Solving “A problem occurred when Windows tried to activate. Error Code 0x8007232B”

My Problem:

Windows 7 Enterprise was installed with a MAK key but could not activate. I received the error “A problem occurred when Windows tried to activate. Error Code 0x8007232B”

My Solution:

Re-input your Windows installation’s license key by either using the “Change Product Key” link in My Computer Properties (also can be reach by using the command “slui.exe 0x03”) or by using the following command:

slmgr -ipk your-key-here

For more information about the slmgr command, check out ss64.com’s article on it.

The Long Story:

I had a freshly installed Windows 7 instance at a client’s site that I logged into only to be greeted with an error message saying that the installation was not able to activate. I manually launched the activation application and received the following error:

A problem occurred when Windows tried to activate. Error Code 0x8007232B

For a possible resolution, click “More Information”

Contact your system administrator or technical support department for assistance.

A problem occurred when Windows tried to activate. Error Code 0x8007232B

I’m the SysAdmin!!” I shouted like many other admins have done when faced with similar error messages. I was temped to do my best Ross Scott impersonation and bellow “I am Captain Gordon Freeman of the International House of Pancakes ordering you to…” but resisted the urge with sufficient willpower.

Clicking the “More Information link” showed me a little more information:

The following information was found for this error:

Code: 0x8007232B

Description: DNS name does not exist.

Code: 0x8007232B  Description: DNS name does not exist.

My first inclination was that perhaps it was looking for a KMS server and not finding one. This was such a small office that it used MAK keys, not a KMS system but the possibility existed that I had misconfigured something. Some Google searching turned up a fairly unanimous result. One such example is over at Insomniac Geek which suggests to re-enter one’s product key to resolve the issue. One can do that with the slmgr.vbs script or simply go to My Computer Properties and select “Change Product Key”

Change Product Key

After doing so, the Windows installation was successfully activated.

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