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"Product key not valid" error in Microsoft Games, MapPoint, or Streets and Trips

After you install one of the Microsoft titles that are listed in the "Applies to" section, and then you try to enter the product key when you are prompted, you receive one of the following error messages:
Error message 1
The product key is not valid. Please re-enter your key.
Error message 2
The product key entered is incorrect or invalid. If the product key was mistyped, please correct it and try again.
Note If you have lost a product key for any software, please contact Microsoft Technical support. A fee may apply to obtain a product key. See the "Contact Microsoft Customer Support Services" section in this article.
This problem may occur for one or more of the following reasons:
  • The product key is not entered correctly.
  • The CD-set number, the disc assembly number, or the part number was entered instead of the product key.
  • The product key for one product was entered for a different product.
To troubleshoot this problem, try the following methods in the order in which they are presented.

Method 1: Verify that you are entering the correct product key

To make sure that you are entering the correct product key, follow these steps:
  1. Verify that you are typing the product key and that you are not typing the CD-set number, the disc assembly number, or the part number.

    The product key is located inside the disc case or on the back of the disc sleeve on a rectangular sticker. The number is displayed in the following format:
  2. Retype the product key. Make sure that you type it correctly.

    Make sure that you type the correct characters. The following characters are frequently mistaken for one another:
    • B and 8
    • G and 6
    • U and V
    • Q and O
    • The letter O and the number 0 (zero)
    • The letter Z and the number 2 (two)
  3. Verify that you are using the product key together with the correct product. Product keys work only for the product that the product key is assigned to.
If you are entering the correct set of characters, and if you still receive the same error message, go to Method 2.

Method 2: Delete temporary Internet files

To delete temporary Internet files, follow these steps:
  1. Exit Internet Explorer.
  2. Exit any instances of Windows Explorer.
  3. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click Internet Options.
  4. On the General tab, click Delete Files under Temporary Internet Files.
  5. In the Delete Browsing History dialog box, make sure that the Temporary Internet files check box is selected.
    Important You also have the option to select other Delete Browsing History check boxes. Please be aware that by selecting any of these check boxes, you assume responsibility for deleting any browser-related files.
  6. Click Delete.
  7. After the selected browser-related files are deleted, click OK.
  8. Try Method 1 again.
If the problem continues to occur, go to Method 3.

Method 3: Restart the computer by using a clean startup

When you start Microsoft Windows, other software may start together with the operating system. These programs may include antivirus and system programs that may interfere with the game.

When you perform a clean startup before you run Setup, you prevent these programs from starting automatically.

For more information about how to perform a clean startup, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
331796 Perform a clean startup to determine whether background programs are interfering with your game or program
If the problem continues to occur, go to Method 4.

Method 4: Contact Microsoft Customer Support Services

If the previous methods do not resolve this problem, please contact Microsoft Customer Support Services for help. Make sure that you have the error message in front of you when you call. Also make sure that you have the product disk available so that you can provide the number that is located on the inner circle on the disc.

To contact Microsoft Customer Support Services, visit the following Web site. Select the appropriate product name, and you will be presented with options for contacting Microsoft Customer Support Services.


Article ID: 812467 - Last Review: 09/28/2011 21:52:00 - Revision: 17.0

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