KB 931573 rather obscurely advises users that activation prompts may unexpectedly occur on a Windows Vista computer if the user does one or more of the following:
- Install a device driver
- Install a program
- Run a new program
- Remove a program
Before I send you off to read Ed Bott's articles, if you have experienced this issue, be sure to pay attention to the cause, in particular the "Note", as well as the resolution reproduced from KB Article 931573. This is an important update for Windows Vista users.
CAUSEEnough of the boring stuff. Now read Ed's articles:
This problem may occur because a specific system setting is removed when a program runs with administrative credentials. The removal of this system setting may cause a BIOS validation check to fail. The BIOS validation check is part of the system activation process. Therefore, you may be prompted to activate Windows Vista, even though the system did not previously require activation. For example, this problem is known to occur when you use Intuit QuickBooks 2007. However, this problem may also infrequently occur when you install other programs or device drivers.
Note This problem does not occur because of an issue in the installed program or device driver. This problem is caused by a system problem in Windows Vista.
To resolve this problem if it has already occurred, use one of the following methods:
- If you have been prompted to activate Windows Vista, and you have not used the product key to manually activate Windows Vista, install update 931573, and then restart the computer.
- If you have been prompted to activate Windows Vista, and you have used the product key to manually activate Windows Vista, install update 931573, and then activate Windows Vista by telephone. For more information about how to activate Windows Vista, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 925616 Error message when you start Windows Vista: "Your activation period has expired"
- A brief history of anti-piracy at Microsoft by ZDNet's Ed Bott -- "I’m revisiting Microsoft’s Genuine Advantage program this week, in light of the introduction of a new WGA Notifications tool for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. As background, I thought it might be interesting to post a brief history of how Microsoft’s anti-piracy programs have evolved over the past 25 years."
- Problems arise with Vista’s validation by ZDNet's Ed Bott -- "Microsoft announced its new anti-piracy measures for Windows Vista last fall with an assurance that its tight integration into the operating system would reduce the number of false positives. But its own message boards tell a different story, with at least four third-party applications now known to cause validation problems and even outright activation failures."
- Vista WGA problems confirmed by ZDNet's Ed Bott -- "I've seen Vista's new WGA problems up close and personal, and I've got the screenshots to prove it. Why are some programs able to convince Windows that the operating system has been tampered with? Why is Windows Defender allowing them to do it? And what can you do if you're caught in the crosshairs?"