maintenance tasks in Windows Vista, visit the following Microsoft Web page:
Fix problems with common system maintenance tasks

Properties

Article ID: 931276 - Last Review: May 30, 2013 - Revision: 6.0
Applies to
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Starter
  • Windows Vista Home Basic N
  • Windows Vista Home Basic N 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business N
  • Windows Vista Business N 64-bit Edition
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
Keywords: 
kbresolve kbtshoot kbprb kbexpertisebeginner KB931276

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