Windows – Skipping serial prompt installing custom unattended Windows Seven DVD and getting OEM key instead

installationoemserialunattendedwindows 7

I'm currently doing my first custom unattended Windows Seven DVD creation.
I used WAIK with a retail Windows Seven DVD and created a "AutoUnattend.xml" file thanks to WSIM.

Aiming to have a zero-interaction install, I wish to skip serial input, getting the OEM serial contained into the computer.

My project manager says this serial is contained in a chip in the computer and Windows install wouldn't bug me asking for a serial. But it keeps asking me for it.

I tried several ways, using "Microsoft-Windows-Setup\UserData\ProductKey" and/or "Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\ProductKey", removing one of them, leaving them blank, editing "ei.cfg" file to change "Channel" from "Retail" to "OEM". Nothing worked and I'm not sure doing this is legit.

Did you encounter this kind of problem? How did you get rid of it? Is it doable using an unattend file? Does the problem come from using a retail DVD to get an OEM key?

Best Answer

Windows 7 OEM installations can be activated automatically using OEM System Locked Preactivation. This requires a BIOS with SLIC 2.1, with the proper cryotographic information from the manufacturer. It's been a while since I did this, and I don't remember the exact details, but you should be able to back up the SLIC files from an existing pre-activated install and include them in your deployment image.

SLIC activation only works if the BIOS and activation files in Windows agree, but they are typically the same for different computers from the same manufacturer. If all of your computers are from the same OEM, you should be able to back up the activation files once and add the restore process to the DVD.

I found some info that might help, but unfortunately couldn't find any full details. Of course, you could just rebuild your unattended DVD using a Dell (or HP or whatever your OEM is) DVD as the source, and then it will have all of the activation files preinstalled.

You might find this tool useful; apparently it can back up some activation files.