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Microsoft’s latest Windows client brought to the table in November 2006 (for businesses) and in January 2007 (for the general consumers) a revamped activation architecture. But most importantly, Windows Vista features an intimate connection with Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy mechanism, as well as the Reduced Functionality Mode kill-switch designed to cut access to products detected as non-genuine or that failed to activate properly. But despite the fact that Microsoft was applauding a more flexible, accurate and secure activation process in comparison to Windows XP, the fact of the matter is that the latest Windows client did manage to produce its fair share of frustration to end users.
On April 11, 2008 Microsoft has updated a list of no less than 10 frequent error messages which prevented Vista RTM users from activating their copies of the operating system ahead of the delivery of Windows Vista Service Pack 1. KB951287 refers exclusively to error codes and error messages associated with the gold version of Vista, and do not point to any similar scenarios following the delivery of Service Pack 1.
Windows Vista SP1 was released to manufacturing on February 4, 2008, and then to the general public on March 18, via Windows Update and the Microsoft Download Center. In mid-April, the Redmond company will start distributing Vista SP1 through Automatic Updates. One of the most important aspects of the Vista SP1 evolution is the fact that it kills off Reduced Functionality Mode. Microsoft has in fact taken the Vista SP1 non-genuine and non-activated behavior back to the same model it implemented with Windows XP, namely a notifications-based experience.
The Redmond company revealed that the measure was delivered as a way for Vista SP1 to keep up with the antipiracy threat. But at the same time Microsoft has always failed to disclose the exact number of Vista users that had their operating systems erroneously moved to Reduced Functionality Mode. The volume of Vista RTM activation errors is however an indication that Reduced Functionality Mode did manage to impact quite a large audience of genuine copies of the operating system, and that it contributed to the scraping of the kill-switch from Vista SP1.
Here is the compete list of Vista RTM activation error codes and messages courtesy of Microsoft:
1. Error code 0xC004C003
The activation server determined that the specific product key is in use.
This error code indicates that the product key that you entered has already been activated, and you must obtain a different product key.
2. Error code 0xC004E003
The Software Licensing Service reported that the license evaluation failed.
This error code indicates that you must rerun the Windows Vista activation process.
3. Error code 0×80072EFD
A Connection with the server could not be established.
This error code indicates that there may be issues with your Internet connection. Verify that your Internet connection is working, and then try to activate Windows Vista again.
4. Error code 0xC004F050
The Software Licensing Service reported that the product key is invalid.
5. Error code 0xC004F061
The Software Licensing Service determined that this specified product key can only be used for upgrading, not for clean installations.
6. Error code 0×8007000D
Unable to Open the License. The Data is Invalid.
This error code indicates that the initial download may have been corrupted, and you may have to download the package again.
7. Error message
The Product Key You Have Entered Will Not Work With This Edition or Version of Windows Vista.
If you receive this error message, you may have inserted a product key for an edition of Windows Vista that does not match the installed edition.
8. Error message
The Windows Vista (product version) product key you typed is invalid for activation.
If you receive this error message, there may be an issue with the installed version of Windows and with the product key that you used.
9. Error message
To Use the Product Key You Entered, Start the Installation from Your Existing Version of Windows.
If you receive this error message, you must first start the computer by using the currently installed version of Windows. Then, start Windows Vista Setup.
10. Error message
Your Activation Period Has Expired.
If you receive this error message, Windows Vista may not have been activated within the 30-day activation period, or there may have been significant hardware changes on the system.