Vista not accepting product key RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi all,


    I have a Dell PC that I want to image as we will be purchasing several more of the same model.  The PC comes with Vista Business preinstalled and activated, all ready to go.


    I've installed our applications, done all the necessary configurations and then sysprep'd it using my unattend file using the command:-


    sysprep /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend: sysprep.xml


    I've then taken an image using imagex and restored it to another PC (same make and model).  All worked fine except I'm not prompted for a Product Key and Vista says it's activated.


    I did a bit of searching and found I should be deleting the DigitalProductId registry value under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\windows NT\CurrentVersion.  I did this, before I sysprep'd, and now I'm prompted to enter the Product Key.  So I enter the key that's on the side of the Dell PC and the installation completes without any problems or errors.


    However, when you try and activate you get the error message:-


    "The Windows Vista Business product key you typed is invalid for activation"


    with several options for you to choose.  One is to enter a different product key.  If you select that option and enter the same product key Vista gets activated without errors.


    How can I change my installation so it accepts the Product Key during the installs and then automatically activates without having to enter the same key again?





    Tuesday, July 29, 2008 5:27 AM


All replies

  • Code Snippet

    I get it to prompt for a new product key at the oobe stage by running:

    Cscript %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs –ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXX

    when sysprepping with the audit mode. (xxxxx is a default vista key which seems invalid).



    Can you explain what you mean by this?  Are you running the command **before** you run the sysprep command. Or is this a synchronous command your adding to your unattend XML file.  Or something else...






    Tuesday, July 29, 2008 10:03 PM
  • Hi Spammeh3,


    Thanks for your suggestions.  I tried your last idea and used a default product key, but for some reason the desktop background becomes all black and some of the user profile data is lost.  Very weird indeed.


    Here's what I eventually did.  I left the Dell Product Key, which was preactivated, in the master PC, sysprep'd it using my sysprep.XML unattend file,  and took and image using imagex.  I applied the image to another PC, which required no user intervention at all, and it booted up as a fully activated licensed copy of Vista Business.  But with the same Product Key as the Master PC.  I created a VBS script that prompted for the new Product Key, replaced the existing Product Key with the new key and then activated Vista.  The end result being the Product Key only needs to be enter once, and the installation happens without any user intervention at all.


    Thursday, July 31, 2008 2:36 AM