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Windows Vista Installation and Activation Frequently Asked Questions


Below, you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Installation and Activation in Windows Vista. If you are unable to find the answer to your question here, you can find additional computer support via our Free Technical Support
Form or our Free Computer Help Forums.

Won't accept validation code after second install Do I really need to backup all of my files before upgrading my PC?
Upgrade from XP Pro to Vista premium won't activate? Will installing additional RAM cause activation issues?
How can I activate Vista Home Basic without accessing the Internet? I can't get a program to install on Vista
How can I recover my Vista product key? What is the difference between the Product ID and the Key code?
Where can I check to see my activation status? Can I use my current Vista installation on a new computer?
Is there a complete backup solution for Vista?  
 

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Won't accept validation code after second install

Q: I upgraded my PC to Vista Premium, but the installation didn't load very well so I decided to do a "Clean Installation" of Vista. Now, when I get to the point to where is asks for the validation code, it says that it is in use. I realize that it is in use by me, but how am I supposed to get it validated?

A: You are correct when you stated that the validation code is in use by you. You will need to call the phone number that is listed in the installation wizard. The process will only take a few minutes and then you will be back in business! If the installation wizard is unable to get it activated, just stay on the line and a human will come on the line to assist you.

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Do I really need to backup all of my files before upgrading my PC?

Yes, please do not ignore the warnings given by any installation instructions. It is insurance in the event something should go wrong with your installation. So, if your data is important to you, be sure to back it up.

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Upgrade from XP Pro to Vista premium won't activate?

Q: I just purchased Vista Premium and went through the steps to upgrade my PC. When I get to the activation screen it tells me that the "key" is already in use or that it is invalid. Can you please tell me how I can activate this installation?

A: Unfortunately, upgrading to Vista Premium from XP Professional is not supported. A proper upgrade path from XP Pro is to either Vista Business or Ultimate editions. However, you can use the version that you've purchased by installing it using the "Custom Installation" method. Here's how:

  1. Boot Windows Vista from the Installation DVD.

  2. When prompted to enter the Key Code, do not enter the code and click Next to continue with the setup. This will setup Vista as a 30 day trial.

  3. When the setup is complete, run the Installation Disk again. This time enter the key code to activate your installation.

Note: It may be necessary to call the phone number listed to activate your installation since it was already attempted. The process only takes a few moments.

If you need help with the Custom Installation Procedure, click the link below:

Perform a Clean Installation of Windows Vista

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Will installing additional RAM cause activation issues?

I have read at many places that people are installing more RAM without having any activation issues. Not having done it myself, I can only inform of what I've read. Good luck!

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How can I activate Vista Home Basic without accessing the Internet?

Q: I just purchased Vista Home Basic to play games with on my custom built system. I don't have an Internet connection. So, how am I supposed to activate the installation?

A: You can call the phone number that is on the installation DVD. The activation wizard will guide you through the activation process. If you are still unable to activate, just stay on the phone and you will be connected with a human that will ask you a few questions and then issue a code for you to enter. The whole process only takes a few moments.

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I can't get a program to install on Vista

Q: I have a program that I have been using for a couple of years that is very important to my company. I would like to know what I can do to make this program function correctly on Vista?

A: While most programs will run fine on Vista, some of the older programs may not. You have a few options for making the older programs function in Vista:

  1. Find a "Compatibility" tab in the program to change the programs compatibility settings. Usually you can right click the programs icon, select properties and then select Compatibility. Then, try installing the program with the new compatibility settings.

  2. If you cannot find the "compatibility" settings in the program, visit the program makers web site to see if they offer an updated version of the program.

  3. If a program update is not offered, you can try running Vista's Compatibility Wizard. Here's how:

  1. Go to Start>> Control Panel>> Programs

  2. Select "Use an older program with this version of Windows"

  3. From here, just follow the on-screen instructions

  1. If none of the above tips did not help, then you may need to either:

  • Try dual booting your XP and Vista operating systems

  • Try running XP in a VPN (virtual private network) by installing Virtual PC 2007 (free program)

  • Keep an extra PC running XP with the needed program installed

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How can I recover my Vista product key?

Q: I purchased a new computer that had Vista Premium originally installed. I need to reinstall the operating system but since I don't have the product key, how am I supposed to install it? I know that there is a separate recovery partition on this computer, but I will still need the key code to start the installation. Any ideas?

A: Yes, the product key should be an the computer somewhere affixed to the side or bottom. Look for a bright orange sticker. If you are unable to find it, you may still be able to locate it by using a free tool called the Belarc Advisor. It is a free tool that scans your system for various hardware and software configurations. If you still cannot locate the key code, you will need to contact the maker of your computer for help. Many computer manufactures do not keep product key records on file, but it is still worth a try.

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What is the difference between the Product ID and the Key code?

The Key Code is what you must enter during the installation process. The Product ID is generated during the installation process to identify the version of Vista you are installing. The product ID is for Microsoft's Tech Support.

If at any time you should need the Product ID or you can't find your Key Code, you can install a free program that will list these two items along with many other configurations of your system. The program is called: Belarc Advisor

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Where can I check to see my activation status?
  1. Right click an empty area of your desktop

  2. Select Properties from the resulting menu

  3. The activation status will be located at the bottom of your screen

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Can I use my current Vista installation on a new computer?

Yes, currently Microsoft has relaxed their stance on the Vista license and are allowing users to uninstall a Vista installation on an older system and install it on a new one. As long as the Vista installation is uninstalled on one computer, you can transfer it to a new system anytime you like.

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Is there a complete backup solution for Vista?

Q: I would like to use a backup software that can backup everything that I have installed on my system in the event something should go wrong. This way, all I have to do is reload everything back to my hard disk and be up and running quickly. Is there any such software that you can recommend?

A: Yes, there is a really good program recommended by many. It is called: Acronis True Image. With this, you can backup a disk image to any media of your choosing (as long as it can fit). Since hard disks these days usually have plenty of capacity, you can conveniently place the backup copy in a separate drive or external drive. After a backup image is created of your hard disk, you can instantly restore the operating system, applications and all saved data instantly. You'll rest easy knowing that your system can be quickly recovered in the event you should experience a fatal system crash or an unrecoverable virus attack. Read more about Acronis and obtain the download by clicking the link provided below:

http://www.acronis.com/

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