Is it legal to delete ei.cfg from Windows 7 installation media? (Redux) RRS feed

  • Question

  • This is a follow up to the previously robust conversation by the same name (linked below).

    Unfortunately, Carey Frisch (MVP, Moderator) erroneously marked a completely irrelevant comment having nothing whatsoever to do with the very specific and explicit question that I asked in that thread as an answer.  What's worse, that thread is now locked:


    So, since I promised to keep folks updated with what I learned from Microsoft, I am posting those results in another thread in the social.answers side rather than here on the more appropriate TechNet side.  Yes, you don't have to tell me.  But I'm afraid that someone might prematurely close this thread if this it becomes as lively as it did before, even thought TechNet is a more appropriate place for this conversation.

    At any rate, I'm keeping the social.answers thread updated with the responses from Microsoft regarding this issue:


    And as long as this thread is open, I will also keep this one updated.

    To summarize the issue, I want to know if it's legal to delete the file "ei.cfg" from Windows 7 installation media.  That hack to the media has been floating around the web for a couple of months, and I was surprised to see it posted in some third-party Windows 7 forums.  Some people thought it was a violation of the EULA because doing so creates a medium that can be used to install any edition of Windows 7, even though Microsoft has not itself distributed such media.  But the moderators and owners of those forums did not seem concerned.  The issue seems unclear to me.  However, Microsoft documents how to make changes to that file for various purposes at


    In that other TechNet thread, Ronnie Vernon provided a link to a page providing an appropriate contact point at Microsoft for asking this question at

    Microsoft Product Sales and Licensing Solution Center

    I've presented the question there.  So far, I've gotten a little runaround from Microsoft, but now it seems that a definitive answer will be coming in a couple of days, if not sooner.

    Since some folks have asked, I've explained my reasons for pursuing this issue in that thread at social.answers (also, again, because I don't want to start another very interesting conversation here only to have someone cut it off erroneously and prematurely.)

    Keep your eye on that social.answers thread.  This could prove interesting.

    I hope this helps.

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009 10:56 AM

All replies

  • Hi David

    Your original thread on this subject was not locked because of the subject or any information you posted.

    It was locked because of all the off topic posts being made to that thread that were designed to simply confuse the issue by some members who have a different agenda than simply increasing their knowledge. Unfortunately, you and other members cannot see the 20+ off topic posts that were removed from that thread. If the thread had remained open, the off topic posts would have continued ad infinitum. 

    We take the action of locking a thread seriously and the behavior that I described is usually the only reason.

    As the thread starter, you have complete authority to unmark any post that is marked as the answer, if you do not agree with that post being marked as the answer. Since you stated that you do not agree with the post that was marked as the answer in that thread, I took the liberty of unmarking that post for you.

    One tip I might give you when you are posting a discussion with Microsoft support is to include both sides of the conversation. Just posting the answer without anyone knowing what the exact question was can leave some people wondering? You can go back and edit your previous posts to include this information, if you wish.

    Thanks for understanding.

    Ronnie Vernon MVP

    Forum Moderator
    Tuesday, November 24, 2009 8:55 PM
  • I'll repost my opinion. This is only an opinion.

    From what I've read this file is merley a conveniance to make installation easier without having to select a version. By removing it the user will now have to select a version and install the corresponding key for the selected version. Regardless, removing the file would not violate the license agreement as long as the product is properly activated with a legitimate key for the version selected.

    Seasons greetings!
    Wednesday, November 25, 2009 12:22 AM
  • I absolutely agree.  In addition, Microsoft describes editing the file in its official documentation.  However, there is still the issue of intent: If we're creating a form of the media that Microsoft did not intend to distribute, can they receive protection against it, or did they give that up by documenting edits to that file?

    I think that they must allow the creation of this form of the media.  But then I've often been told that my opinions are unreasonable.
    Wednesday, November 25, 2009 2:26 AM
  • The nature of the question that I asked is the same as what I have used as the title of these articles.  I elaborated a little just as I have in these articles, but none of those elaborations are necessary to explain the question.

    However, just so there is no doubt as to my honesty or intentions or bias, here is the exact text of the question that I submitted:
    It is fairly widely known that it is possible to delete the ei.cfg file from Windows 7 installation media, thus making subsequent media created from that source capable of installing any edition of Windows 7. Is it legal to create such media or does it violate the Windows 7 EULA? Does it matter if the person who created that media does or does not own legitimate keys for the different editions that can be installed from that media? This is a matter of interest to many consultants, administrators, and technicians.

    I will also post it in that other article.

    By the way, thanks for unmarking that answer for me.  I wanted to unmark it, but since the article was locked, I could do nothing.  Also, thanks for the clarification on the lock.

    Wednesday, November 25, 2009 2:42 AM