Windows 7 Installation Problems - Dealing with Activation Issues

Windows 7 Installation Problems - Dealing with Activation Issues
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Activating After 30 Days?

You have to activate Windows 7 within thirty days of the first install.

If you fail to fix Windows 7 activation problem within the first thirty days of installation, you won’t be able to use that particular copy of Windows 7 installation without a notification telling you that the activation period has expired.

On some machines, it will provide a constant message in the system tray that says your copy of Windows is not activated.

Keep The Key Safe - You May Need it After an Hardware Upgrade

In case you get a major upgrade done to your computer hardware or software, you will again need to activate Windows 7. In this case, you have three days before the license expires to render your copy of Windows 7 useless. Hence, it is necessary that you keep your Windows 7 activation key in a safe place. This will do the most good to help you avoid and fix Windows 7 activation problems.

There are three major causes for activation problems. The first is simple: you mistyped the activation key. In this case, you can check the Caps Lock key, check your activation key, and retype the key to fix your Windows 7 activation problem.

Invalid Product Key? Get the Right Key

Another reason causes much frustration. You may have asked for a product key that does not match your version of Windows 7. An invalid product key is rare, but it surely is a good reason to have Windows 7 installation problems. In this case, you need to contact the Microsoft Support Center and get the correct activation key. You can get the activation code through email or telephone. You can also use Internet-automated activation. Activation through the Internet, also called online activation of Windows 7, requires minimum effort.

To get the activation key over the telephone, you need to know the version of Windows 7 as well as the serial key that you used to install the operating system. You can locate the serial number on a sticker on the box in which the installation CD was shipped. You can also check the version number on the box. If you downloaded the OS, you will have the version number and activation key in the welcome e-mail. Though telephone activation is also faster than emails, it often creates frustration as the MS call center keeps you on hold seemingly forever.

Another common reason for Windows 7 installation problems is using an upgrade key on a clean reinstall. This means that you boot through the DVD drive and format the entire drive to install Windows 7. In this case, the previous operating system is removed and you can install the OS successfully, but then you face a Windows 7 activation problem. Many users do not realize that it was meant to be an upgrade.

If the activation process terminated with an error code: 0xC004F061, it is definitely the problem where you are using an upgrade key on a clean install. In this case, go back and reinstall the Windows operating system you were using prior to installing Windows 7. After installing the previous OS, install Windows 7. Once done with the installation, enter the upgrade key to fix the problem. This error is most common among all the above described Windows 7 installation problems.


Image from Wikimedia Commons,

Microsoft Knowledgebase, Article ID: MSW700057

This post is part of the series: Windows 7 - Problems, Tips, and Tricks

Windows 7 is one of the best and wonderful operating systems released by Microsoft. This series on Windows 7 offers you some insights into the OS and helps you with tips and tricks to overcome Windows 7 problems, including network printing and changing background in the Starter Edition.

  1. What To Do If Unable To Change Desktop Background in Windows 7
  2. Solving Windows 7 Installation Problems
  3. Solving Windows 7 Activation Problems
  4. Fixes for Windows 7: Printer Will not Work
  5. What to Do When You Cannot Install a Network Printer on Windows 7