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Parallels Desktop was recently updated to version 4.0. This apparently involved some changes to the virtualized hardware presented to the OS since machines created with older versions of Parallels have to be upgraded.
You can see where this is going. The conversion process "fails" with a message that something has to be done manually. When you get into the machine, Vista is asking to reactivated. Here's the kicker. The reactivation process wants to use the network. But you haven't installed the drivers for the virtualized hardware yet, so it isn't available.
You've got a Catch-22. To reactivate you need the network, but you can't install the drivers until you reactivate. What to do?
Microsoft thought of this scenario. There are folks (2 somewhere in Iowa) who don't have Internet connections. So Microsoft provides an automated phone activation system. It works like this:
After you enter in your product activation key, and click "phone activation" you see this screen:
Call the number and the automated system asks you to read or type in the numbers from each of the 9 groups--54 numbers. Then the system reads back 56 numbers to you, which you type in the boxes in 9 groups. Click next and if you didn't make any mistakes, you're done. Vista comes up, birds sing, and the sun shines. Well, Vista comes up anyway.
So, the advantage clearly wasn't to me since WGA cost me 30 minutes of my life. Sigh.