When you fix as many computers as I do, you come across some strange things.
When reinstalling Windows, you’ll almost always get a message at first log on that you need to activate windows within 30 days (or else). Following that you’ll have to verify that windows is genuine. But you have to do it in that order. So on Windows XP, there’s typically, and almost always first to show up, a blue star icon in the system tray – letting you know that you need to verify if windows is genuine.
Ya well, then you double click it, the genuine test will fail if windows is first not activated. Am I repeating myself? You get the point. For some reason, if you wait, the activate icon will appear. It looks like a set of keys. Sometimes, like in the image, the activate icon will be the system tray. Sometimes it will be in Start>All Programs>”Activate Windows.” But sometimes, there will be no option to activate windows at all! THIS is when it gets interesting. In the years I have been working on computers, I have only seen this happen once – and that was today. Mind you, you can’t really finish the computer setup without activating. Windows updates won’t work – which is key in the Windows world, especially if you need service pack 3, which is almost always the case. But I found the fix, for this instance, and it was pretty easy.
Fire up a command prompt (Start>Run>type “cmd” and hit enter). Change the directory to “C:” if not there by default. Then change the directory to this path: (or type in the following) “cd windowssystem32oobe”. Type “msoobe.exe /A” and hit enter.
Amazing! The activate windows prompt pops up! Proceed as normal to activate windows.
I found this buried in a small archive forum and wanted to bring it to light for those out there experiencing the same issue.