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GreenEnvy

Windows 10 10586 (fall update) unattend product key issue

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Hi all,

We use PXE to deploy OS's right from media. Win7/8 install using an unattend.xml file then our apps are all installed via setupcomplete.

This has been working well for a few years.

 

I've got the same mostly working with Win10, but have one annoyance.

We want to be able to clean install on laptops that are came with Win7/8, directly to Win10. This is now possible with the new Windows 10 10586 fall update build that was released officially last week.

 

I've tested this, and with a Win10 pro placeholder in the pid.txt file, Windows 10 installs ok. On first boot, before setupcomplete runs, the "It's time to enter your product key" message appears. If I pick "do this later", then let the apps install, by the time I go into Control panel, Windows is already activated. This is on a machine that's never had Win10 on it before, so it appears it grabbed the Win8 Pro key from the BIOS.

 

Thats almost perfect. The only annoyance is that "it's time to enter your key" screen, since it holds up the automated install.

 

Does anyone know how to get rid of that in the unattend.xml file? There is no other OOBE prompts at all, the user account is setup in unattend and everything else is skipped.

 

I tried deleting the PID.txt file but then I get an error that "Windows can not read the <product key> setting from the unattend answer file." I tried looking this error up but only got results talking about it being an issue when running in a VM. This is a hardware install from PXE.

If I hit OK at this error message, I just get a blank blue screen forever.

 

This is all from a modified unattend.xml file I made for Win8. I'll be installing WSIM for Win10 later to check if it finds an error, but thought I'd check here if anyone knows. I've tried putting in the productkey section and leaving nothing between the <key></key> fields but got the same answer. I am hoping Win 10 can get the Win8 key from the BIOS during setup if I can't find a way to hide the product key screen after install like described above.

 

 

 

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Doubt it.

1 - Win7 doesn't have an Embedded Key, so you *must* Upgrade first.

2 - Im *assuming* that since the Win8 key is Embedded (and unique to *your* PC), it "picks it up" during install and figures that you're already qualified.

In either case, you *must* prove you have a Valid Updatable OS, and the BIOS of a Win8 PC "proves it".

 

At least, that's my theory, and I'm sticking to it. ;)

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Doubt it.

1 - Win7 doesn't have an Embedded Key, so you *must* Upgrade first.

2 - Im *assuming* that since the Win8 key is Embedded (and unique to *your* PC), it "picks it up" during install and figures that you're already qualified.

In either case, you *must* prove you have a Valid Updatable OS, and the BIOS of a Win8 PC "proves it".

 

At least, that's my theory, and I'm sticking to it. ;)

 

Yea certainly the Win7 ones would either need to be upgraded or have their key manually typed in. Sorry i should have been more clear I just was asking about the Win8 ones, however since we cycle our computers every 3-4 years, we have very few machines left that don't have Win8 licences, even if we are running Win7 on many of them.

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This is on a machine that's never had Win10 on it before, so it appears it grabbed the Win8 Pro key from the BIOS.

Doubtful. You are using the OS made from Media Creator or another source? The normal (manual) method of installing Windows 10 from the Free Upgrade ISO is to skip the product key entry. When this is done, then it uses a runtime key.

I can only imagine this is where you got your ISO from, as if you got it from any other legitimate source you'd have the correct Product Keys to put in the XML.

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This is on a machine that's never had Win10 on it before, so it appears it grabbed the Win8 Pro key from the BIOS.

Doubtful. You are using the OS made from Media Creator or another source? The normal (manual) method of installing Windows 10 from the Free Upgrade ISO is to skip the product key entry. When this is done, then it uses a runtime key.

I can only imagine this is where you got your ISO from, as if you got it from any other legitimate source you'd have the correct Product Keys to put in the XML.

 

I'm using the ISO I downloaded from the MS volume licensing website. It's the multi-edition Windows 10 iso, 10586/1511 build.

 

We've now confirmed on several other computers we can clean install using this ISO a machine that had Win7 on it (but has a Win8 Pro key in the BIOS, as these are all business machines with downgrade rights). On all of them the machines activated right away on bootup, we didn't need to enter a key.

 

So I just need to figure out if there is a way to bypass the screen that comes up asking for a key on first boot, as it holds up the automated install. We can just press "do later" and it finishes installing our apps and activates as I explained above, it's just annoying that it holds up the automated install. 

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What is your licensing type for the VLSC download, KMS or MAK? In either case you would have a product key to put in the XML which would hide that prompt. This was how it was for earlier OS versions, where choosing to skip entering the product key would not mean the OS would activate afterwards.

The Productkey you need in your XML is the activation key that you use in the Specialize pass. This will hide the Product Key prompt in OOBE.

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We have a mix of KMS and MAK right now, working towards fully KMS. However those are only for our Win7 enterprise machines, we just use the OEM Pro licenses that the laptops and desktops come with for the vast majority of our machines. We only used Win7 enterprise to get bitlocker on the laptops, but since Win8 thats included in Pro so we don't need to buy enterprise anymore.  We're not trying to upgrade any of those Win7 Enterprise machines right now, this discussion is just about clean installs on machines with Win8 pro licenses built into the BIOS.

 

I got this working now, after running the file through the windows system imaging management app for 10586 (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/dn913721.aspx?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396#adkwin10), with no product key in the unattend file, and including the PID.txt file in Sources with the placeholder key, Windows installs and no longer shows the product key page.

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