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How to Bypass Windows Activation to Recover files.

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
How to: Bypass Windows Activation to Recover files.

Updated:
Mar 19 - Added fourth solution, as a result of my own experiences with vista.
Mar 14 - Added some solutions and clarified what works with what OS.

OK guys this is my first guide so take it easy. Constructive criticism is welcome. I'm also running of some memory as I don't have a deactivated windows OS with of me.

To start off...
The Scenario:

You've installed windows to find out that you have 30 days to activate it. When you try to activate it, it says your key is not valid (for whatever reason; see below for some reasons). The 30 days run out and now your stuck with a computer that has lock itself down. It won't let you in without proper activation. You have file (such as school work) that you have worked on since your reformat, and need some time in the near future, but won't be able to get it activated with a valid key in time.

Problem:

How are you going to get those files off your computer?

Solutions:

First: Easiest IMO
---------------------------------------------------------
Compatiblity:Works on all Windows OS
---------------------------------------------------------

1.Get a Valid Key. Plain and simple.


Second: Easy if you have another OS or computer.
---------------------------------------------------------
Compatiblity: Does NOT work with Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Windows Vista and if BitLocker is enabled.
---------------------------------------------------------

1a. Boot up the other OS. (for example, KNOPPIX LIVE CD, ubunto, linux, etc.)

1b. Boot up other computer with your locked-windows-drive connected as the second hard drive. You MUST set your hard drive to slave by changing the jumper configuration on your hard drive. If you don't know what to jump, then refer to your hard drive label, manual, website (see solution 3 for how to open up your default internet browser).

2. Move your files to either a different partition, usb stick, external hard drive.


Third: is Quite Complicated if you don't know much about computers. Last Ditch attempt.Pictures coming soon
---------------------------------------------------------
Compatiblity:Works on all Windows OS (as far as i know.)
---------------------------------------------------------

1. When your computer turns on. You have the option to stay at the login screen or open up the activation. Click the activate option.

2.You should now be at the point where you are able to choose if you want to activate by internet, phone, etc. Now heres the trick. Press <Windows Key> + <U>. This will bring up windows narrator despite the fact that you don't have(can't run) explorer.exe.

3. If you go to the "About Narrator" this will pop up. And you will be able to click a link to the Microsoft web site. Tada! Now you have your internet browser up. (I highly recommend browsers that support in-browser directory viewing (i.e. Firefox.) This is because in IE of you enter your drive letter, then it will open up windows explorer and that will close within 5-10 seconds. But at the moment you can't really do anything about which browser you have installed so i will provide more than one solution)

4. In the address bar (where you put the url) You are going to enter the drive that you have your files on. In this example I'm using C:\\ a

5. Now the trick here is that only non-Microsoft softwares will run. (and not close within 5 seconds) You can do this by using the browser to find the location of the software. (ie. "C:\\winrar\\winrar.exe") Copy it and Press <Windows Key> + <R> then quickly paste the location and press run (this may take a few attempts)

6.So using a file transfer software or programs that allow you to move files. (i used winrar and moved every thing while i compressed it. When it was a single file i just set compress to fastest).

7. Move your files to either a different partition, usb stick, external hard drive.

Fourth: Similar to three, but more simple in vista
---------------------------------------------------------
Compatiblity:Works on Vista versions
---------------------------------------------------------

1. Click the buy button so IE pops up.
2. Enter c:/ to access files and move them.

PLEASE provide feedback and constructive criticism. When I get some, I can make improvements to this how-to.

Thanks List
------------------
redsunx - Reminding me about knoppix boot cd
yawnbox and EricM9104 - Clarifying Solution 2 further (BitLocker)
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post #2 of 40
+Rep.
Good guide, I've used the 3rd method before when my friends "copy" of Vista Ultimate stopped working after 3 days (asked for activation).
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post #3 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricM9104 View Post
+Rep.
Good guide, I've used the 3rd method before when my friends "copy" of Vista Ultimate stopped working after 3 days (asked for activation).
Thanks I was anxious to see someone respond Yeah i had to do it about a month ago for my girlfriend. Cause her dad used his OEM Key on her comp and she needed her school work.
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post #4 of 40
edit... i didnt read. you did what i did when that happened to me.

+rep

edit.. nd another time this happened to my cousins computer. she didnt do anything about it and about 6-8 months later. windows activation suddenly disappeared and she had a working computer again.

i told her to use the above method for those 8 months lol
    
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post #5 of 40
at first i thought this was going to be against the TOS. but nope nice guide. i have done it a few times.
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post #6 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by G|F.E.A.D|Killa View Post
at first i thought this was going to be against the TOS. but nope nice guide. i have done it a few times.
Haha Yeah I'de see where you're coming from. But it's a temporary fix, and your not really doing much except getting what is yours.
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post #7 of 40
so this is just for winodws XP and not Vista, i'm guessing
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post #8 of 40
i remember 2 years ago i figured it out myself, in the activation you choose some options and can get internet explorer to open, activate via internet or whatever, once that goes open your a free bird to roam for your files
post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by yawnbox View Post
so this is just for winodws XP and not Vista, i'm guessing
It'll work with Vista too.
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post #10 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yawnbox View Post
so this is just for winodws XP and not Vista, i'm guessing
Nope

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricM9104 View Post
Good guide, I've used the 3rd method before when my friends "copy" of Vista Ultimate stopped working after 3 days (asked for activation).
Edit* Beat me to it..
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