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Multiple Installs-Multiple CD Keys


seth1066
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I recently acquired four PC's from a local government surplus sale to upgrade the family's aging W2K boxes. Two were missing hard drives and the other two had the drives wiped clean. All four have legitimate XP Pro COA stickers with key. I have a factory MS OEM XP Pro CD.

Is there some way to modify the setup files in the nLite .iso to reflect the key for each computer without having to go through the entire nLite process? IOW, I set up the first PC and was thinking I could change the "CDKey =" entry in LAST SESSION_U.INI to the next PC's key code, burn that CD and repeat for the rest. This didn't work for the second PC. Is there a way to accomplish this?

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Just go into i386\winnt.sif and change the key there then rebuild the ISO.

I'm using PowerISO so I just copied those two files to a different directory and in PowerISO deleted them from the .iso file list (the one shown before burning) and replaced each of them with the new ones with that boxes designated CD Key. Still got an invalid error. Thinking maybe it was a key that was for a retail install. I loaded the straight OEM disk and it installed fine.

I'd like to get this to work so each box will have its own key code specific "recovery" disk. Where am I going wrong? Rereading your suggestion, where whould I plug these new key values in prior to rebuilding the ISO, with nLite?

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was thinking I could change the "CDKey =" entry in LAST SESSION_U.INI to the next PC's key code, burn that CD and repeat for the rest. This didn't work for the second PC.

Please confirm that you restart with the original MS-XP files and load "modified" Last Session.ini, and not

take your resulting files and re-run nLite loading modified ini file.

+ not all OEM keys work with all OEM cds.

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was thinking I could change the "CDKey =" entry in LAST SESSION_U.INI to the next PC's key code, burn that CD and repeat for the rest. This didn't work for the second PC.

Please confirm that you restart with the original MS-XP files and load "modified" Last Session.ini, and not

take your resulting files and re-run nLite loading modified ini file.

+ not all OEM keys work with all OEM cds.

Didn't re-run nLite, I modified the two files within the first iso produced which you can do with the PowerISO burning software.

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What 2 files are you referring too?

LAST SESSION_U.INI & winnt.sif

I'm thinking what the real solution suggested is in the XP Pro file, change the CD Key in LAST SESSION_U.INI, which will use be used by nLite with the new CD Key when it burns the iso image.

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The Last session_u.ini is not used by nLite when it burns the iso image. It's a "witness" file that's added to the XP folder after nLite has processed the files (and later put on the ISO if option is selected) . After that file is created, there is no modification (other than the one you made manually) to the files. That file is not used in XP install process either so this is surely not what you want.

Winnt.sif is the file that contains the key if you use unattended settings.

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That's what I said 6 posts ago :)

What exactly is the error you are getting when you rebuild/burn the ISO and try to install Windows?

Invalid key code (not sure this is the exact wording because, post nLite install failure, I installed direct from the OEM disk to make sure it was not an incompatible key problem on the 2nd box which came from a different source). Edited by seth1066
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I installed direct from the OEM disk to make sure it was not an incompatible key problem on the 2nd box which came from a different source

Not sure what you mean by this. Try to be a bit more specific. Step by step.

Let me see if I got your problem straight...

You made an ISO with key A and installed in on box A with no problems.

You then used PowerISO to edit winnt.sif (changing the CD key) in ISO above. Burned this ISO and attempted to install on box B. It stopped at the CD key screen of setup and said invalid key.

Am I describing your problem properly?

What happens if you try to use key A when you are at the invalid screen key of box B?

Maybe it's what Ponch said that "not all OEM keys work with all OEM cds". Try different keys, you have 4 I presume, at the enter key screen.

Finally, under what OS did you create the original ISO? XP, Vista, or Windows 7? Vista and Windows 7 "break" the key. I doubt you didn't use XP since you said the ISO worked on box A but I gotta ask just in case we have a fluke.

Edited by -X-
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I installed direct from the OEM disk to make sure it was not an incompatible key problem on the 2nd box which came from a different source

Not sure what you mean by this. Try to be a bit more specific. Step by step.

Let me see if I got your problem straight...

You made an ISO with key A and installed in on box A with no problems.

You then used PowerISO to edit winnt.sif (changing the CD key) in ISO above. Burned this ISO and attempted to install on box B. It stopped at the CD key screen of setup and said invalid key.

Am I describing your problem properly?

What happens if you try to use key A when you are at the invalid screen key of box B?

Maybe it's what Ponch said that "not all OEM keys work with all OEM cds". Try different keys, you have 4 I presume, at the enter key screen.

Finally, under what OS did you create the original ISO? XP, Vista, or Windows 7? Vista and Windows 7 "break" the key. I doubt you didn't use XP since you said the ISO worked on box A but I gotta ask just in case we have a fluke.

The OS is XP Pro SP2 with SP3 slipstreamed into nLite.

"You then used PowerISO to edit winnt.sif (changing the CD key) in ISO above. Burned this ISO and attempted to install on box B. It stopped at the CD key screen of setup and said invalid key." Correct. Didn't try key code "A" at that point in the install.

Then I used the OEM disk (without nLite) and did a successful fresh install from scratch on Box B using B key code just to verify that it wasn't a CD key compatibility issue, so key code "B" is good for my nLite XP Pro source CD.

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The OS is XP Pro SP2 with SP3 slipstreamed into nLite.

Which OS are you referring too? The one you you used to add SP3 or the ISO made?

Please attach your last session.ini to avoid any confusion.

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Your problem is that you are using Windows 7 to slipstream SP3. You need to do it under XP. You can run XP using a Virtual Machine running in Windows 7 for this.

Why it worked on computer A was a fluke. It is well known that you cant integrate a service pack under Vista or Windows 7 due to it "breaking" the key.

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