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Preserving OEM Pre-Activation when Re-installing Windows Server 2003 R2

Updated: April 16, 2009
By Doug Thompson

Large Server Manufacturers known as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have the ability to pre-activate Microsoft® Windows Server 2003 R2 software installed on new Server. As a result, end users are typically not required to activate the software during the set up process by typing in the product key found on the Certificate of Authenticity attached to the Server (COA Key). Due to the form factor and typical installations of server hardware it is not always easy for the product key to be read during the set up process. To help minimize the potential impact on licensed users, this whitepaper provides steps licensed end users can take to preserve OEM pre-activation when reinstalling the operating system using any of the three scenarios outlined below (sysprep, manual, and unattended).

The following product keys should be substituted for XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX in the solutions discussed below.

Note: OEM Recovery media must be used as the source for the re-installation.

Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition x86

PWBJC-22697-D4CVH-FCJWW-DTF9J

Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition x64

XCP6P-7WVXP-F8FQ4-JV6CD-6XV28

Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition x86

XHPV3-PTCWJ-7Y94F-Q6BVH-J849J

Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition x64

WQ3GW-Y8GQW-8VJYB-JYM43-D24C8

Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition x86

FXYF6-VTXGX-3JPX9-HJ9K4-6TKTW

Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition x64

KDX8X-FYW4T-C6D9J-BKM6M-M89TW

Windows Server 2003 R2 Web Edition x86

GM8KD-GB7JY-QGQYP-XRV74-RT728

For any of the solutions outlined below, you can verify that the OEM pre-activation has been preserved by clicking Start -> Run and typing %SYSTEMROOT%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /A and then click OK. If the procedure was successful, a message indicating that Windows has already been activated will be displayed.

Note:Instead of implementing any of the solutions outlined below, Volume License customers can use Volume License media to install the same operating system that was licensed from an OEM without acquiring a volume license for a Server being re-imaged. More information about this option is available here under “Re-Imaging Rights”:

http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/resources/volbrief.mspx.

I. Using “sysprep –reseal –mini” Command

OEM pre-activation can be preserved when Sysprep.exe is run to reseal the system using the –reseal – mini switches by following these steps.

  • Create a file named sysprep.inf using a text editor such as Notepad that contains the information shown below substituting the appropriate product key.

    [UserData]

    ProductKey =”XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX”

  • Save the sysprep.inf file in the c:\sysprep\ folder.
  • Run c:\sysprep –reseal –mini

For more information on the sysprep process, please visit

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc785213.aspx

II. Manual Install

OEM pre-activation can be preserved when doing a manual installation by inserting the appropriate product key listed above when prompted for a product key by Windows setup. If you run sysprep –reseal –mini following the manual install, you will need to follow the steps outlined in Section I.

III. Unattended Install

OEM pre-activation can be preserved if you use an unattended answer file (Unattend.txt or Winnt.sif) to automate installation by including the information shown below in the answer file substituting the appropriate product key listed above. If you run sysprep –reseal –mini following an unattended install, you will need to follow the steps outlined in Section I.

[UserData]

ProductKey =”XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX”

For more information on sysprep process, please visit

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc785213.aspx

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