I installed a new SSD in my PC laptop which came with an OEM version of Windows 8. After trying unsuccesfully to get the OEM version of Windows onto the SSD drive I gave up and purchased and downloaded a NEW copy of Windows 8. After that I created an ISO image on my desktop machine and followed the instructions here to create a bootable USB flash drive.

However, after going through the boot install process with the USB flash drive on my laptop I get the following message 'The product key entered does not match any of the Windows images available for installation. Enter a different product key.'
But I wasn't asked to enter any key!

Is this because the ISO image was created on a different machine? I really don't get why this should be so difficult.

  • looks like you're laptop comes with Windows 8 (Core) and you tried to install the Pro Edition. So the embedded key from the BIOS don't work. On Technet forums, someone wrote that you must uses a Technet/MSDN ISO, this one reads the embedded key correctly. And why don't you make an image of your OEM Windows (Norton Ghost, Paragon Drive Copy and others) and restore this image to your new SD? – magicandre1981 Dec 10 '12 at 5:56
  • the first thing I tried was using the recovery option and 'recovering' the OEM version to a USB flash drive(the only media the 'recovery' option would allow) I've read that trying to clone to an SSD is not a good idea, I assume what you are suggesting. – Bachalo Dec 10 '12 at 10:47
  • exact same issue as this user win8heads.com/windows-8-general/… – Bachalo Dec 10 '12 at 11:10
  • try the clone if all other ways don't work. – magicandre1981 Dec 10 '12 at 11:59

I ran into this problem yesterday with an OEM copy of Windows 8 Core on a new notebook that I wanted to replace with an upgrade offer copy of Windows 8 Professional. This workaround should work exactly the same for a store bought copy of Windows 8 Professional, but I haven't tested that.

The problem is that OEM firmware is trying to automatically enter a key for the pre-installed version of Windows.

A solution for cleanly installing Windows in this situation is to add a plaintext "ei.cfg" file to the "sources" folder on the installation media. Assuming you've mounted the install media to E, it would be: E:\sources\ei.cfg (make sure it's not ei.cfg.txt with a hidden extension!). Here is the file content that worked for me:


Remember, this was with Windows 8 Professional from the upgrade offer. Here is a Technet article with more information on these fields and alternate values. Adjust as needed to describe the media you're installing now, not what came pre-installed.

Note: This will be easy since you already have a bootable flash drive. For those starting out with optical media, see the answers to this Server Fault question.

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  • Did not work for me! Getting the message: Windows could not collect information for [OSImage] because the specified image file [install.wim] does not exist. – 321X Feb 28 '13 at 22:14
  • Oh my God it worked on my OEM 8.1 for HP 110-430. Just modified the iso straight up in the sources/ dir. Only working solution after 4 hours – Kolob Canyon Apr 29 '17 at 18:50

This is an equivalent of using a product key of one version (say OEM) on a different version (say Retail). If you can get a download from MSDN, then you can also get a corresponding key for it.

Are you entering the OEM Product key instead of 'Retail Product Key'???

For more info: Check this out

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  • I'm not entering ANY key, this error came up BEFORE I am prompted. – Bachalo Dec 10 '12 at 10:47
  • I even tried following these instructions to create an ei.cfg file inside the ISO image but I still get the error. ghacks.net/2012/08/22/… The error window comes up right after I select the language and country and the screen says 'Setup is starting' – Bachalo Dec 10 '12 at 11:02

If you download W8 and choose the ISO image option you may need to edit the image by adding an ei.cfg file. Make sure the values you use for the ei.cfg file are correct. I had 'Retail' and I needed 'Professional'

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Just use Notepad to make a file called PID.txt and put the following in the file:


Place your windows 8 Core/Pro/Etc key in where the X's are and save the file to the /sources directory in the root of your USB key.

The PID file overrides the pre-installed OEM key in the bios of your computer. Windows 8 installation starts right up.

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I"ve experienced the same problems and tried editing my "ei.cfg", as said above, and created a "PID.txt" file into the /sources but failed. I decided to delete both files and to my surprise, it worked.

You can give it a try, hope it works.

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