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Windows activation is a funny thing, because it only really seems to punish legitimate users. Like any form of Digital Rights Management (DRM), the software pirates have simple and quick ways to get around it, while regular users are left with complicated license keys and phoning Microsoft in order to use their software without limitation. Any form of DRM is an unwanted restriction in my opinion, and I won’t tolerate it.
If you had previously applied an activation hack to your Windows installation to get around that restriction, you may be shocked to find that the recent Service Pack 1 update from Microsoft nullified that hack and now Windows 7 fails activation. It is now giving you a warning and a countdown. Here’s how to fix that and activate Windows permanently again (without phoning Microsoft). We are publishing this information to help those of you who find yourself in this situation.
Note: MakeUseOf.com does not condone the use of unlicensed software under any circumstances. It is your responsibility to ensure you own a correct license key for every copy of Windows you own. If you choose to remove the DRM and activation procedures from your legally-purchased software, that is your choice.
Since previous activation hacks have been patched, you’ll need to use the newest piece of software. HAL7600 will work in most cases to completely activate your Windows 7 to “genuine” status and remove the unnerving countdown. However, there are a few requirements and issues if you’ve previously patched your system.
Like any hacks to core Windows files, the utility will be detected as generic malware by any virus detectors. You need to disable any virus protection you have (including Windows Defender, Security Essentials, or third party apps like Sophos or Norton) in order to continue. Some previous hacks also need to be uninstalled before using this one, such as Chew-WGA, Chew7, IR4, RemoveWAT, Daz’s Loader, and any other loaders or BIOS mods.
After doing those steps, be sure to run a quick repair on core system files by typing in the following command from an elevated command-prompt. To get an elevated command prompt, locate All Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt and right click, then select Run As Administrator. Give permission to run, then type in:
This will return any key files to their original state.
Install .Net v4
.Net is a an app framework from Microsoft that you need to run HAL760 (ironic?). If you don’t have it, download and install it from Microsoft first. If you’re unsure, just try running the app anyway – it will give an error if you don’t have it installed already.
Run HAL7600 & Finish Up
The installation process is one click, but your computer will need to restart afterwards, after which you should have a happy genuine system with no countdown. Let us know if it worked for you in the comments. Also, let us know how you feel about DRM. Are you a software developer who feels it’s a necessity or do you trust your users?