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Looking for solid confirmation on how Windows(XP,Vista,7,8) OEM can be reinstalled/activated

Windows XP (Home/Professional) OEM(SLP) (Dell, HP etc.)


  • GRTMHOEM_EN.iso (Generic Home OEM)
  • en_windows_xp_home_with_service_pack_3_x86_cd_x14-92413.iso
  • GRTMPOEM_EN.iso (Generic Professional OEM)
  • en_windows_xp_professional_with_service_pack_3_x86_cd_x14-80428.iso

Install using any media that matches version, use Windows Key Update Tool to activate it as Retail or OEM based on key provided. (True/False)?

Old Method Create vendor specific OEM installer

  1. Backup OEM files from target PC

    • C:\Windows\system32\OEMBIOS.BIN
    • C:\Windows\system32\OEMBIOS.DAT
    • C:\Windows\system32\OEMBIOS.SIG
    • C:\Windows\system32\Catroot{F750E6C3-38EE-11D1-85E5-00C04FC295EE}\OEMBIOS.CAT
  2. Create .CAB files of target PC files

  3. Replace generic OEM ISOs \i386 files with newly created .CAB files

  4. Install using COA key


  1. Backup Activation Files before reinstall

    • C:\Windows\system32\wpa.dbl
    • C:\Windows\system32\Wpa.bak
  2. Rename Existing & Replace with backup files after reinstall

    • C:\Windows\system32\wpa.dbl
    • C:\Windows\system32\Wpa.bak

Windows Vista/7 (ALL) Retail/OEM (Dell, HP etc.)


  • en_windows_vista_sp2_x64_dvd_342267.iso
  • en_windows_vista_with_sp2_x86_dvd_342266.iso
  • en_windows_7_ultimate_with_sp1_x64_dvd_u_677332.iso (ei.cfg removed)
  • en_windows_7_ultimate_with_sp1_x86_dvd_u_677460.iso (ei.cfg removed)


  1. Backup activation using ABR (Activation Backup and Restore)
  2. Reinstall version on COA sticker
  3. Do not enter key during installation
  4. Restore backed up activation files using ABR
  5. If files not backed up, use online or phone activation

Windows 8 (ALL) Retail/OEM (Dell, HP etc.)


  • en_windows_8_x64_dvd_915440.iso
  • en_windows_8_x86_dvd_915417.iso

Just reinstall, activation is taken care of via BIOS(No COA) or use purchased key if you upgraded.

Can anyone confirm/deny the validity of these methods or make suggestions on how to better accomplish activation after a reinstall? I am mainly concerned with XP since the information I have found is rather scattered and I am not sure if its possible to activate a "royalty free OEM" using a generic OEM/retail disk install and Windows Key Update Tool or if I would need to use one of the old methods of backing up the files and altering the install disk.

If there are any known issues with activation on any version using the windows images/techniques I listed can someone please elaborate on them. I am asking because I started a new job that requires re-installing every version of windows on various computers that have OEM and retail versions.

The information I gathered on various forums is rather scattered and contradicting, this is why I am posting this seemingly stupid question that you may think has been answered a million times. I want someone to give me a definitive response so I don't screw someones computer up by remove necessary OEM files.

share|improve this question
Would be nice if you would specify the reason for the down vote. I am looking for confirmation on information that is scattered and contradicting on various forums. –  Arctor Jan 22 '13 at 15:33
-1 What exactly is your problem? I've never had a problem with a legitimate OEM install of Windows, never needed to backup files etc. It sounds like you've made it way more complicated than it needs to be. Get OEM media (if necessary): then install Windows. –  ta.speot.is Jan 28 '13 at 2:10
I find it funny that this question was down voted multiple times but with a 200 point bounty on it no one has answered it. –  Arctor Feb 2 '13 at 18:57
That's because your question is about a problem that doesn't exist. Want to reinstall Windows and use an OEM license? Install using the OEM media, supply the OEM key (if necessary) and activate it. –  ta.speot.is Feb 3 '13 at 6:20
See my answer, you suddenly something will help, but it does not match the format.) In general it is removed))). –  STTR Feb 3 '13 at 12:18

1 Answer 1


To install on "royalty free OEM" machines (HP, DELL, etc.) you can get the vendor's oembios files from the oembios repository, or backed up from the current installation.

You then need to use the SLP (system locked preinstallation) key that corresponds to the installation media's product ID. These used to be archived on the My Digital Life forums, but were taken down due to DMCA request. I'm not sure if the particular vendor key is required, or if those provided by Microsoft will work. If you still have the original installation from the OEM, you can extract the SLP key they used for installation from the registry using a tool like produkey.

(Most antivirus seems to complain about produkey, but I've never had issues with it.)

nLite can help you create the ISO and be very useful for testing in a VM, but it's quite a bit more difficult to test the SLP activation with the VM.

share|improve this answer
The OEMBios repository links are mostly dead or linked to certificate files. Do you know if I can use the royalty keys/extracted keys with a generic OEM install disk? Or do I need to replace the OEMBIOS files in the i386 folder as listed above. –  Arctor Jan 22 '13 at 1:58
I know the SLP key won't activate with a generic OEM disc, but I think that you can drop the SLP files in after the install and reboot to get activation. I haven't tried in long enough to remember if the SLP key will install with an OEM disc, but if it won't, you can just change the key after you get a successful install to change to SLP activation. –  opello Jan 22 '13 at 2:00
are the files I listed above the SLP files that need to be replaced for the SLP key to work? –  Arctor Jan 22 '13 at 2:07
Yup. I noticed this post in the past, but have never bothered using this method regarding the compression: forums.mydigitallife.info/threads/… –  opello Jan 22 '13 at 2:13

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