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Building a Pre-activated CD from an existing installation

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I've put together two files that can be used to make a pre-activated CD if all you got with your computer is a restore CD you will also need access to an OEM hologram CD for the rest of the files. Put the following files in the same folder


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
cscript //nologo getkey.vbs > winnt.sif


Dim objFS, objShell
Dim strXPKey

Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

strXPKey = objShell.RegRead("HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProductName")
If Len(strXPKey) > 0 Then
WScript.Echo "[UserData]"
WScript.Echo "ProductKey=" & chr(34) & GetKey(objShell.RegRead("HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DigitalProductId")) & chr(34)
WScript.Echo "[Data]"
WScript.Echo "MSDosInitiated=0"
WScript.Echo "UnattendedInstall=Yes"
End If

Function GetKey(rpk)
Const rpkOffset=52:i=28
dwAccumulator=0 : j=14
rpk(j+rpkOffset)=(dwAccumulator\24) and 255
dwAccumulator=dwAccumulator Mod 24
Loop While j>=0
i=i-1 : szProductKey=mid(szPossibleChars,dwAccumulator+1,1)&szProductKey
if (((29-i) Mod 6)=0) and (i<>-1) then
i=i-1 : szProductKey="-"&szProductKey
End If
Loop While i>=0
End Function

Getfiles.bat will generate 5 files to be placed in the i386 directory of your CD. the files are:






Edited by Bezalel
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Theres a problem with your theory cause the windows activation also reads your PID number. The Windows PID is a unique code identifying your version of Windows and it is also used to identify your hardware setup. So if you install it on another system with a totally different hardware setup then the PID would be different.

Or am I wrong?

Edited by phatcat42141
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Theres a problem with your theory cause the windows activation also reads your PID number.

Windows Activation only checks the PID is the BIOS checks fails. Royalty OEMs don't use unique keys because their machines don't have to be activated.

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hi, can you explain this with more detail? i have xphome on my laptop and on each install it has to be activated which is kind of a pain, are you saying that i wouldnt have to keep activating it? thanks

If your laptop was mande by a Royalty OEM (the COA sticker hase manufacturer's name or logo) and you also have access to the Windows intallation bits (hologrammed OEM CD) you can use these files to recreate the OEMBIOS files and extract the CD-Key origionally used by the manufacturer to install windows. A Windows CD made with these files will not require activation when used on the computer the files were extracted from (or other computers of the same make).

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So if I have a bunch of OEM machines(Dell, HP, Gateway, etc), and I'm creating an image for those machines, I can use the Product Key located in their WINNT.SIF from the Recovery CD instead of the Key on the sticker?

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So if I have a bunch of OEM machines(Dell, HP, Gateway, etc), and I'm creating an image for those machines, I can use the Product Key located in their WINNT.SIF from the Recovery CD instead of the Key on the sticker?

In that case you already have to OEMBIOS files. And yes you can use the key in winnt.sif as long as your target machine will pass the BIOS check.

You cannot use the same image for multiple manufacturers and still preserve the activation. (I'm working on that but am not ready to discuss any details.)

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this method don't work anymore with XP and service pack only with rtm

i have tested it without success under xp pro sp1 and sp2

Good idea but i was really simple when xp had no activation !!


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  • 1 month later...

Indeed, this Method DOES work with Windows XP sp1 slipstreamed to sp2. I just did it a couple of times today.

But it may work only for Royalty OEM computers.

At any rate, my (successful) case was as follow: Toshiba laptop shipped with xp home sp1 on a recovery cd (ghost image) only. I extracted back the image and then slipstream sp2 and latest hotfixes in the i386 folder of the hard drive, before doing the usual unattend preparation things (among them this method to recover activation) and burning back a fresh CD. Installed and no need to activate (no network so i'm sure it did not activated in my back).

The important point to get (at least the one at which I was stuck for a while because it is not explained in the unattended guide) is that not only do you need those oembios files, but also the CORRESPONDING product key, which may NOT be the one written on the sticker on your computer but ANOTHER one which is coded in the registry.

That is why that getkey.vbs is the important script to RETREIVE the GOOD product key to put in your winnt.sif. And not the dummy one from the sticker.

So to get it, you must be running the original os from the recovery CD and not any installation you may have done later.

@KRYOGENIUS: No offense, but before posting such information you should check it better and not only beleive/propagate the rumor. Or at least be less affirmative (Journalists do also like rumors but they carefully use conditional). I almost gave up because of such posting as yours but thanks to my not liking undocumented statements, I eventually managed.

Edited by Djé
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Thanks for your clarification. When I wrote pre-activated I meant Royalty OEM. I've had mixed results when using the key on the sticker but it always works with the key in the registry, that's why I wrote getkey.vbs (I did not write or know who wrote the getkey function). I've used this method for Home, MCE2005, TabletPC2005, Pro, and Server. BTW the OEMBIOS files for MCE2005, TabletPC2005, and Pro are interchangable and the product keys are interchangable between brands. You can also use the keys found on http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechn...oy/wpadepl.mspx and http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechn...y/oempreac.mspx.

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  • 2 months later...

Bezalel :thumbup

Thanks for getting me closer with that for my MCE 2005

You just cleared it up for me what I needed for no activation BS although my Pid will be ok since this is legit.

1st Step was since i don't have a Royalty OEM MCE 2005 CD

Gain access to HP_RECOVERY partition, done

Now have access to all the files so I can copy the I386.

Will be a lot of cleaning up in there though to remove the 40 games, limited Office, and other junk I don't want.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok done this on my MCE 2005 HP a1310n and went to WU and it told me welllll it looks ok but answer 20? first

What does coa say, what type PC, manufacturer and so on and I left.

Well answer for me was

copy original SETUPP.INI from I386 and add all the Hotfixes for MCE

I'm activated now as soon as I do all that Genuine Advantage stuff

Another UnattendXPPro sucessfull Install

Edited by maxXPsoft
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Couple of quick questions...

I'm going to need to reload Windows on a laptop for my wife's work. This particular laptop has passed through many hands, and the original Windows install CD (along with all the software install CD's, I assume) is long gone. I don't presently know the manufacturer of the laptop, but based on the fact that it's a laptop I assume it's going to be a Royalty OEM.

Question 1 - I have OEM windows installs for both Home and Professional from Royalty OEM #1. Do I just need to substitute the four OEMBIOS files and the product key to make a Royalty OEM #2 CD?

Question 2 - is there any certain advantage to using the getkey.vbs file, or can I just use the Magical Jellybean Keyfinder to get the product key?

Thanks in advance.

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I used an MCE 2 CD set that was not manufacturer specific ; Dell, HP

Mine is a HP but just adding those files and getting all the Hotfixes for Media Center Edition worked for me.

And benefit is NO 40 games they want you to pay for and Trial versions of a bunch of stuff I don't use.

Mine squeaky clean

His getkey.vbs works and makes the basic Winnt.sif which is good for beginner's, yes you can use JellyBean

Edited by maxXPsoft
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