This issue may occur if the WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) engine does not have permission to access the data.dat file. In order to confirm this point and resolve the issue, do the following:
1. Log on to the computer using an Administrator user account.
2. Click “Start”, and click “My Computer”.
3. On the “Tools” menu, click “Folder Options”.
4. Click the “View” tab.
5. Under “Hidden files and folders”, check on “Show hidden files and folders”.
6. Click to clear the “Hide extensions for known file types” check box, and then click “OK”.
7. We will find the file named “data.dat” under the following folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Windows Genuine Advantage\data
8. Right-click the “data.dat” file, and click “Properties”.
9. Click the “Security” tab.
Note: If the “Security” tab cannot be viewed, please refer to the information after Step 12.
10. Click “Advanced”.
11. In the “Name” tab, please check if “Everyone” is listed. If so, please click the “Exit” button, and check on “Full Control”. If “Everyone” is not listed, please click the “Add” button, enter the name “Everyone” (without the quotation marks), press “enter “from the keyboard, choose “Full Control” in the pop-up window, and click “OK”.
12. Please click “OK” to accept the changes.
Please also check the information below regarding viewing of the Security Tab in Window XP Professional Edition.
1. Click “Start”, and click “My Computer”.
2. On the “Tools” menu, click “Folder Options”.
3. In the “View” tab, uncheck the option “Use simple file sharing (Recommended)” at the bottom of the list.
4. Click “OK”.
In order to access the Security Tab in XP Home Edition, you have to restart the computer into Safe Mode. In Safe Mode, only accounts with Computer Administrator privileges are presented on the friendly logon screen. Log onto Windows using one of these Computer Administrator accounts, then make the changes to the data.dat file’s permissions as described in the above post. When done, restart, and resume what you were doing with MSE.
Thanks go to our Test Monkey of the Day, Ja! (For validating this fix works)