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  • Installer says legal Windows 7 is illegal… now what?

    Posted on WSjsachs177 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 7 Questions: Windows 7 Installer says legal Windows 7 is illegal… now what?

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      • #1756613 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        I have a legal version of Windows 7 that I use on a computer reserved for hardware testing. Periodically a hardware failure blows up Windows, and I have to reinstall.

        This used to work routinely. Now the installer says I am trying to install an unauthorized copy of Windows, and won’t proceed.

        I’ve heard of other people having this problem and getting it fixed by calling Microsoft. I’ve had no luck doing so. I can’t find a phone number for Windows installation problems. I’ve called various other Microsoft customer service numbers, but they all send me to voice mail purgatory.

        Does anyone know where to call about this problem, or another way to solve it?

      • #1757804 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        Check for and remove KB971033, and hide if its presented again. It has been known to cause activation problems even on Legit Machines. I always hide it pre-emptively, one less source of worry.

        Win7 Enterprise clients reporting “Not Genuine”, 0xc004f200, when they’ve been working for years

        Update KB971033/KB4480960/KB4480970 bricks Windows 7 Genuine (0xc004f200)

        Hmm not sure what happened there only wanted to post a link to Gunter’s Web site and askwoody, but I guess you got the pictorial versions, however they work even though I didn’t select insert Photo lol 😉

        • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by BobbyB.
        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1758595 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        Maybe you can try calling the number shown in the image on this post. It’s the only Microsoft phone number I’m aware of for issues having to do with Windows licenses.


      • #1761047 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        You might also get lucky with the locale-specific numbers for regions that have those, and get it sorted out in languages other than English.

        There are a number of situations where activation just doesn’t work right even when you do have a legal license. Some of these involve downgrade rights on systems where downgraded activation has worked before. Microsoft is aware of this, well, at least the folks I’ve been on the phone with… in a language other than English.

        Yes, we have a situation where passing activation is, strictly speaking, neither necessary nor sufficient to determine that a given license is valid.

        • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by mn--.
      • #1761053 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        Some days ago there was a rather long discussion on this topic here at Woody’s:

        Has anyone else had a Windows 7 Pro license deactivated randomly?

        There were a number of comments and some good suggestions as to why this happens and what one might do in this situation. Some of that might be of interest here.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

      • #1822605 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        First, thank you for the responses, and apologies for not responding sooner. I’ve been dealing with other problems, and had to let this one slide a bit.

        I’ll call the Microsoft number on Monday and pursue the “Has anyone else had…” link. There was one concrete suggestion: the first one, that I exclude KB971033. I must be missing something there. Patches are added after installation, so I don’t understand how I can install any patches at all, much less exclude a particular one, when I can’t install a runnable system in the first place.

        • #1828744 Reply
          AskWoody MVP

          Just trying to clarify something… you are saying that when it tells you that you do not have a valid copy, W7 will not install at all, rather than installing and being unable to activate the license?

          Can you install off line, skipping the activation problem until after Windows 7 is installed?

          Or has your ‘valid copy’ become corrupted? Try another copy of Windows 7 (same version, see Heidoc), and skip adding the activation code until it has been installed.

          Non-techy Win 10 Pro and Linux Mint experimenter

          • #1837558 Reply

            I tested this again (not simple, it required finding things that I put away 16 months ago expecting to pick them up the next day) and I need to correct my description.

            Yes, Windows is completely installed. As soon as I boot it, it displays a dialog that prompts me to enter an activation code. If I enter the activation code, it rejects the code and tells me that my copy of Windows “may be” counterfeit (corporatese for “nailed you, sucker”).

            If I don’t enter the activation code, it times out and then displays the “may be counterfeit” message anyway.

            KB971033 was installed. It must be baked into the distribution, because I never got a chance to install any updates. I can’t imagine why it causes problems now when it didn’t the first several times I reinstalled, but that’s a mystery I probably don’t need to solve.

            I have uninstalled that update, but I can’t activate anyway because the machine has lost Internet access. I think I know why, but it’s going to have to wait for another night.

            Thanks to everyone for the assistance I’ve received so far. I’ll report what happens next when it happens, whether or not I need more advice.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #1837655 Reply
              AskWoody Lounger

              No ‘net access should just mean it goes by the phone-activation procedure. In theory.

              Still may not work especially if it’s a case of the key now being marked invalid or something, but…

      • #1824895 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        KB971033 is a weird one over the years some Win7 images especially the M$ ESCROW updated ones have it already included, some win7 32bit images never get it and sometimes it installs in the background unannounced if its in there WMIC QFE at an Admin Cmd prompt reveals all just scroll down the list, a chore I know, but generally a reliable list.

        (1) installed by me (2) installed by system could be in stealth Mode (3) already in the image when either it was compiled/updated prior/or inserted by M$.

        Martin Brinkman over at Ghacks has an article how to remove if its not showing up in your standard list, its not a hard one to pull out “Optional” Package if I remember correctly, otherwise its off to the Phone with the folks at Redmond. Hope that works for you.

        • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by BobbyB.
        • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by BobbyB.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
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