A problem is preventing Windows from accurately checking the license for this computer.

Recently, we had to do a repair installation of a Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 for a client.


The repair install ran fine, prompting for the following tasks:


  • Microsoft Windows 2003 SBS License Key
  • Keyboard, Language and Regional Settings


Once the repair install was complete, the server booted up as normal displaying the logon screen ( ctrl alt del )

After inputting our credentials, a boxed opened with the following message:


A problem is preventing Windows from accurately checking the licenses for this computer.


Three options were available:

  1. Yes – resulted in the box closing and nothing happening.
  2. No – resulted in our session being logged off.
  3. Cancel – resulted in the server shutting down.


The server was left running for several minutes to see if the Activation Wizard would launch – no luck.

Rebooting the SBS 2003 Server in SAFE MODE AND NETWORKING resulted in the same error as above.

However, rebooting the server in Safe Mode provided full access to the server without networking of course.

From experience, the above situation occurs if the operating system has a newer version of Internet Explorer installed.  Before the crash occurred, Internet Explorer 8 was installed on the Microsoft Windows 2003 SBS Server.

However, the repair installation was ran from genuine Microsoft Windows 2003 SBS CD 1 which includes Internet Explorer 6 as standard.

Thankfully, Internet Explorer 8 can be installed through Safe Mode.

We downloaded Internet Explorer 8 from Microsoft, transferred it to a USB drive and mounted the drive on the SBS 2003 server and installed it in Safe Mode.

Once installation was done, we rebooted the machine normally, logged in and clicked “yes” to activate.

Problem solved 🙂

2 thoughts on “A problem is preventing Windows from accurately checking the license for this computer.

  1. Thank you for this. I had a customer with and old 2003 standard server with system32 files missing today. After repairing, I had the same activation issue. I looked all over and many places said to uninstall IE7. Well, after the repair, I already had ie6. I hadn’t thought of re installing ie8. BTW, the link in the topic pointed to a feature pack or something. I just googled ie8 for 2003 and found the correct download.

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