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Preserve OEM Pre-Activation XP Home (Dell PCs)


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So where I work we have many Dell machines and some of them are XP Home (we have lots of older machines). I am in charge of redeploying the OS to each machine when necessary. I have figured out a way (using sysprep) to do this just fine, but I have hit a major snag.

Basically what happens is when I install XP Pro I would normally use the master keys listed here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb457078.aspx

But I cannot find an analog for XP Home (or even Vista/7, which I'm sure I will have to worry about eventually). As it is I have to go to each machine and enter the product key from the coa on the side. I would like to find a master key to preserve the per-activated state. Any suggestions?

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If you want to preserve the Dell OEM preactivation for XP Home, you need to do a couple things:

As a preliminary matter, your XP Home source CD will need to be an OEM CD, as opposed to a retail CD. If you still have the Dell OEM CD, it has all the files you already need and you don't need to do anything more than insert the CD and run it.

However, if you don't have the Dell OEM CD, but have another manufacturer's OEM CD, you can make your own Dell OEM CD in the following manner:

First, use a tool like the Magical Jellybean Keyfinder (http://www.magicaljellybean.com/) or Speccy (http://www.piriform.com/speccy) to retrieve the Dell OEM product key for XP Home on a preactivated machine. As far as I know, Dell has used the same product key since XP was released in 2001; however, you should use whatever product key is already on the machine. You will then insert this key into your winnt.sif file in the I386 folder in your XP Home source.

Second, run the following script on a preactivated machine to retrieve four files you will need to copy to your I386 folder in your XP Home source:

attrib -s %SystemRoot%\system32\CatRoot\{F750E6C3-38EE-11D1-85E5-00C04FC295EE}\OEMBIOS.CAT
makecab %SystemRoot%\system32\CatRoot\{F750E6C3-38EE-11D1-85E5-00C04FC295EE}\OEMBIOS.CAT
attrib +s %SystemRoot%\system32\CatRoot\{F750E6C3-38EE-11D1-85E5-00C04FC295EE}\OEMBIOS.CAT
makecab %SystemRoot%\system32\OEMBIOS.BIN
makecab %SystemRoot%\system32\OEMBIOS.DAT
makecab %SystemRoot%\system32\OEMBIOS.SIG

Copy this script, paste it into Notepad, and name it OEMFiles.cmd. When you run the script, the files will automatically copy to whatever directory OEMFiles.cmd is in; therefore, I usually put OEMFiles.cmd in its own folder before running it. Simply run the script, then copy the four files in your I386 folder in your source.

If you need a primer on making your own custom XP CD, look here: MSFN's Unattended Windows Guide

EDIT: As for Vista preactivation, it's even easier, and you don't even need an OEM source - just follow orev's guide using his VistaABR tool: http://directedge.us/content/abr-activation-backup-and-restore Supposedly this may work with 7 as well, but I haven't used it yet with 7.

Edited by jrf2027
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Thanks for the info, I'll be sure to try it out.

Just FYI, I am using a DELL OEM restore CD. When I do an attended install I do not need to activate, but when I use winnt.sif it requires me to enter a product key. I see no way around that short of the method you described. Although for pro there is a pre-activated master key that i referenced in my first post. I just wish I could use something like that.

Though after looking at it once more, couldn't I, since I am using a DELL OEM CD, just extract the product key from a manually installed machine and use that alone? The OEM disc should automatically compliment it with those four files correct?

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just extract the product key from a manually installed machine and use that alone? The OEM disc should automatically compliment it with those four files correct?

use the key that's in an answer file (.sif?) on the original CD (or get it from a running machine that's installed by Dell with that version of the preactivated OS).

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest Attended

Today I had an acer aspire e360 to repair and reinstall but the owner did not have the original install cd anymore, so I downloaded a clean windows xp home sp3 oem cd and installed the pc while using the original key shown on the "genuine acer xp home oem sticker". I activated after installation completed. Then I used "OEMFiles.cmd" as shown above. Then I copied those 4 files to the i386 folder of the cd. Nlited an iso and burned it to an cd but after installation windows still says it has to be activated within 30 days ??????

I did exactly this:

01. I unpakked the original iso with nlite to a folder

02. Integrated post sp3 dutch updatepack using ryanvmintegrator

03. Integrated msie8 addon using ryanvmintegrator

04. Integrated dx9 addon using ryanvmintegrator

05. integrated .net 1.1 thru 3.5sp1 addon using ryanvmintegrator

06. Tweaked some things, inserted the original oem key using nlite

07. Integrated masstorage (incl. txt mode), cpu, chipset, lan and wlan driverpacks (driverpacks.net)

08. Deleted LANG folder from i386 to downsize the iso for cd

09. Copied the 4 fils obtained by using "OEMFiles.cmd" to the i386 folder

10. Used nlite again to make a bootable iso and burned it to cd also using nlite

11. I installed the pc but still it needs to be activated

Where did it go wrong??????

It's supposed to be an extra service for my friend because after 4 or 5 times activating by the internet windows won't activate anymore and you have to call them to get activation. I'm also making a ghost backup of the activated install so reinstalling will not be a problem anymore but I'd like to know what I could have done wrong.

Edited by Attended
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Why is it people can't find it in themselves to follow the licensing agreements they agree to, nor copyright, nor further the forum rules here? I guess if you aren't going to follow EULAs with software from major corporations or honor their legal copyright, you're not going to follow one for something like nLite - and you certainly aren't going to follow some little forum's rules.

Except, that gets you a one-way ticket out of here. Copyright is something the Netherlands upholds in it's IP laws (meaning copying that Windows CD by downloading it was a violation of copyright), and IP laws in the Netherlands also protect EULAs like nLite's (thus using it against the EULA is also a no-no, even in your country). Sorry, Attended. You fail x3, you're gone. In one post, no less.

[Closed].

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