“Windows 7/Vista Cannot Activate Due to Invalid Volume License Key” error

Microsoft’s Windows activation woes continue. OEM versions of Windows Vista and 7 (ie. bundled with new computers) have activation error due to corrupt/missing data in the motherboard BIOS chip. The issue is known for Lenovo X60 and T60 laptops.

The error messages might be any of the following:

Invalid Volume License Key
In order to activate, you need to change your product key to a valid Multiple Activation Key (MAK) or Retail key.

You must have a qualifying operating system license AND a Volume license Windows upgrade license, or a full license for Windows through an OEM or from a retail source.

Error Code: 0xC004F059
The Software Licensing Service reported that a license in the computer BIOS is invalid.

Error Code: 0xc004f035
The Software Licensing Service reported that the computer could not be activated with a volume license product key. Volume licensed systems require upgrading from a qualified operating system. Please contact your system administrator or use a different type of key.

The short answer to this error is: get a replacement motherboard, or a new Windows license.

If the user activates Windows by Key Management Service (KMS), then the error might occur. It might be caused by key management server being unable to find a legit Windows marker in the BIOS. This might happen if your computer BIOS is corrupted, or if the computer came without a qualifying Windows OS, again due to which the Windows marker is not found in BIOS (as is obvious from error 3 listed above).

While obviously messy and troublesome for the end user, the missing Windows marker is an essential part of volume licensing – it determines which computers and OSes can be upgraded according to the terms set in licensing.

If the errors show up on an OEM PC that you bought, then the fault lies with the OEM manufacturer, because they should have ensured the presence of a qualifying OS and marker.

You should ask the OEM vendor for a compatible motherboard replacement. If the computer came without a Windows version, you may have to get a retail license key. There is no other legal way around this – of course, hacks exist, but for something you should be entitled to, there is no point going for illegal hacking.

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