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Activation Catch 22 - A way to edit the registry

By Kruppster ·
I wanted to help fellow members with a method I found on line and then augmented to Activate a windows 2003 server (or XP) remotely using log me in or Remote Desktop or any other remote software already on the target machine.


Windows says that The Copy of windows Must be activated before you login but if you Click Yes, If says already activated and then logs off.

Another problem was that the instructions to repair this (
required you to start the machine in safe mode. Unfortunately that may not be possible or desired.

1st I found on the internet a way to pull up a browser using windows Narrator.

Hold down the "Windows Key" on your keyboard while you also press the "U" key. This will open up the Narrator program to help assist those with poor vision. It is this program that will help us login to Windows.

Click the little computer icon in the top left hand side of the Narrator window. A drop down menu should appear. The last option in this menu is named "About Narrator...". Click it. This should open up another window called "About Narrator".

In this window, there should be the text "Microsoft Web site". Click it, it is a link and will open up your default browser, taking you to the Microsoft Accessibility website.

As if Internet was not enough, in the address bar of Internet Explorer, type "c:\". This should display all your hard drive contents on drive "C". From there you can navigate your way around your computer.

Thanks to the efforts of whoever posted all this information I was able to get to the files on the machine but I still needed a way to get to the registry to apply the editing necessary in

I wanted to open a dos command window and being an old VB programmer I knew there must be a way, that's when the light bulb came on. The server had office installed so I used the browser file open menu to navigate to an existing word document and then I added a Macro to that document

in VB type the following

Sub doswin()

Abc = Shell ("C:\Windows\system32\", vbNormalFocus)

End Sub

Then run that subroutine and viola a dos command window now you can run regedit and manipulate the registry as required in the KB mentioned above to unactivate the computer.

You can also use the file and search functions of the browser to delete, copy, cut and paste files and navigate through your network.

I didn't have all the files mentioned in the KB article or need all the steps but following some of the steps I managed to get my server to the point where I could reenter my product key and re-activate and login - very sweet. And I never had to shut it down or restart it so the users on the network didn't have to stop working.

Perhaps someone reading this can suggest a way to turn my VB code into a script for those who don't have word on the locked computer or some other interesting method.

I hope this helps someone else.

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