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Activation Alert

Activation Alert
by Gary Woods

The other day a friend of mine called about an Activation Alert on Windows 8. She had purchased a retail version of 8 but when she put it on the machine it turned out to be an upgrade disk in the package. These things happen and Microsoft is very good about activating their products when problems pop up.

I couldn't find the phone number for Microsoft right away so I just went to Google and input "Windows 8 Activation" and grabbed the top phone number. A friendly gentleman got on the line and was more than happy to help me. He took control of the computer which often happens with tech support and that's where things got crazy. He ran a little diagnostic which popped up on the screen a graphic which showed that somehow when you input a URL like it re-directed you to another website. Which is a sure sign of a virus or Trojan Horse.

Being an amiable and helpful person he offered to cure what ailed this machine which of course required a credit card and that's where I pulled the plug. While we were talking I started carefully examining the websites that this person was sending me to and where he was now taking me.

After severing the connection I stepped back and looked for the actual Microsoft Activation phone number. A few minutes later Windows 8 was activated and I ran a complete virus scan to make sure my previous new found friend hadn't left anything in his wake. So, the moral of the story is take your time and make sure you're talking to the right person to fix your problem and don't just take that top entry on Google.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc