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Is this why people buy Macs?

The Stallion is in quarantine.

My main home computer is unusable right now, pending help from Microsoft.

I canned Norton Internet Security after almost two years of saying 'no' to paying for virus updates. I installed Avast! anti-virus software instead.

I don't know why, but Windows woke up and said hey! You've changed so much since first validating Windows that we need you to validate Windows again within three days. I figured that would be no big deal -- it's a legit copy of Windows XP Professional. I got it the day they launched it at the freakin' launch party hosted by Microsoft. It's real, so I expected no problem.

But problem is what I got. The Activate Windows program window opened up a window frame ... and did nothing. The hard drive chugged and chugged, but nothing happened. The program showed as "Not Responding" in Task Manager.

Okay, no big deal, right? Reboot. Same problem.

Check the web for help. Find some Microsoft knowledge base stuff about tweaking the registry and deleting some files and copying new copies of possibly corrupted files. Reboot. Same problem.

'K, this is getting lame. I call Microsoft. They listen to my problem and put me over to the Activation Centre. The Activation Centre is an automated system that tells me to run the Activate Windows program. Oh, bloody hell.

I figure, maybe if I just hang back and let this program chug away, it'll get somewhere. After about half an hour, it tells me that a script is running slowly and may make the computer unstable if I let it keep going. If I say yes, the program stops. If I say no, the chugging keeps going and nothing happens.


So I posted a detailed request on the MS support page. Meantime, time is ticking down for my three days. Within 24 hours, Johnny Microsoft (not his real name) gets back to me and says:

From your description, I understand that The Activate Windows program always 'Not Responding.' No matter what method used. When checking relevant KB articles and other posts, you got some messages and the error code 0x80070002 was received. If I have misunderstood your concern, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Johnny said I should run the Activation program and follow the onscreen instructions. I told Johnny Microsoft that yes, he had misunderstood my concern. I made no mention of such an error code. And the whole point is that running the Activation program does nothing but chug at the hard drive and there *are* no on-screen instructions.

Well, that's the last I heard from Microsoft.

On day three of three, I noticed that my HD was pretty much full. I found a 9.12 GB (!!!) file in C:\WINDOWS called seuptlog.txt. Oh, that's not good. I erased it and tried some more.

I was able to conclude that:
- msoobe.exe seems to be the problem program
- the program is writing an endless series of repeating lines in the setuplog.txt file. The repeating sequence is:

08062008 084856.921,dxpspbasentsetupoobemsobmainapi.cpp,1023,,
SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionSetupOOBECKPT TOS08062008 084856.921,dxpspbasentsetupoobemsobmainapi.cpp,999,,
DISPID_API_GET_REGVALUE 08062008 084856.921,dxpspbasentsetupoobemsobmainapi.cpp,1023,,
SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionSetupOOBECKPT 008062008 084856.921,dxpspbasentsetupoobemsobmainapi.cpp,963,,
DISPID_API_SET_REGVALUE 08062008 084856.921,dxpspbasentsetupoobemsobmainapi.cpp,987,,
SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionSetupOOBECKPT, TOS
08062008 084856.921,dxpspbasentsetupoobemsobmainapi.cpp,1035,,
08062008 084856.921,dxpspbasentsetupoobemsobmainapi.cpp,999,,

- it appears that msoobe.exe is trying to delete a registry value but is unable to
- I, also, through regedit, am unable to edit this registry value. It won't let me
- also, Microsoft is pissing me off.

Well, the three days have expired. The Stallion is locked up. Windows won't let me do anything other than start in Safe Mode. Well, I *can* start normally -- if I choose to Activate Windows, which, as we've learned, starts the window to nowhere and fills up C: with a crap log file. Now I can't print -- I think Stallion is my print spooler on the network. I can't finish the song I'm working on. I can't edit video. I can't do anything!

Where's Johnny Microsoft? Sure, they promise a response within 24 hours. I got that response -- the wrong response -- and that's all.

If he writes back and says -- oh, just try reinstalling Windows -- I don't know what shade of purple I'll turn.


  1. MACs are nowhere near bulletproof, like their lame user group would have you believe.
    In any case, run it up with the CD in the tray and boot off the cd - reinstall windows and you should be okay...I did it the other day - you end up having to reinstall software, but if you don't redo the partitioning on your drive then your files should be intact.

  2. Here's where I'm a little worried, B ... I'm on Service Pack 3 right now ... and my Windows CD is old -- first batch off the presses old ... am I likely to bung things up by reinstalling old windows on top of new windows, then downloading all the service packs?
    Also -- are you talkin' a repair install, or full-ass reinstall?
    Many thanks for your 'puter brilliance.

  3. Now I see why you were going on those rants in Farsi in the newsroom.

    I hope Johnny Microsoft pulls his thumb out and gives you the right answer.

  4. Just had this problem (activation on endless loop) and here's the solution:

    1) Kill the Activate Windows program (C:\WINDOWS\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe)
    2) open regedit
    3) go to "SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OOBE\CKPT" and right click and choose permissions and give your login and SYSTEM "Full control"
    4) relaunch the Activate Windows program: Start / Run / c:\windows\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a
    5) It will run normally


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