Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

October 18, 2006

How I broke Windows XP Genuine Advantage test and then fixed it

Filed under: Computer Related,Computer Tips,Tech Related — Suramya @ 11:50 PM

A couple of days ago I had a slight problem with my internet connection, basically what was happening was that I couldn’t access and associated sites (Orkut, gmail etc) but I could access everything else with issues so I spoke to a Comcast representative and she told me to run the following command on my Windows XP laptop (I told her I was using XP because I didn’t want to get into an argument with her that the problem was because I was using Linux.):

regsvr32 softpub.dll

I ran the command and it didn’t fix the issue. So I decided to un-register the dll using the following command:

regsvr32 /u softpub.dll

as I wasn’t sure what this dll did and didn’t want to register random stuff on my system. I ran the command and everything was fine for a couple of days, I could browse the net without issues and everything seemed to work.

Then all of a sudden after a couple of days I get an error message stating that my version of windows could not be validated so I must be running a pirated version of XP. The funny part was that I had installed WGA two months ago on the laptop and it had validated the license and the license is valid. So I went to the Windows update site and tried to validate my copy but ActiveX refused to run. It told me to try a manual check where it downloaded the ActiveX and then tried to run it but that also failed… Finally I tried a check using an executable I downloaded but that validated my license as valid. Now I was confused and tried to force a validation test but every time the system would refuse to run ActiveX and the validation would fail.

After beating my head on the issue for a little while I finally remembered the dll that I had unregistered a while ago so I went through my command history and found the command to re-register it and went ahead and registered it. Then I had to reboot the box and when it came back up I was finally able to run the online validation tool which verified my version of windows was valid. After it verified it I had to reboot again and that fixed the issue.

Moral of the story: If you don’t know what a dll does then don’t uninstall it.
Second Moral of the story: Its a good habit to keep a log of all the commands you run, and any changes you make to the system. Having this will save you a lot of time an energy when something gets messed up.

This is all for now, will post more about my experiments with computers and the messes I caused later.

– Suramya

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