chasblount
2 Bronze

Windows activation problem

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I have an XPS 8500 that came from the factory with Windows 8.  Soon after the purchase (around first of 2013) I made the rescue disks on 4 DVDs.  Recently the hard drive failed.  I gave the Dell salesman the service tag #  and ordered a new hard drive.  I Asked what I needed to re-install the OS.  I was told I needed a USB key ($39.99) and ordered one.  I was told this would get me up and running. 

I installed the new drive and inserted the USB key.  Windows installed and runs.  However, I cannot activate Windows.  Using Belarc advisor I was able to find my Windows key imbedded on the bios.  When I input that key the pop up tells me that the current edition is Windows 8 Pro and the current product key ends with QPBRC.  This differs from the product key embedded in the bios and I get an error code of 0xc004c003 'the activation server determined the specified product key has been blocked" and that I need to purchase a new key. 

I'm assuming that the problem is that I have a valid key for Windows 8 but not Windows 8 Pro.

I called Dell and was given a number to call Microsoft; alternatively, I was told that I'd need to go through Dell's tech support at a cost of around $250. 

I am at a loss at this point.  Any suggestions are welcome! 

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Philip_Yip
7 Thorium

RE: Windows activation problem

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Does the sticker affixed to your system say Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro? Does the Edition say Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro? It sounds like Dell send out the wrong Edition of installation media.

Lets try to resolve this first I advise first making sure your BIOS is up to date revision A13:

http://downloads.dell.com/published/pages/xps-8500.html

See here to determine your (UEFI) BIOS revision and update. Ensure UEFI and SecureBoot are enabled:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/updating-the-bios/#BIOSRevision

Next you have a choice install Windows 10 TH2 or clean installing Windows 8.1.

Installation Media from Microsoft will not ask for a product key and automatically pick up your UEFI BIOS embedded SLP key during installation provided the Edition of the Installation Media and your Product Key match. Simply put if you asked for a product key you are installing the wrong Edition.

I advise Windows 10 TH2 over Windows 8.1 see here for details on your Free Upgrade from Windows 8.1:

https://philipyip.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/th2-upgrade-table.pdf

To Download Windows 10 TH2 installation media see here:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-windows-10-oem-and-retail-iso/

To Download Windows 8.1 installation media see here:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-windows-8-1-retail-and-oem-iso/

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell

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Philip_Yip
7 Thorium

RE: Windows activation problem

Jump to solution

Does the sticker affixed to your system say Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro? Does the Edition say Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro? It sounds like Dell send out the wrong Edition of installation media.

Lets try to resolve this first I advise first making sure your BIOS is up to date revision A13:

http://downloads.dell.com/published/pages/xps-8500.html

See here to determine your (UEFI) BIOS revision and update. Ensure UEFI and SecureBoot are enabled:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/updating-the-bios/#BIOSRevision

Next you have a choice install Windows 10 TH2 or clean installing Windows 8.1.

Installation Media from Microsoft will not ask for a product key and automatically pick up your UEFI BIOS embedded SLP key during installation provided the Edition of the Installation Media and your Product Key match. Simply put if you asked for a product key you are installing the wrong Edition.

I advise Windows 10 TH2 over Windows 8.1 see here for details on your Free Upgrade from Windows 8.1:

https://philipyip.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/th2-upgrade-table.pdf

To Download Windows 10 TH2 installation media see here:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-windows-10-oem-and-retail-iso/

To Download Windows 8.1 installation media see here:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-windows-8-1-retail-and-oem-iso/

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell

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chasblount
2 Bronze

RE: Windows activation problem

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Thank you for replying.  There is no sticker.  When I purchased the desktop from Dell it came with Windows 8.  Later I updated to Windows 8.1.  When the hard drive began to fail I used Belarc Advisor and was able to retrieve the embedded 25 digit Windows product key. 

"Simply put if you asked for a product key you are installing the wrong Edition."

I did not ask for a product key.  When I ordered the replacement hard drive I asked the salesman what I would need to reinstall the OS.  He told me I need the USB and so I ordered it.  He had my service tag number which indicates what OS I had and what key I needed.  Knowing what I now know I would've made sure Dell sent the key for Windows 8 as opposed to 8 Pro.  When I replaced the drive and used the key to install the OS all works fine except Windows will not activate.

I took your advice and updated the BIOS.  I'm leery of installing Windows 10 because Dell has indicated that they have not tested it on the XPS 8500 and will not update drivers.  I'd prefer to get my 8500 back to normal with Windows 8.1, use it for another year or two then replace it with a new desktop with the latest OS preinstalled. 

I'm in the process of following your instructions in regards to downloading the Windows 8.1 ISO and creating a bootable USB.  I will post the results later.

Thanks again!

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Philip_Yip
7 Thorium

RE: Windows activation problem

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Several have upgraded this model to Windows 10 TH2 without any major problems. You have until August to take the free upgrade. Likely Microsoft will be more aggressive pushing the upgrade closer to that time.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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chasblount
2 Bronze

RE: Windows activation problem

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Thank you, you're a star!  Following your advice I have now updated my BIOS, created a bootable USB flash drive, reinstalled Windows and Windows has activated.  Good to go.  Thanks so much for your help!

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Philip_Yip
7 Thorium

RE: Windows activation problem

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Great, I'm glad your install was successful. :)

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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