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87. Product Key Already In Use

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So you've just re-installed Windows Vista, painstakingly installed all your third party software and am now in the process of activating your copy of Windows Vista.

You go through the activation process only to find that a message appears informing you that 'Your product key is already in use' and, consequently, you cannot activate this copy of Vista.

Microsoft activation is flagging your product key number because, according to their records, it already exists on the PC you are currently using and you have already activated the key once. This is basically an anti piracy restriction to prevent, a) illegal copying and b) installing the same copy of Vista onto another machine. You will find that you get a similar warning after upgrading certain hardware in your PC. However, this shouldn't be a problem just follow the instructions below and activation should proceed without any problems.

1/ Click the Start Button.

2/ In the Search box type: slui.exe 4 and then press Enter.

3/ In the find available phone number for activation window, Select the nearest location to where you lie from the location box. You can click on the arrow to the right of the location box to expand you choice of locations.

4/ Once you have selected your Location, Click Next.

5/ If the User Account Control box appears, Click Continue or, if you are not the administrator, type in the relevant user name and password for permission to continue.

6/ The Activate Windows Now window will appear showing the telephone number you need to dial along with a set of installation ID numbers.

7/ Now dial the activation number displayed on the screen. The telephone number is toll free (free phone) unless stated otherwise.

8/ You should understand that, initially, the Activation line is Automated, so you will be asked to input the numbers displayed on your screen using your Telephone keypad.

9/ Once the numbers have been inputted, via your Telephone keypad, the automated service will issue you with another set of numbers which you will have to Type into the Dialogue box displayed on your computer screen.

10/ You now need to follow the instructions issued by the Automated service in order to Activate your copy.

11/ If, after going through this process, the Activation service informs you that the product cannot be activated then DO NOT slam the phone down in rage. Instead STAY ON THE LINE and your call will be transferred to an Activation operative, in other words a real person who will assist you in Activating your copy of Windows Vista.

12/ I am aware that going through these steps can be a pain but, nine times out of ten, Activation is automatic and can be accomplished quite easily over the internet. This is the reason why the service is automated. Admittedly sometimes the automated system cannot help and when this happens you are put through to someone who can help you.