This article is intended for a beginning to intermediate computer user.You may find it easier to follow the steps if you print this article first.This article describes a problem in which you receive a "Your activation period has expired" error message when you start Windows Vista. A resolution for this problem is included.
Symptoms of the problem
When you start Windows Vista, you receive the following error message:
Activate Windows Now Your activation period has expired and Windows is no longer working. To use Windows you must activate this copy of Windows.
Additionally, the taskbar does not appear. You have limited access to Windows Vista programs and to Windows Vista features.
Steps to resolve the problem
To resolve this problem, enter a valid product key. To do this, follow these steps:
In the Activate Windows Now pop-up message that appears when you first log on to Windows Vista, click Retype your product key.
When you are prompted to accept the specified user name, click OK.
Type the product key, and then click Next.
Note You can locate the product key on the Windows Vista CD sleeve or on the Windows Vista CD case.
To use the Automated phone system activation option, click Show me other ways to activate.
For more information about the Windows Vista activation process, click Read our privacy statement.
To receive support for Windows Vista, you must provide the product ID (PID) for the version of Windows Vista that you have installed on your computer. To view the PID by using Windows Internet Explorer 7 in reduced-functionality mode, follow these steps:
In the Windows Activation dialog box, click Read our privacy statement. Internet Explorer 7 starts.
In Internet Explorer 7, click Help, and then click About Internet Explorer 7.
To determine the PID, view the Product Key line.
For more information about reduced-functionality mode, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
925582 The behavior of reduced functionality mode in Windows Vista
For more information about Windows Vista activation, visit the following Microsoft Web sites.