Code Purple — The Compaq/HP Booby Trap

I did a full restore, reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows Vista on a HP system. Everything went like clockwork…

Until I rebooted the machine. Then I got an error that there was a “Configuration error” and that I should call “Customer Care” with “Error Code Purple.” T that point, I could only power off the machine.

What in the world was “Error Code Purple,” I wondered. A quick search on the net revealed that this was a booby trap placed in HP and Compaq computers in which a “tattoo” or numerical signature of the motherboard and hardware configuration is created at the factory and encoded into the restore disks on a particular computer. When you re-install your system, it checks to make sure the system has not been modified. If you have modified your system, the “tattoo” generated by the checking program will be different than the original, and the system will not boot.

In order to fix this, you have to send in your computer to Compaq, or take it so some place like CompUSA or BestBuy where they will modify the “tattoo” so you can run your software on your computer again — until the next time you upgrade memory or swap a card or DVD player.

For a fee, of course.

But not all was lost as I found couple of interesting and simple solutions to bypass this issue and continue with the rest of the installation. Here is one of them for HP systems based on Vista.

When the screen comes up that tells you about the code purple, do this:

Hold shift key and press f10

Type this below in command prompt with spaces like shown

cd C:hpbinCheckDMI

press ENTER

Now, type:


press ENTER

Now you will notice that there are bunch of files listed, we need to find CheckDMI.cmd and rename it as below.

ren CheckDMI.cmd CheckDMI

press ENTER

The file should now be changed. Exit out of command prompt and restart your computer. And walaa…

You’re done! Congrats…you just successfully fixed your Code Purple problem. Now you don’t have to waste half a month of shipping your computer back and forth from an HP tech shop to get it “repaired for free”