We clued you in to the special $19.95 deal for a year of Microsoft Windows Live OneCare service last month. You didn’t snooze and then pay $49.95 after May 1, did you? Either way, the service is working very well for me and the subscription covers three computers for the year. One small glitch I ran into: I installed it on three PCs but it would only activate the product on two. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the service to activate out of the beta product on PC number 3; it kept indicating that instead, I could apply to be a beta participant. Turns out it was truly a minor issue, but one I thought to mention or you could run into the same problem. I also wanted to highlight the speedy service from Rajorshi over at the Microsoft Customer Service area.
After uninstalling and reinstalling to no avail on the third computer, I shot an e-mail to Microsoft support. In less than 24 hours, I got my response. Rajorshi suggested that I click the Purchase Now button in OneCare, sign in with my Microsoft Passport account and that ought to do it. Unfortunately, I had attempted that several times previously, which prompted my service request. I should also point out: if Internet Explorer isn’t your default browser, clicking the Purchase Now button will result in a "non-supported browser" message, adding more confusion to the situation.
Since option 1 wasn’t anything I hadn’t tried before, I scanned further down and Rajorshi had another plan. If the Purchase Now approach didn’t work, he suggested that I completely uninstall OneCare and reinstall with one very important but subtle step: sign-in to Microsoft Passport first when hitting the OneCare page. I could swear I did that previously, but doing so and then reinstalling did enable the product on the third computer.
By the way: that little "Sign In" button on the OneCare page up at the top right is all of 66 x 19 pixels in size; I generally never sign out of Passport, but for folks who aren’t familiar with it, its lack of prominence could create some support nightmares for these types of Microsoft products and services. Each time OneCare prompted me to sign-in to Passport during my installations, I did so, but it looks like the "real" authentication is before you even download or install the product: again, a subtle point, but very important if you purchase OneCare. Thanks for the help Rajorshi!