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Frequently asked questions about how to activate and how to troubleshoot activation issues for Games for Windows and and
Date: September 01 2007 - Section Troubleshooting
Viewed: 12176 times

Frequently asked questions about how to activate and how to troubleshoot activation issues for Games for Windows and and home product titles

Article ID:927007
Last Review:August 31, 2007
Revision:5.0
Important This article contains information about how to modify the registry. Make sure to back up the registry before you modify it. Make sure that you know how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up, restore, and modify the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
256986 () Description of the Microsoft Windows registry
On This Page
INTRODUCTION
MORE INFORMATION
Troubleshoot activation issues
The computer is connected to the Internet
The computer is not connected to the Internet

INTRODUCTION

This article lists the frequently asked questions about how to activate and how to troubleshoot activation issues for Games for Microsoft Windows and home product titles. This article also describes the basic troubleshooting steps for Microsoft Product Activation.

MORE INFORMATION

Q1: What is Microsoft Product Activation?

A1: Microsoft Product Activation aims to reduce counterfeit software and to make sure that Microsoft customers receive the software quality that they expect. After you activate the software product, a specific product key is assigned to the computer hardware where you installed the product. After this product key is assigned, you cannot use the same product key to activate the product on other computers. Product Activation is mandatory. If you choose not to activate the product, you can only use the product in a reduced trial mode. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
925723 () You receive an activation message after you play Flight Simulator X for 30 minutes
Q2: What is the benefit of using Microsoft Product Activation?

A2: Microsoft Product Activation enables you to start and to use the product without using the disc. For example, with earlier versions of Games for Windows you had to have the disc in the drive to start or to play. With Games for Windows, you do not have to have the disc in the drive.

Q3: What information is collected, processed, or transmitted during the activation process?

A3: When you activate the software product, the product key information is sent to Microsoft together with a hardware hash. The hardware hash is a non-unique number that is generated by using the computer's hardware configuration. The hardware hash does not represent any personal information or information about the product. The hardware hash cannot be used to determine the make or the model of the computer. Additionally, the hardware hash cannot be backward-calculated to determine the raw computer information. In addition to standard computer information, some additional language settings are collected. This information is not used to identify you. The information is used only to confirm that you have a licensed copy of the product and to aggregate the information for statistical analysis.

Q4: How many times can I activate the product?

A4: There is no limit to the number of times that you can activate the software product on the same computer. For example, you can remove and reinstall or reactivate the product any number of times. An additional activation is provided so that you can remove and re-install the product on the same computer or on a different computer. See the Microsoft Software License Terms for more information. The Microsoft Software License Terms are located in the game folder.

Q5: How can I tell whether my software has already been activated?

A5: If the product has not been activated, the multiplayer capabilities in the game are not available. For example, in Flight Simulator X, the Multiplayer option will be unavailable (dimmed). For Halo 2 for Windows Vista, the LIVE and NETWORK game options will be unavailable (dimmed).

Note Some games that are solely multiplayer games will not let you start the game until you activate it. For Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008 and for Microsoft Math 3.0, the product will run in trial mode only. When trial mode expires, you cannot use the product until you activate it.

Q6: Can I install the product on more than one computer?

A6: You can install and use one copy of the software product on the licensed device. The licensed device is the device for which you have accepted the license agreement. You can remove the product and then install the product on another computer. However, you cannot share the license between two or more computers. See the End User License Agreement (EULA), for more information.

Q7: How do I activate my Microsoft product for Windows?

A7: When you start the product for the first time, you are prompted to click Activate now or to click Activate later. If you click Activate now, you must enter the product key. If you do not to activate the product, the product will run in the reduced functionality mode. You can run the product without activating it as long as you want. Additionally, some features such as the multiplayer feature will be unavailable in the product. To continue to use all the features of the product, you must activate the product.

To activate the product, follow these steps:
1.Click Activate now, and then click Next.
2.Type the product key, and then click Next.

Note Do not lose the product key. Keep the packaging, or write down the number. Keep the number information in a safe location.
3.The Activation Wizard automatically runs. The Activation Wizard gives you two options to continue:
Activate by using the Internet
The Activation Wizard automatically contacts the Microsoft licensing servers through your Internet connection. When you activate the product by using the Internet, the product key is sent to Microsoft through an encrypted transfer. If you decide to activate the product through the Internet and you are not already connected, the wizard alerts you that there is no connection.
Activate by using the telephone
You can telephone an Activation Center and activate the product with the help of a customer service representative. Telephone activation might take longer than activation through the Internet. You should be at the computer when you call. Additionally, you should have your software product key. When you select this option, the activation wizard will generate an Installation ID. You will need this Installation ID to activate the product by telephone.

Important When you telephone the activation department, it will prompt you to read off the Installation ID numbers. If you have difficulties and cannot follow the guidelines over the telephone, do not hang up. Wait until you receive an option for transfer. Say “transfer me” and then you will be redirected to speak with the customer service representative.

Note Activation Center numbers are not listed in this article based on several factors. Telephone contact numbers vary by license and vary by country or region. The Activation Wizard will give you the number to telephone the Microsoft Activation Center.
If the activation is successful, you receive the following message:
You have successfully activated Microsoft <product title> on this computer.

Troubleshoot activation issues

MessagesResolution
Invalid Product key
To activate the product, you must have a valid product key. The product key is located on the yellow sticker in the product box. If you received an error message, the product key is invalid. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
812467 () Games: Error message: The product key is not valid
Unable to Activate: According to our records, you have exceeded the number of times you can activate this product with the Product key you have entered. If you believe you have received this message in error, please choose the activate by telephone option below to contact a customer service representative.
This issue may occur if the following conditions are true:
You try to use the product key that was already used.
You have upgraded your existing computer with new hardware such as RAM, video card, or other hardware.
You purchased a new computer and are installing the product by using the same product key.
You have re-formatted the hard disk.
You can use one product key on one computer. If you are trying to install the product on more than one computer, purchase more copies of the product.
If you recently purchased the product and then receive this error message, return the product to the point of purchase to obtain a replacement.
If you purchased a new computer or upgraded the computer, try to activate the product by using telephone.
Note An additional activation is provided so that you may remove and re-install the product on the same computer or on a different computer.
A technical problem occurred while it access the online activation server. We apologize for any inconvenience. The problem may be caused by a temporary network interruption or the server may be busy at this time.
Try again to activate over the Internet
Activate by telephone now
Activate later
To work around this problem, try to activate the product by telephone. To do this, click Activate by Telephone. This issue may also occur if the following conditions are true:
You are not connected to the Internet.
You have a program interfering with activation. To eliminate other programs, perform a clean boot procedure, and then activate the product. For more information about how to perform a clean boot procedure, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
331796 () How to perform a clean boot procedure to prevent background programs from interfering with a game or a program that you currently use

Windows Vista clean boot
To resolve this issue, follow the steps in the appropriate section.

The computer is connected to the Internet

View the "Run Selective Startup using System Configuration" topic on the following Windows Online Help and Support Web site:
http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/ (http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/)

The computer is not connected to the Internet

View the "Run Selective Startup using System Configuration" topic in Windows Help and Support on the computer's hard disk by following 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 Run Selective Startup using System Configuration, and then click Search Help.
3.In the list of topics, click Run Selective Startup using System Configuration.
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.
License authorization was unsuccessful. We apologize for any inconvenience. The problem may be due to temporary network interruption or the server may be busy at this time. If the problem persists, check your network connection and verify that you can browse the internet with your Web browser.
Product Activation Error: An error occurred while attempting to activate the product. The problem may be due to an incomplete installation of the application. Reinstalling the application may resolve the problem. Otherwise, please contact product support for assistance.


Warning Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly by using Registry Editor or by using another method. These problems might require that you reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved. Modify the registry at your own risk.
To resolve this issue, follow these steps:
1.In Microsoft Windows XP, click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then OK.
In Windows Vista, click Startthe Start button, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then click regedit.exe in the Programs list.
User Access Control permission If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Allow.
2.Expand the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CURRENTCONTROLSET\CONTROL\CLASS\{4D36E967-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
3.After you find the folder, double-click Upperfilters on the right side.
4.Change the value from 0 to PartMgr, and then click OK.
5.Close Registry Editor, and then try to use the activation wizard.
Thank you for trying Microsoft Flight Simulator X. The trial time limit has expired. Please activate Flight Simulator to continue playing.
For more information about how to resolve this issue, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
925723 () You receive an activation message after you play Flight Simulator X for 30 minutes
License is Invalid. Please reinstall and activate Shadowrun with a valid license.
The game has not been activated. To play the game, the game must be activated.


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