Activation: I am activating my product and I get an error. What do I do?
The problem depends on the specific error you are receiving. Most errors that occur during activation will provide a toll-free number that you can call for assistance from Microsoft. You should be at your computer when you call this number.
If the error states that the product key entered is not valid (most likely to occur during installation), it is likely that you mistyped the product key. The product key is 25 characters in five sets of five characters. There may be an eight-character part number beneath the key; this is not the product key. Please note that the product key is printed in a machine-readable font in which "B"s and "8"s often look similar.
If, after verifying that you are entering the key correctly, you are still unable to install the product, you should contact Microsoft Installation Support. Microsoft offers unlimited installation support free of charge (long distance charges may apply) for products currently available. Please see http://support.microsoft.com/ for information on contacting Microsoft installation support for your specific product.
If the error states that you have exceeded the allowed number of activations, you may have to call Microsoft to have the activation count reset.
If the error states that the product is already registered on a different machine, you may be trying to install a second copy of the product when it is not allowed. When you first activate a Microsoft product, the activation software creates a "hash"1 for your computer. If you attempt to install the software on a computer that generates a different hash, either because you have materially changed the hardware in your computer or because it is a different computer altogether, the activation attempt will fail.
Please note that MSCA products can be installed on one computer and one computer only. If you have upgraded your hardware, or are permanently moving the software from one computer to another, you must call Microsoft in order to reset your activation information.
Last updated March 27, 2012 @ 8:48 am