Does it not give the telephone number?
This is what began me on my journey away from Win. I had spent all night re-installing XP and then it recognised the HD partitions in a different order and refused to boot without reactivation. As it had not booted sufficiently to have an Internet connection it couldn't activate online and I eventually had to ring the help number and beg permission to use my own computer.
However, that said, the MS operator who answered the call was understanding and gave me an activation code without any quibble.
To see the Win boot options press F8 repeatedly until they appear. The time Window for pressing it is quite narrow and there is no prompt, so hammer away at it as fast as you can. However, I'm not sure that will help you in this case.