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I use a Dell Studio XPS for work. Don't give me that look and stop rolling your eyes. It was on sale, had a decent warranty, had above average specs and came with a free monitor. And I made use of the warranty twice before it was up. Both calls for failed HDD's. When Dell replaces a HDD, they send you another one Sysprep'd and loaded with their branded version of Windows. You run the setup, install your software and you are good to go. So what happens when you don't have a warranty and your HDD starts to die...again?

You buy another HDD, of course! And luckily for you, most HDD's come with some sort of cloning software or you can download the software from the company that manufactured your shiny new HDD. So I clone my HDD and everything is fine. My PC boots, all my software is there and behaves just as it should. Except for the damn Windows Not Genuine pop-up I see every 4 hours.



I run slui.exe 4, get my code and run through the prompts only to discover that the automated system can't authenticate my code and I need to talk to a representative of Microsoft. Joy. I sit on hold for 25 minutes and then explain my situation to gentleman with the heavy Indian accent who is clearly reading from a script and lost his place in said script on more then one occasion. He can not help because this is a Dell PC and I would need to call Dell. I ask "So I need to call back but use the Dell 1-800 number instead?" He chuckled but declined to answer my question. I hang up and decide I'm either going to fix it or hack it with a bootloader. Screw the dumb shit, I just want this fixed.

So I run slui.exe 3, enter in the Product Key and Windows starts to Activate. This is followed by the "Activation was Successful" pop-up. Yay! Well, that was incredibly easy.  But after 4 hours, the Windows Not Genuine pop-up appears. D'oh! This is becoming very irritating. I check under my System settings and Windows is indeed activated and I have my little genuine Microsoft pic down at the bottom.

I then try the MGADiag utility, hoping it might lead to something. No reason to bore you with the details so here is a snippet :

Diagnostic Report (1.9.0019.0):
WGA Data-->
Validation Status: Genuine
Validation Code: 0

So what next? Well, the only thing that changed was my HDD so I think I'll make Windows think nothing ever changed by altering the serial number on my new HDD to match the serial number of my failing HDD.  I used this and their website can be found here. If using Windows 7, run the program as Administrator. Hard Disk Serial Number Changer does exactly that. It changes the serial number on your HDD. After a quick reboot, my serial number was changed and no more Windows Not Genuine pop-ups.