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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?

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There is no OEM serial contained in the computer. You should enter the serial from the sticker. – kinokijuf Jan 9 '13 at 6:42
up vote 1 down vote accepted

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.

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Hello, thank you for your answer. My client finally managed to give me his OEM DVD, so I could rebuild my unattended DVD from this one. It worked like a charm! Although you gave me the solution after I found it, you deserve my +1. I'll do that when I reach 15 reputation. – Rifu Jun 5 '13 at 6:42

Does the problem come from using a retail DVD to get an OEM key?

YES. The only real way to get a true "Zero Touch" windows install is with MDT and/or SCCM with Windows 7 / 8 Enterprise KMS, or to use a MAK Key.

What can work is using the original preinstalled OEM in the image the OEM sent out, while that won't work for activation, you can use it to at least automate the builds and then put the Key in later after the deployment is finished when you go to activate windows later. Put that key in your xml file.

If you used MDT and a KMS server you could use


in your customsettings.ini file, and the task sequence simply skips the process

If you had a MAK key you would use:


Next you would create a custom mandatory application in the deployment share that runs this

cscript c:\Windows\System32\slmgr.vb
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