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‘Either you vegetate and look out a window,
or activate and try to effect change’

Christopher Reeve

There is something particularly dispiriting about Windows activation errors – especially if you have been looking forward to embracing your new OS for quite a while. The Windows 7 Error Code 0xc004e003 is a case in point: it leaves you with a dodgy system that would actually try the patience of a saint. The good thing is, activating Windows 7 doesn’t have to be that daunting. In this very article, we’ll walk you through a number of proven solutions to the 0xc004e003 issue.

Here are some questions you might find relevant to ask:

  1. What is Windows 7 Error Code 0xc004e003?
  2. What causes the code 0xc004e003 to appear?
  3. Can I leave my Win 7 unactivated?
  4. How can I fix the error 0xc004e003 in Windows 7?

1. ‘What is Windows 7 Error Code 0xc004e003?’

To begin with, installing Win 7 on your PC is not enough for getting the most out of this crucial piece of software. Don’t forget that you are supposed to activate it, and that that is where the catch is: you need a valid product key to tie your licensed Win 7 down to your PC in order to prevent its installation on multiple machines.

So, you enter the code – and that is when the 004e003 notification pops up and wipes that smile off your face. This error code signifies that your license evaluation has failed, which means your Windows 7 has not been activated.

2. ‘What causes the code 0xc004e003 to appear?’

In most cases, bad luck. Your license might not be valid anymore. Or it has been signed incorrectly. Your product key might be invalid. Or you have a wrong product key. Your registry might be corrupt or damaged, or some malicious entity has tampered with your system files. By the way, they might be missing or corrupt. You might even have deleted some of your Microsoft-related files by accident.

To wrap things up, misfortune comes in many faces, and it is up to us to show it who is in control.

3. ‘Can I leave my Win 7 unactivated?’

No, you can’t. The longer your OS is in the grip of the 0xc004e003 error, the less usable it is. In the beginning, the notification ‘Activate Windows Online Now’ will appear in the system tray. You will get this message every day and then every four hours. Afterwards, you will get it every hour. Besides, you Control Panel will keep erupting with the wrathful ‘Windows version is not genuine’ notification. To add, you won’t be able to install system updates. And on top of that, your screen background image will turn black every hour, no matter what preference you have set. To avoid this kind of drama, you should activate your Windows 7 as soon as possible.

4. ‘How can I fix the error 0xc004e003 in Windows 7?’

To save you time and effort, we have made up an exhaustive guide on how to resolve the 0xc004e003 issue. Just work your way down to get an error-free and stable system.

Here are 7 easy ways to remove the 0xc004e003 error code:

  1. Recover your Windows-related files
  2. Try activating your Win 7 by phone
  3. Change your product key
  4. Rearm the OS via your Registry Editor
  5. Repair your registry
  6. Scan your PC for malware
  7. Check your system files

Let’s dive in:

1. Recover your Windows-related files

To start with, some of your Windows-related files might have gone missing – you might have accidentally deleted them while cleaning your PC up. Therefore, inspect your Recycle Bin carefully – they may be there. If not, use a special recovery tool to get them back. For instance, Auslogics File Recovery can recover all file types from your hard drive – even if it has been quick-formatted.

You can get your Windows-related files back with Auslogics File Recovery

2. Try activating your Win 7 by phone

Now let’s try to activate your Win 7, using a toll-free number:

  1. Windows logo key + R -> Type ‘SLUI 4’ (without quotes) into the Run box -> Press Enter
  2. You will see the Windows Activation dialog box -> Now select your country from the menu -> Next
  3. You will be provided with a toll-free phone number -> Call it and follow the instructions
  4. You will get a Confirmation ID -> Enter it -> Click Activate

3. Change your product key

The point is, you might be using the wrong product key at the moment. You should replace it with the correct one so that your Windows 7 can be activated.

Here is how you can do that:

  1. Make sure you are connected to the Internet
  2. Windows logo key + R -> Type ‘SLUI 3’ (no quotes) -> Hit Enter
  3. The Windows Activation will open -> Type in your product key -> Click Activate

4. Rearm the OS via your Registry Editor

We also recommend you to back up your Windows Registry. Here is how to do that in Windows 7:

  1. Windows logo key + S -> Type ‘regedit.exe’ (no quotes) into the Search box -> Hit Enter and provide your credentials or confirmation if prompted
  2. Your Registry Editor will open -> Now select what you want to back up
  3. Go to File -> Export
  4. Select where you want to store your backup copy -> Then give it a name -> Click on Save

Should things go wrong, restore your Registry, using the instructions below:

  1. Go to your Registry Editor (Windows logo key + S -> Type ‘regedit.exe’)
  2. File -> Import
  3. Find your backup copy -> Click OK -> Provide your confirmation -> OK

Now you can rearm your OS:

  1. Start -> Type ‘CMD’ (without quotes) -> Select CMD from the list -> Right-click on it -> Choose to run it as an administrator
  2. Enter the elevated version of your Command Prompt -> Type ‘regedit’ (without quotes) and then hit Enter -> The system registry will open
  3. In your registry, locate the ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/setup/OOBE/mediabootinstall’ key -> You should change its value to 0
  4. Return to your Command Prompt and type ‘slmgr /rearm’ there (without quotes)
  5. Reboot your computer
  6. Windows logo key + R -> Type ‘SLUI 1’ (without quotes) -> Try to activate your Win 7

No luck? Then use a toll-free number from the first fix or re-enter your product key.

5. Repair your registry

If your Windows 7 activation has fallen through, your registry might be corrupted. If that is the case, you should repair it so that your PC can get an activated version of Win 7 and run smoothly. In this regard, we strongly advise you to employ special software. For instance, Auslogics Registry Cleaner is a free tool designed to keep your Windows registry in tip-top shape.

6. Scan your PC for malware

If Windows 7 Error Code 0xc004e003 persists, your PC might be infected with malware. What you should do is run a full scan of your computer with a special tool.

Here are some of the available options:

Windows Defender

Windows Defender is your built-in security solution that is aimed at protecting your PC against nefarious intruders.

Windows Defender will keep your PC safe and secure

To use this tool, do the following:

  1. Go to your Start menu -> Type ‘Defender’ (without quotes) into the Search box
  2. Select Windows Defender from the results and click on it -> Click on Scan -> Select the Full scan option

Your third-party antivirus software

If you have a non-Microsoft antivirus solution installed on your PC, run a full system scan with it to force the malicious entities to cut and run.

Auslogics Anti-Malware

Looking for a reliable guard for your precious computer? Auslogics Anti-Malware, which can hunt down the latest and most cunning threats, knows how to keep your PC safe and secure.

Employ Anti-Malware to get rid of malware traces

7. Check your system files

If all the fixes above have been to no avail, it is time for you to take a closer look at your system files. If they are missing or corrupt, you will have difficulty activating your Windows 7. To tackle this issue, use the System File Checker tool:

Run your command prompt as an administrator -> Type ‘sfc /scannow’ (without quotes) -> Hit Enter

System File Checker will check and repair your system files. Keep in mind that this process might take a while, so brew yourself a nice cup of tea, sit back and watch the scan happen.

We hope you are no longer victimized by the annoying 0xc004e003 error code.

Do you have any ideas or questions regarding this issue?

We are looking forward to your comments!