This seems to be happening a little more frequently in the last couple of weeks. You go to log on to your computer but you can not, getting logged off with an error like the above or similar.
There are several posts and forums about how to repair this error by re-registering DLL files, deleting Windows Product Activation Files (WPA files), virus scans.
I like many others tried many of the suggestions and had no luck in getting beyond the error – however there is a way around this.
Windows XP’s installer has the ability to repair an existing installation rather than overwrite it. A repair install rewrites the WPA files, registry keys and upon boot will reactivate your installation. Repair installs do not affect your current user data – once complete you should see your desktop as it was.
There are some rules to completing repair installs though – the major being selecting the correct installation media i.e. dont use XP Home if you have XP Pro installed, it wont work. If you have Service Pack 3 installed, dont use a XP Install disc that only has service pack 2 or a vanilla disk – it will break things if you do. Match your installation media to your current system, if you only have a disc that contains an earlier service pack, or none at all – take a look at http://www.nliteos.com/ and read about how to slipstream service packs and updates into a installer CD.
Another common mistake people make doing repair installs is not having a CD key – if you dont have one, dont bother trying the repair process, it will get to the point where you need a key and you will be stuck, if you say activate later you will just run back into an activation error.
How do I do a repair install?
Boot your computer from CD with the matched installation, and make sure you press a key when it says “Press any key to boot from CD” or the system will proceed to boot from the hard drive.
Initially you will see the EULA agreement where you will need to press F8 to agree to the terms then the installer will begin to start. The first screen you will see will advise you to press enter to install Windows or press R for recovery console. Press enter as afterwards the installer will scan for existing installations and then give you another prompt.
The next prompt is press esc to install a fresh copy of windows or press r to do a repair install – this is the option you want. Press r and let the computer do its thing, go do something else for a while and come back and follow the prompts, the computer will reboot eventually to a graphical installation, again follow the prompts through.
Once complete the computer should boot up as normal and simply login to your user. If you want to double check your activation status, go to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com this site will not work unless the system is activated.
If you did not slip stream a CD using nLite you are best off to install all of the high priority updates from the update site, some updates may be necessary for certain components or software installed in your system to run correctly.
So now, next time you see this error on a machine instead of trying to reregister all of the WPA components, move the wpa.dbl files and all of the other “tricks” just do a repair install instead, in most cases it will save more time then trying to manually repair the WPA error.