Problem: You run the recovery install on Windows, it reboots and forces you to re-activate windows before entering Windows. The problem is, that it never lets you see the activation screen.
1. Turn On your PC
2. Press F8 repeatedly and go to Safe Mode
3. Logon as normal
(note: Administrator password is usually blank, but hopefully you know your password)
4. Allow the Desktop to fully load (answering "Yes" to continue into Safe Mode)
(note: This is just a long way of saying go to Safe Mode)
5. You can simply get into safe mode and if you have an installer for IE8 you can omit the activation reset as this will fix oobe. If not:
Click on Start - Run
6. Type in exactly: rundll32.exe syssetup,SetupOobeBnk (and click OK)
(note: one space, after "rundll32.exe " also the Oo are two letter o's in "oobe"; capitals and comma are important)
7. Wait a couple of seconds (although you will Not see any change)
8. Restart your PC normally (Start - Shutdown - Restart - Ok)
9. You are now able to go to Normal Mode again (For another 30 days)
10. Install IE8 and that should solve not being able to run windows update and not being able to activate.