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Windows Server 2003 R2 Volume License Product Key Encryption

Applies To: Windows Server 2003 R2

This information applies to you if you have a volume licensing agreement with Microsoft such as Microsoft Select, Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, and Microsoft Open License.

If you are upgrading to Windows Server 2003 R2 from a computer running Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1, you can encrypt your Windows Server 2003 R2 Volume License Product Key. This feature provides an additional layer of protection by encrypting your product key so it won't be visible as plain text. First, you encrypt your product key. Then, you can use the key to run Setup for Windows Server 2003 R2 in unattended mode.

If you are performing a clean installation of Windows Server 2003 R2, you will need to use the encryption feature available on Windows Server 2003 R2 Disc 1. For more information, see "Windows XP Service Pack 1 Volume License Product Key Encryption" on the Microsoft Web site ( This document also applies to Windows Server 2003 R2 functionality.

To use this feature when upgrading you must have the following:

  • A computer running a volume licensed version of Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1

  • Windows Server 2003 R2 Disc 2

  • Windows Server 2003 R2 Volume License Product Key

To encrypt a Volume License Product Key
  1. Insert Disc 2 into a computer running a volume licensed version of Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1.

  2. At the command prompt, navigate to the drive that contains Disc 2 and run the following command. This will encrypt the product key and save it to the file you specify for Filename.

    cmpnents\r2\Path\setup2.exe /encryptkey: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx /encryptdays: NumberOfDays /encryptfile: Filename

    This command uses the following arguments:

    • xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx - Your Volume License Product Key in plain text.

    • NumberOfDays - The number of days (5 to 60) for which the encrypted product key will be valid.

    • Filename - The location and name of the file where the encrypted product key will be saved, for example, C:\Myfolder\Myfile.txt. If the file already exists, the encrypted product key will be appended to the end of the file. You should ensure that you have read and write access to this location.

    You can now use the encrypted key to run Setup in unattended mode in the following ways: from a command prompt; in any valid Windows Setup answer file such as Unattend.txt, Sysprep.inf, or Ristndrd.sif; or in a batch file. For example, you can use the following syntax to install Disc 2 in unattended mode using the encrypted key:

    \\ Server \ share \cmpnents\r2\setup2.exe /q /a /p: EncryptedKey

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