I just performed a reinstall on Windows XP professional after a virus wiped out my file structure on Dell laptop. Used a CD that was floating around my company as the OS was preinstalled on my laptop and the original disk is no longer with the computer. Reinstall seemed to complete without a hitch. Asked for product key for activation. Took the original product key from the bottom of the computer and entered it. Windows moved on to a black authorizing screen with the words "please wait..." I waited for several hours with no activity. Reluctantly determined that a hard reboot would be necessary to get off the screen. After this Windows starts normally all the way through login then says it is loading personal settings/applying personal settings, then a message saying "This copy of Windows must be activated with Microsoft before you can log on. Do you want to activate Windows now?" With Yes and No buttons. I click yes. The process progresses to a blue screen and an arrow with an hourglass, then .... nothing. For hours if I leave it.
I realize I most likely screwed up the activation with the hard reboot while the process was hung up. I called technical support and keep getting transferred between Activation and Technical support. Plus a fuzzy connection and language barrier caused me to abandon the process after being repeatedly asked what is the activation number after I add the product key which I did not write down and can no longer access. How do I progress beyond this point to repair the activation?