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I have a couple family members with busted computers. Windows 10's "reset this PC" from recovery environment was a no go. I pulled out a windows 10 USB i made many moons ago with the media creation tool and reinstalled windows 10 using it. I then used nirsoft's Produkey to recover the product key because I knew the manufacturer has it embedded on the machine itself.

It retrieved this key for me, but to my surprise it also returned another key which is the key for my copy of Windows 10!!! This is not okay with me, I do not want my key floating around in the world.

How can I make a clean installer for Windows 10 that doesn't carry my product key embedded in itself?

  • Wouldn't Win10 automatically re-recognize the key? In my experience, it does. Also, although I've never seen (a.k.a. bothered to find out) this "embedded installation key", I'd say that it was added when you created your installation medium - used as a kind of watermark, perhaps. – flolilolilo Nov 2 '17 at 3:36
  • I thought so to, but it did not recognize any keys for activating Windows and I was actually worried I may have lost the key forever. I only just found out I could have removed the drive and recovered the key by plugging it into my main machine and then using produkey. Asus wanted to charge me 50 dollars for their recovery USB which back in the day that type of media came with all machines by default. Luckily the key was embedded on the machine itself. – Magnus Jegeren Búrzgúl Nov 2 '17 at 3:52
  • Is there a file on your USB drive in the Sources directory named PID.txt with your key in it? If so, just record the key then delete the file. – Twisty Impersonator Nov 2 '17 at 4:05
  • @TwistyImpersonator No there was not, but like I said I created the drive a long long time ago. I just decided to make a new one, reformatted the flash drive and made both a bootable usb drive and created an .iso image. Now present in both is a file called product.ini in the Sources directory. In this file is a giant list of Serial numbers with labels such as professionalworkstationn=key education=key serverweb=key is just a small handful and searching in the list I come across an entry professional=mykeythatirecognize – Magnus Jegeren Búrzgúl Nov 2 '17 at 4:55
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    Well you didn’t need to look up the product key because Windows 10 automatically pulls that information when installed. Additionally are you sure you are not freaking out over the generic license that EVERYONE has if they upgraded to Windows 10 from a previous installation? – Ramhound Nov 2 '17 at 6:50

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