Vista Clean Install problem

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Vista Clean Install problem
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
August 26, 2009
August 26, 2009 - 8:26 am

Hello, I just tried doing the clean vista install and I ran into something that I'm not to sure about. I downloaded the Activation Backup & Restore Program, opened it, copied the ABR file to my flash and tried running activation_backup.exe. In the cmd window it successfully found the product key, but underneath where it says Backing up activation...I get this:
!!! Could not find activation certificate !!!
** There was a problem running the backup
** All of the information may not be saved !!!

In the ABR folder, only 1 new file showed up, backup-key

Is there something I can do enable me to continue with the install?

Jim Hillier
Forum Posts: 2594
Member Since:
August 9, 2011
August 26, 2009 - 5:32 pm

Hey Joshua - I had a look around the net and there are quite a few reports of this same problem. The activation certificates should be located in the root directory of your main drive (most often 'C' drive) and included in the list with things like; Program Files, Users, Windows, etc. Here is a screenshot of mine to help you with identification:


Some things you should know:
ABR works only with Vista [b:2oi9uzlf]SP1[/b:2oi9uzlf]
ABR works only with OEM versions of Vista installed on a machine from a major manufacturer (e.g. Dell, HP, etc.). It will not work for a system installed by a smaller OEM.
ABR works only with the same version as the original OEM install.

Suggest you go to this site and have a good read through, particularly the comments section: ... nd-restore


David Hartsock
Forum Posts: 1117
Member Since:
August 7, 2011
August 29, 2009 - 8:42 am

ABR will work with SP1, SP2, and SP3 if/when it is released. The important part is that the OS [i:371tklcj]MUST[/i:371tklcj] be OEM - and OS installed on the computer by companies like HP, Dell, Toshiba, etc.

The OEM manufacturer uses a special key that can be used on multiple computers. This allows them to create images with the special key that can be used on many computers, which saves them huge amounts of time because they do not have to enter the 25 digit key into each computer.

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