A PC that I setup using an OEM motherboard (with SLIC BIOS) and corresponding OEM Windows certificate file suddenly shows a Windows is Not Genuine error 0xC004F057, after being genuine and working fine for a few months. Before this occurred, I was told it needed a very long time to boot up, but when I checked it the boot up time is normal.
I read a lot about this error code, and it seems that the most common cause of it is a motherboard swap from an OEM motherboard to a different motherboard (or, updating the BIOS from a SLIC BIOS to a non-SLIC BIOS). The standard solution is to input the Windows product key that is shown on the Certificate of Authenticity, or (if I understand correctly) call Microsoft and explain that a motherboard swap caused this so it’ll give you a different product key to activate Windows again. However, this does not apply to the scenario I’m fixing, because no hardware or BIOS has been changed.
Running MGADiag, the log contains an abnormal entry:
OEM Activation 2.0 Data --> BIOS valid for OA 2.0: yes, but no SLIC table
Based on various forum threads I googled, I tried the followings unsuccessfully:
- SFC /SCANNOW (usually preceded by CHKDSK C: /R) – in case the not genuine error is caused by Windows system file corruption
- slmgr -ipk to install OEM SLP product key again
- slmgr -ilc to install OEM certificate again
- other slmgr options such as -upk and -ato
- System Restore to an earlier date
- Uinstalled then reinstalled KB971033 (I do not want to workaround the Windows Genuine Advantage WGA test – I want it to pass, I believe that reinstalling it may help fix WGA file corruption, if there were any)
- Rebuild Windows 7 Licensing Store
- Some solutions use loader software, but I did not try any of them because I’m dealing with an OEM motherboard with SLIC BIOS that should not require any software hack
- Some solutions involve invoking the rearm function, again I did not try them
- Some solutions deal with conflicts with anti-virus software, again I did not try them
I read that the abnormal log above means that Windows cannot read the SLIC from BIOS. So I wondered whether the BIOS is corrupted. Flashing BIOS is always a little risky, so I attempted to reset the BIOS settings first. When I entered the BIOS, it reported it had an overclocking failure previously. Anyway, I reloaded the BIOS defaults and configured the BIOS again, this time without overclocking. However, after booting the PC up, and reinstalling the product key and certificate again, the error still persisted.
So finally, I decided to flash the exact same OEM BIOS with SLIC again. After booting the PC up, it still showed the Not Genuine error, but the error code became different. Again I reinstalled the OEM certificate and OEM SLP product key. Then the error vanished, and Windows reported itself as activated.
Two weeks later, the problem reoccurred. Then I found out that the motherboard switched to a backup copy of the BIOS (without SLIC) as part of the Dual BIOS mechanism, triggered by a user error, which probably also caused the overclock failure warning. A more permanent solution, I believe, is to copy the main BIOS to the backup BIOS.