Clive asks: Four years ago I bought Microsoft’s Vista Ultimate, which was a state of the art operating system for PCs at the time. Recently, my hard drive failed and I re-installed Vista from the disk I’d bought.
I was told that my product key was out of date and had 30 days to load a new key in. I thought it must be a mistake and carried on.
Microsoft then cut most of the functionality from my PC and keyboard and demanded £109 to “fix” my PC. I refused and now cannot access anything on my hard drive and am limited to one hour on the internet. Surely this cannot be right? If you buy an operating system it should be for as long as you want it.
Which? Computing helpdesk supervisor, John Bogue, responds:
Sorry to hear you’ve been having this trouble. You are of course allowed to use your Microsoft operating system for as long as you wish – there is no termination date set.
However, this is a common issue when re-installing Windows, because it effectively ‘resets’ the system. All you needed to do was simply enter the key again as you would have done four years ago and it would have carried on working as normal.
We’ve never heard of Microsoft charging anyone for a new key under these circumstances. When a similar thing happened to my Vista system I phoned Microsoft and it simply gave me a product key to enter and all was fine. There was never any charge for this service. And once you have entered the new key you should have complete functionality of your system back.
I would recommend you contact Microsoft again and to ensure you are getting through to them, use these contact details:
Thames Valley Park
Telephone: 0844 800 2400
I hope this helps and that this time it goes according to plan.
Have you ever encountered problems reinstalling your operating system or using a product key? What other problems have you had when your hard drive has failed?