Microsoft, Heeeelpppp !


Let’s make it simple.

I’m just fed up with my PC. And my relationship with Microsoft is :
(  ) Single
(  ) Married
(x) It’s complicated
(  ) Divorced
(and I’m close to next step : divorce…)

I love my new Dell Precision M4700, shipped with Windows 7 Professional x64.

I love my Genuine Microsoft Win8 Professional x64 upgrade DVD, that I bought just after, and installed on my new PC.

Yes, I love themWhen they dare to start

And I love DELL support too, who has been so reactive and kind all the time, calling me back on my mobile several times a day to check if all was okay, doing real Next-Business-Day on-site repairs, and even contacting me on Twitter a few minutes after I explained my issues with Windows 8 ! Just incredible !

If Microsoft was at that level, I would be blessed… but no, and I am going crazy with Microsoft helpdesk….

So let’s recap :


A. Since I had my Dell M4700 under Win 8 x64, I experienced several frequent random blue screens, especially after resuming hibernate mode. The issues could have been caused either by a problem with :

  1. DRAM / SoDimm. So I removed and replaced them twice, ensured they weren’t moving, ran full diagnostics from Dell Bios (>3h long), and all was ok.
  2. My Crucial M4 SSD drive. Some issues have been reported with its firmware. So I upgraded it to latest firmware. But no change.
  3. Motherboard Bios update. Mine was version A07.  Dell on its site *recommended* A10. So I tried… That led me to 4 bricked motherboards, each time a Dell technician came the next day to replace it. I just love Dell support, really.  But they should just check with their engineering team why they put bad Bios (no joke there on #BadBIOS !) on their support site.

B. I also have issues with some tcp traffic, in some cases, and that I cannot explain myself, that I detailed in my previous post. I spend a considerable amount of time trying to understand, and admit probably lacking knowledge on how investigate further.

C. The last time my motherboard was replaced by the Dell technician, it was simply impossible for me to restart Windows. It just crashed with a BSOD, and then after rebooting, Windows entered an loop between « diagnostics » and « automatic repair », that ended several hours after with a message that Windows cannot be repaired and I have to reinstall it…

D. Hopefully, since I consider my PC not to be really stable, I have several full system backups, either done with the embedded Windows « make system image » tool, or with a bootable CD running a licensed and current version of R-TT Drive Image (which suits my needs since nearly 10 years, as it is simple and efficient). Unfortunately, I have *not* being able to restart Windows 8 using any of those backups… All my R-TT backups restore successfully, Windows 8 tries to start but again crashes with a BSOD or loops between the « diagnostics » and « automatic repair » just as above.

E. As I had also a full « old » (march 2013) system backup of my initial Windows 7 Pro image, I restored it to see if it works : And yes, it works.

F. I also tried to restore the system backup, that I had made 2 weeks ago with the embedded Windows « make system image » tool. For this, I booted on my Windows 8 x64 DVD, went to repair / advanced options / restore system image. It seems it restored everything, but just before finishing, it displayed a nice « 0x80070057″ error. Microsoft support pages tells me that this error is related to backup (and not restore…), and that either I should « change decimal point settings », or  » add a CopyFileBufferedSynchronousIo registry key in HKLM »… Well, Microsoft answers are quite confusing sometimes. And nevertheless, how can I change any of those parameters since I have booted from a Live DVD to restore my backup… Something’s not working somewhere.

G. So, I resigned to try restoring my backups, and decided yesterday that I should reinstall Windows 8 Pro x64 from scratch, on a new drive. The setup went fine, and after 10 quick minutes, I was into my new desktop ! But activation issues soon rised up.

H. Windows asked me about activating it. I tried but it ended with a « Error: 0xC004C003 The activation server determined the specified product key is blocked ».

I. Just to be sure, I tried the « telephone activation » (execute « slui.exe 4 » from a cmd line) procedure, called and methodically punched all the 9 groups « ID » digits and was being told that the key was revoked…

J. So I called Microsoft support to understand, as I have the invoice, the genuine DVD, that was cellophane-wrapped and bought in a big store. But that went worse !

K. since now,

  • I have been put on hold with « relaxing » music at Microsoft for about 2 hours in total,
  • Had to redial more than 10 times, because either they cannot transfer calls, or it hangs,
  • Was given a no-longer working phone number that I was asked to call.
  • Had to dictate my Windows Key serial *and* the 63 digits of the product  ID more than 3 times  to different persons
  • At the end, nearly after 2 hours online, had someone to create me a support case, and give me a ticket number (at least)
  • But never had any tech support technician online, even after waiting >20mn straight with « relaxing » music…

H. And then, when I try to call and finally succeed in having a voice to speak with, either I am  told :

  • that I shouldn’t have called the tech support, since it is an activation issue,
  • that I shouldn’t have called the activation support, since I have a ticket so it’s tech support,
  • that anyway I have to wait 48 hours that someone dares to get back in touch with me…

 (and by the way, the Microsoft Support Twitter account that I found (@MSVousAide) seems not to answer to anybody, based on the frequency of last tweets !)


Can anyone working at Microsoft, or any kind person, either :

  • help me booting on any of my Windows 8 system images
  • help me understand why my Windows key is revoked, and reactivate it once again ? (I can fax/email my invoice if needed).


 P L E E A A A S E !!!




Bruno Kerouanton on novembre 13th 2013 in IT

4 Responses to “Microsoft, Heeeelpppp !”

  1. yann responded on 14 Nov 2013 at 18:05 #

    I think no-one at microsoft still understand their system!
    Go the Linux way, if your brand new Dell laptop UEFI Bios allows you to do so…

  2. Bruno Kerouanton responded on 18 Nov 2013 at 11:22 #

    It seems Microsoft support is not so bad, in fact, once you have the chance to obtain a ticket. I have been recontacted both by email and by phone, and the kind support technician asked me to try several actions in order to reactivate my license.

    The issue, is that it didn’t change anything. I still get the fatal error saying I’ve exceeded my total validation number.

    What is surprising is that she told me the number of times my Windows 8 Pro was activated, according to their server :
    – on Apr. 4, 2013 : 2 times
    – on Oct 29, 2013 : 4 times
    – on Nov 16, 203 : 5 times

    I guess this is really weird, as I agree it could be the number of tries I made, but it is certainly not the number of successful activations… It doesn’t make any sense that I activated 4 or 5 times my Windows 8 key on the same day. So either it is a bug on the activation process or server, or I don’t understand something.

    Meanwhile, this weekend, since I wanted to move on, I went to the local store and bought *another* Windows 8 Pro set of CDs. With the new key provided, I was able to activate my Windows installation, and reinstall most of my applications (it took me the whole weekend, I still do have >200 applications, most of them being licensed or requiring activation).

    When reinstaling everything this weekend, I realized how much I am contributing to Microsoft wealth ! Here is the recap of boxed genuine products I bought and use since 3 years :
    – 1x Windows 7 x64 Integral, boxed
    – 1x Windows 7 Home for 3 pcs, boxed (never used yet, I bought it just in case I needed to make VMs).
    – 5x Windows 8 Pro, boxed (yes, all that : for family & testing needs…)
    – 1x Office 2010 Home for 3 pcs, boxed
    – 1x Office 2011 OSX boxed
    Not counting all OEM versions, and old licenses (from MS-Dos 6.22!)

    Don’t believe I’m totally pro-Microsoft : I also have several sets of OpenBSD original CDs, am also a heavy user of Debian, and have several Macs at home too…

    Next step : She told me that since I had reactivated with a new key, next step will be tomorrow, trying to activate my invalid Win8 license on a new disk, after reinstalling win7+win8… I’ll try that tonight (and by the way try to see if my « corrupted data » error still appears, step by step…

  3. Bruno Kerouanton » Every problem has a solution ! responded on 20 Nov 2013 at 22:55 #

    […] because the two major problems I had detailed in my previous posts are now solved […]

  4. hik3 responded on 05 Déc 2013 at 17:09 #

    La prochaine fois fais un backup de ta licence avec ça : 😉 …

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