Apr 30, 2008
Tip and Trick Editorial

Windows Vista Activation Errors – Causes and Fixes

All copy of Windows Vista installation has to be activated, no matter how users get the Windows Vista setup DVD, either from retail, OEM, volume licensing, MSDN, TechNet, and etc. The most significant difference is probably the activation methods available, and the possibility of “an error has occurred” message that happens during activation process.

There are many error codes or error messages that may happen and display when users try to activate Windows Vista, with generally starts with “an error has occurred” dialog, follow with an error code and some description of the nature of the troubled problem. Below is the almost complete list of Windows Vista activation related error codes and message, together with the explanation, causes, and suggestion of resolutions, solutions or workarounds to the said activation problems and errors.

Error Code 0xC004C003 The activation server determined that the specific product key is in use.
Error Code 0xC004C001 The activation server determined that the specific product key is invalid.
Error Code 0xC004C008 The activation server determined that the specific product key could not be used.
Error Code 0xC004C812 SL_E_CHREF_BINDING_0UT_0F_T0LERANCE: The activation server determined that the specific product key has exceeded its activation count.
Error Code 0xC004C4CE Unable to find a detailed error description.
Error Code 0xC004F027 The Software Licensing Service reported that the license is tampered.
Error Code 0xC003E004 The Software Licensing Service reported that the license has not been evaluated.

Error code 0xC004C003, 0xC004C001, 0xC004C812, 0xC004C008, 0xC004C4CE, 0xC004F027, and 0xC003E004 indicates that the product key that is been entered has already been activated, invalid, already been used to activate the system for a maximum limit of times, or cannot be used to activate the Windows Vista. User must obtain or change to a different product key. If the product key currently in use is indeed genuine and valid, try to activate by phone.

To change product key, follow these steps:

  1. Open the System item in Control Panel. To do this, click Start button, type System in the Start Search box, and then click System in the Programs list.
  2. In the Windows activation section, click the Change product key link. If you receive the User Account Control Dialog message, click Continue. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type password.
  3. In the Product key field, type the product key, and then click Next.
  4. Follow the steps in the Windows Activation Wizard to complete the activation process.

Error Code 0xC004E003 The Software Licensing Service reported that the license evaluation failed.

This problem occurs if the license validity interval has expired, or if the license is not signed correctly. Re-insert the product key and activate again using steps above or activate by phone will normally solve the issue. More information at KB950755.

Error Code 0xCD004F050 The Software Licensing Service reported that the specific product key is invalid.

This problem occurs if the license validity interval has expired, or if the license is not signed correctly, or the KMS key is not entered correctly. Also, this issue may occur if the key for a beta version of the operating system has been entered when you are using the release version of the operating system. To workaround to fix this problem is similar to several errors above – by re-inserting the product key, or changing to correct product key, or activate by phone. Refer to KB938450 and KB950756.

Error Code 0x8007232B DNS name does not exist.

0x8007232B error code indicates that there is problem when contacting activation server, happens especially volume licensing customers or MSDN/TechNet subscribers who use MAK product key to install Windows Vista. To solve the issue, simply re-enter the product key into the system (change product key, but use back the same product key).

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, or your copy of Windows Vista is detected as non-genuine. The work around is to re-enter the valid and legitimate product key, or activate by phone. More information at KB925616.

Error Code 0xC004F033 The Software Licensing Service reported that the product key is not allowed to be installed. Please see the event log for details.

If you receive this error code, verify that the product key can be used to upgrade Windows Vista from the current edition to the edition for which the key is intended. See installation choices that works for consumer version of Windows Vista for 32-bit edition and 64-bit edition.

Error Code 0XC004D401 The security processor reported a system file mismatch error.
Error Code 0×80080250 Unrecognized error.

These error codes indicate that your antivirus software or Digital Rights Management (DRM) software is incompatible with Windows Vista. Uninstall the incompatible and not compliant software that may also caused “an unauthorized change was made to your license” error when activated. Or contact the software manufacturer of the antivirus software or of the DRM software to obtain a version that is compatible with Window Vista, and then reactivate Windows Vista. Such softwares include but not limited to Blumentals Software iNET Protector, PC Tools Spyware Doctor (versions earlier than 4.0), PC Tools Firewall Plus (versions earlier then, Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security (versions earlier than 14.56), Trend Micro OfficeScan (versions earlier than 8.0) and TuneUp Utilities (versions released earlier than 2007). Then reactivate Windows Vista.

Error Code 0×8004FC03 unrecognized error.
Error Code 0×80072EE7 The server name or address could not be resolved.
Error Code 0×80072EFD A connection with the server could not be established.
Error Code 0×80072F78 The server returned an invalid or unrecognized response.
Error Code 0×80072F8F A security error occurred.

If you receive one of these error codes, verify that your Internet connection is working, computer is connected to the Internet and then try to reactivate Windows Vista. Windows Vista comes with a troubleshooting guide “troubleshoot network and Internet connection problems” topic that can help to resolve Internet connectivity issue.

  1. Click Start, and then click Help and Support.
  2. In the Search Help box or in the Search online Help box, type Troubleshoot network and Internet connection problems, and then click Search Help.
  3. In the list of topics, click Troubleshoot network and Internet connection problems.
  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.

See KB931276 for information on all “An error has occurred” Windows Vista activation errors and issues.

Error Code 0xC004F061 The Software Licensing Service determined that this specified product key can only be used for upgrading, not for clean installations.
To Use the Product Key You Entered, Start the Installation from Your Existing Version of Windows.

Errors indicate that you attempt to installing Windows Vista from DVD, or perform a keyless custome installation or a clean installation of Windows Vista by using an upgrade product key. The error also happens when Windows Vista setup component determines that the Windows Anytime Upgrade (WAU) product key is not valid. An upgrade key is not the same as Full Package Product (FPP) product key, as upgrade media is the compliance checking product (CCP). To use upgrade product key, install Windows Vista from a previous operating system. Refer to KB930373 and KB947214.

Error code 0×8007000D Unable to open the license. The data is invalid.

The error happens when user try to use Windows Anytime Upgrade (WAU) to upgrade Windows Vista. This is due to Windows Internet Explorer 7 recognizes the MIME type of the digital license and determines that the link must be opened by using the Software Licensing Commerce Client (SLCC), caused by error during the download process, or the Automatic Update Manager (AUM) does not correctly format the XML for the Digital License Package (DLP) before the download process is started. To fix the problem, click the link that is included in the purchase confirmation e-mail to download the upgrade again. More information on KB930378.

The Windows Vista version product key you typed is invalid for activation.

The error occurs when user try to activate Windows Vista over the Internet after you use a Windows Anytime Upgrade DVD to upgrade Windows Vista. The condition is normally happens when upgrade Windows Vista to Windows Vista Home Premium or to Windows Vista Ultimate, or have entered the product key from the original installation of Windows Vista. Or, you type an incorrect product key. The resolution is by restoring the computer to previous restore point, or reinstall Windows. See KB937768 for details.

The Product Key you have entered will not Work with this Edition or Version of Windows Vista

This problem may occur if you installed a different edition of Windows Vista than your product key is intended to activate. Workaround is simple – simply install the Windows Vista edition that matches the product key that is used. Or, obtain a new product key for the Windows Vista edition that you installed. More information at KB949744.

Error Code 0x80070426 This copy of Microsoft Windows is not genuine

Error 0x80070426 indicates that Software Licensing service (SLsvc.exe) may not be started or stopped working. Restart the service. Refer to the guide on 0x80070426 fix here.

Error 0x8007232b DNS Name Does Not Exist

Visit here for cause and resolution for 0x8007232b DNS Name Does Not Exist error.

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