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Former Member
Message 1 of 11

Another "cannot activate" post

Hi guys. I am not new to reading this forum as I have been banging my head on this same issue for months now. I just registered to post today.

I read all the "cannot activate" posts already, and no luck. I use McAfee Total Protection 2011. About 4-5 months ago this started to happen to my computer only. I have been pulling my hair out off and on since then trying to resolve this issue. I have 2 other licences on 2 other CPU's that work fine, and never did this. I have 5 licences total, 2 are not in use.

I have uninstalled/reinstalled, tried everything I could think of, and this cannot activate thing keeps poping up. Everything ran fine from my last reinstall for about a month, and today here is that blasted "activate your software" again . I click "activate" and same ole thing... nothing happens.

I am at a loss here. Virtual tech says everything is fine. My email I use is the same as my registered account email address. I try to chat with McAfee and IE8 crashes the page (XP Pro/SP3). I have no idea here. I have used McAfee software for about 8 years now and nothing like this has ever happened. Maybe someone here can help me.

Thanks in advance. 

10 Replies
Reliable Contributor
Reliable Contributor
Message 2 of 11

Re: Another "cannot activate" post

I've kept away from the various controversies in these forums about Total Protection 2011, but perhaps an observation here would not be wasted.

I have XP Home (SP3) and Internet Security (presumably 2011, but maybe not - Security Center says I've got version 10.5). All the problems that are being reported about different issues seem to be centred on the combination of XP and Total Protection : I don't see any of them. McAfee runs pretty well on this machine, which is otherwise unremarkable - old and slow. I don't get BSODs or WFP or Firewall turning off or, well, anything.

Perhaps the problem lies with the Total Protection suite? I checked the product datasheet (HERE) and looked at the comparison chart, and TP's only advantage seems to be that it offers SiteAdvisor Live, Anti-Theft, and Home Network. If you don't have a network, do you need TP? Anti-Theft is only available in the States; and SiteAdvisor basic version will do most of the job that SA Live does.

No-one has yet said they've downgraded from Total Protection to Internet Security. Perhaps someone should try it and see if there's an improvement.

What's the reason for the problems? Who knows. I don't. But I can hazard a guess that the developers don't actually have any XP machines that they can test the new releases on, and are instead running XP virtualisation under Windows 7 (Ex_Brit says he's running XP under VMWare, which may be the same thing. I wait to be corrected). As an ex-developer, I know the temptation to overlook the need to ensure that code runs on legacy platforms and older lower-spec systems. If they've all got ultra-fast machines with acres of RAM and multi-core CPUs with hyperthreading ..... well, I haven't, and nor have lots of home users. Perhaps that's one of the reasons; perhaps not.

All I know is that a lot of problems seem to have started with TP 2011, to judge by the posts here, and the reasons for them have never been satisfactorily explained - at least, not yet.  All the moderators can do is keep pressing for further investigation of the different issues and wait for the technical experts to come up with some answers - and hope they make sense to us, and to you.

Message was edited by: Hayton (left out link to datasheet) on 05/09/11 23:12:43 IST
Message 3 of 11

Re: Another "cannot activate" post

So does your product say subscription deactivating in anywhere from 1 to 7 days? Can you take a pic of the message.

Some thoughts

1 You have not got two PCs with  the same name that will send Mcafee batty.

2. No other AV ever installed?

3. When you uninstalled reinstalled did you use the method here?


Have you contacted technical support and see what they say? Try their email if chat fails.

Message was edited by: Peacekeeper on 6/09/11 8:16:19 AM
Former Member
Message 4 of 11

Re: Another "cannot activate" post

Thanks for the reply PC. My computers all have differnt names. My message says I needed to be activated by 8/24, and that I am 12 days at risk as of today. If I click activate it does nothing at all, zero. Like I said, this has been an issue for this PC for about 4-5 months now.

The only way I seem to be able to correct the problem is by doing a hard uninstall/reinstall. I have even not uninstalled and just re-downloaded the program via my account. Either way I do it everything seems fine for a week, two, four, six? And then here we go again... I get this message poping up saying I am at risk, activate your software!!! I click the button and like before, and before I get nothing.

The message says nothing about de-activating me. I cannot do anything with the software. It loads up, runs, but you cannot make any changes like it's "locked out".

The frusterating part to me is that I just went about 6 weeks with no "activate your software" message and thought it was fixed this time... nope

I have no other AVS is any of my other 2 computers, they are identical builds, protection software, etc. No other AVS ever.

I am running two computers at home from a verizon wireless card, but I don't see how that would be an issue,as it was not when I had dial up, maybe I suppose. Strange that this issue began shortly after I got the wireless sorta high speed.

I don't know... I am not one to post unless I have to, I am a thinker, DIY guy. I have been reading here on this fourm and trying to fix this for months now. Everytime I think I have it fixed it comed back to bite me... "yer not activated"!

I have chatted with McAfee tech before on this computer, this build, etc before. Since I installed MS IE8 a year ago or so I have some issues with tabs crashing and recovering and such (not new news), anyways... when I try to chat with tech support in the last few months the page crashes, recovers in la, la land (gone)...

How frusterating.

Former Member
Message 5 of 11

Re: Another "cannot activate" post

I hear you Hayton. I will try to do a custom install next time as I am sure there will be one. I will only install what is nessessary and see if it screws up again. When I install (not from disk, don't have one) I have never had to activate, it has always been automatic. Of course I had to activate with a product code years ago (2003/4 or so) when I bought a copy of the product at lets say Office Max or somewhere. Things have changed since then... I use my McAfee account and update/pay my dues annualy. I have never had this problem ever over the years, and always ran xp pro since it came out(04/05ish/whenever).

I did notice that this program had a hard update about the time my computer started screwing up with all this activate me nonsense. That was back amybe about march-may ish.

Message 6 of 11

Re: Another "cannot activate" post


Ok that 1 for cd install

I assume your date and time is correct on the PC?

Try this path as well


Message was edited by: Peacekeeper on 6/09/11 2:06:27 PM
Former Member
Message 7 of 11

Re: Another "cannot activate" post

My time is correct, my CPU is a perfect running multi core machine.

I used the second link you just posted as I have no CD.

It took me to an activate your software tool... WOW!  I never knew of such a thing.

I downloaded it, ran it, restarted it when I was prompted to after it was finished installing.

After reboot, I opened Total Protection. Under the subscription tab it had a "new" activate your subscription by xx/xx/xx off to the right hand side. I clicked it, I verified my subscription, all came back ok. I never did get a message that I had been activated. I got one that said I had been varified though.

A bit frustrated I restarted again, opened Total Protection and the activate your subscription tab is gone now. Everything seems to be normal again. My subscription information is where the big change is now. It is very detailed, and very differnt.. more like it used to be before all of this started to happen.

The results look positive. I will let you know if this thing starts tripping again.

Thanks Peacekeeper Good on you man!

Message 8 of 11

Re: Another "cannot activate" post

Got my fingers crossed for you.

Actually the renaming that file  is the fix usually as mcafee rebuilds it at least it worked for my son last week. I had another issue and actually had to do the full FAQ.

BTW this FAQ was in the search area in technical services so a good idea to look there as a first choice.


Message was edited by: Peacekeeper on 7/09/11 6:42:42 AM
Former Member
Message 9 of 11

Re: Another "cannot activate" post

Yea, me too . Still all good today.

Now this post is here on the forum for the next guy with this problem.

Thanks again Tony,


Former Member
Message 10 of 11

Re: Another "cannot activate" post

Tony, I kept my fingers crossed, but no good man... well it's better at least. It still will not activate and hold it.

After I run the activate tool all looks good and runs seemingly ok and all, it really says it is activated, when the subscription ends, everything. It takes updates, etc.

Maybe a week or two goes by and then here is the activate your software balloon again... lol! When you hit the button to activate it it goes away untill you restart the computer. Then its all over again with the activate your software routine. Mine says it is gonna be toast here in a few days because it is not activated(even though it is activated/was/?). I will just run the tool again and it will go back to what I just typed above all over again. Since my last posty here several weeks ago I have had to do this at least twice. This activate your software with win XP pro sp3 problem is just a mind boggeling PITA. I did mention that my other 2 computers with about totally identical guts don't do this... identical software, everything.

Problem not solved...   

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