Quantcast Vista Clean Install with offline OEM activation

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  1. #1
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    Default Vista Clean Install with offline OEM activation

    Disclaimer: I sincerely believe this guide to be on the legitimate side and I in no way support the use of this guide for purposes other than activating Vista on your Viste preinstalled Lenovo laptop!

    I recently bought a T60 and although Iíve been reading these wonderfull forums/community for 6 months now I never needed to post as itís a habit of mine to not post in forums unless I really canít solve something or I have a suggestion/solution to something. This time itís the latter and this will be my first post!

    The first thing I did when I bought my T60 was to clean install Vista. I suppose everyone knows the benefits of this but what not many people know is that you canít automatically activate Vista using the product key which is located in the sticker under your laptop. You must go through the telephone activation route which is sometimes really boring or even worse, unusable. I also didnít want to use any of my spare MSDNAA licences becauseÖ I payed for this laptopís Vista licence and I might as well make it work!

    So I started digging on how I can activate my T60 the same way Lenovo activates them during the factory restore. Iíve found out that Lenovo (and other OEMs) use a different product key, not the one you see in the sticker, which is hidden in the restore partition (or the discs you made yourself). This product key in combination with a license file that Microsoft has given to each OEM can activate windows without the need of online or telephone activation. Ofcourse for the product key/license file to work your BIOS must be compatible (aka support SLIC - Software Licensing Description Table) so that you canít ilegally use this technique on every pc you own (doh!).

    Here are the steps for a successful offline activation:

    1. While you are using your factory preinstalled Vista find out your REAL OEM product key. You can use many utilities for this, like TweakVI but the easiest one is the Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder. Print or write your product key.

    2. Clean install Vista using either a retail DVD or with the Windows Anytime Upgrade DVD that might have been included in your Lenovo purchase. They are exactly the same media so no need to go the wareÖ *ahmm you know * way! When asked for your product key during installation enter the product you found in step 1 and NOT the product key which is written on the sticker under your laptop.

    3. Find the Lenovo OEM licence file. It is found in your recovery media. For example if you wrote 2 DVDs with the R&R4 program the licence file is located in the data DVD (big one) into an imz archive (actually an encrypted zip archive) named 0ADPE07.IMZ Inside that archive you must find SWWORK\C\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\OEM\lenovo.oemcert.100036.xrm-ms
    The problem with all the archives in the recovery DVD is that they are encrypted! I am currently brute forcing them but it will take days to find the correct password.
    So to save us some trouble we can find it on the net by searching Google for lenovo.oemcert.100036.xrm-ms. Download this file and place it somewhere (for easy install put it C:\)

    4. Now we can oem/offline activate Vista by issuing the following well documented and supported by Microsoft commands. These are:

    Code:
    slmgr Ėilc path/to/licence/file/lenovo.oemcert.100036.xrm-ms
    (a message should pop after a while telling you that it installed correctly)

    Code:
    slmgr Ėato
    (another message should pop which says that vista is now activated!)

    Now go to Control Panel -> System and see that you are actually activated!

    I hope this mini guide will help some of you do a clean Vista OEM installation without the need of the boring telephone activation.

    Edit: I you have an HP/Compac laptop use this guide by orev as it contains more small details on how to accomplish the clean install for these laptops.
    Last edited by Wh1t3w0lf; 30th April 2007 at 01:38 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Vista Clean Install with offline OEM activation

    Very nice guide!
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Vista Clean Install with offline OEM activation

    ohh nice guide... can i use the cd key for another computer instead?
    for example, i dont need vista on my x60. can i use that use that "lenovo.oemcert.100036.xrm-ms" folder on my Vaio instead?

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    Default Re: Vista Clean Install with offline OEM activation

    more importantly, should i be able to do a similar method on my hp ?

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    Default Re: Vista Clean Install with offline OEM activation

    Quote Originally Posted by null84 View Post
    ohh nice guide... can i use the cd key for another computer instead?
    for example, i dont need vista on my x60. can i use that use that "lenovo.oemcert.100036.xrm-ms" folder on my Vaio instead?
    The key retrieved from this method is only usable on your lenovo laptop because the licence certificate (the lenovo.oemcert.100036.xrm-ms file) was created to match certain data that your BIOS holds in it's SLIC table. I really don't think it's possible to use into another brand's laptop.

    On the other hand you could use your second key (the one found in the sticker) to activate over the phone another computer (e.g your Vaio) but this will probably violate the EULA as you can only have one installed copy of Windows with every retail or oem licence you purchase.

    Quote Originally Posted by junknstuff View Post
    more importantly, should i be able to do a similar method on my hp ?
    I believe every oem uses the same technique to offline activate Vista so yes it's possible. However you must find the correct licence file to use after you have retrieved your hidden product key. Start by examing every file/archive on your HP recovery discs. The licence file should have an xrm-ms extension. If you find the file and it's encrypted in some kind of archive just search google for it's exact filename like I did with lenovo.oemcert.100036.xrm-ms.

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    Default Re: Vista Clean Install with offline OEM activation

    awesome. i'll do that later this evening or in the morning. if i find it before someone else does, i'll be sure to contribute!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Vista Clean Install with offline OEM activation

    This works for both Vista Business and for Vista Ultimate. Likely would work for other versions of Vista as well... My understanding is that the only difference is the product key - the license file is the same.

    -- google is your friend...

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    Default Re: Vista Clean Install with offline OEM activation

    The xrm-ms file should also exist on your PC as it's currently installed (from the factory). Should be no need to brute force crack the password. Do a search of the c:\Windows folder and include hidden and system files. There will be a bunch of those type of files, and one of them should be the oemcert key.

    On my HP, it's in C:\windows\oemcert. Probably something similar for lenovo.
    Activation Backup and Restore (ABR) | Clean Vista Install | Screen DPI | RAM Testing w/ Memtest86+ | Where's my disk space? | Accessing HP Recovery Disc Files

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Vista Clean Install with offline OEM activation

    Wh1t3w0lf, this is a great guide. I have expanded it and posted a step-by-step for my HP laptop in this thread, so at least it seems to work for HP laptops too!
    Activation Backup and Restore (ABR) | Clean Vista Install | Screen DPI | RAM Testing w/ Memtest86+ | Where's my disk space? | Accessing HP Recovery Disc Files

    Lenovo W510: i7-720QM, 8GB RAM, 1920x1080 (FHD), Quadro FX880 1GB, 500GB 7200rpm Disk, WiFi UltimateN 6300 AGN, Fingerprint, Webcam, USB3.0, Windows 7 Ultimate x64

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Vista Clean Install with offline OEM activation

    orev thanks, you also have a great guide there as it contains all the small details needed to do this, and that will make this procedure accessible to many more people!

    Unfortunately on Lenovo systems the oem certificate cannot be found in the factory preinstalled Vista, only in the recovery media/partition (although I admit I didn't search too much for it) and now I can't just reformat to search again for this :P
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    Vista Clean Install Offiline OEM Activation Guide

 

 
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