Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Dreaded OEM Clean Install

  1. #1

    Dreaded OEM Clean Install


    I recently purchased a MSI GT70 laptop that came preinstalled with Windows 8. Rather than try and uninstall all the bloatware, I was planning on just doing a clean install. Little did I know that Microsoft had changed the game when it comes to authentication on W8 with the bios linked product keys.

    The W8 usb drive that I used previously to install W8 on other computers does not work, I believe that is due to it recognizing it as a RETAIL version trying to be installed on an OEM system. Searching around, it seemed other people had success with using an .ISO from TechNet or MSDN and the installation automatically pulling the product key information. The .iso I used was sourced from the Microsoft store download.

    After booting to the disk, I received this error: The product key entered does not match any of the Windows images available for installation. Enter a different product key.

    I tried manually adding the PID.txt file with the product key I pulled from pkeyui (cross checked with showkey.vbs and RWEverything) but that resulted in the same error. For this notebook, the product key and MSDM are identical, whereas I read other people were finding two different product keys. One nestled deep in the bios and the other being what you see when you run Belarc Advisor etc.

    Burning the .iso to a DVD and then starting the setup inside a session of W8 resulted in a different error: this product key cannot be used to install a retail version

    So once again back to the issue of using a retail .iso with an OEM product key to try and do a clean install. As far as I know you can't download an "oem .iso" but I'm not sure how to get the retail .iso to play nicely with the product key I have.

    So exactly how does one do a clean install of an OEM windows 8 build on a laptop that comes preinstalled with windows 8? If I can't sort this out, I may be stuck with rooting out the bloatware.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Try making an ei.efg file under sources directory using notepad, contains this texts:

    [EditionID]
    Professional
    [Channel]
    OEM
    [VL]
    0

    Substitute Professional to your edition (Professional = Pro, Core = Standard, CoreSingleLanguage, CoreMultilanguage).
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by MrShowdown View Post
    Try making an ei.efg file under sources directory using notepad, contains this texts:

    [EditionID]
    Professional
    [Channel]
    OEM
    [VL]
    0

    Substitute Professional to your edition (Professional = Pro, Core = Standard, CoreSingleLanguage, CoreMultilanguage).
    I created the ei.efg text file and placed it in the source directory with these values:

    [EditionID]
    Core
    [Channel]
    OEM
    [VL]
    0

    Booting to USB resulted in the same error "product key does not match" as before. Not sure if it matters, but I did remove the PID.txt file from the source directory. I don't believe it needs both the ei.efg and PID.txt, right?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 328
    Windows 8.1 (x64)


    No need for ei.cfg, delete it and just try to install with a generic key. Find one for your version there :
    MSDN Subscriber Downloads

    Once installed and if you're connected to internet the activation should be automatic (it will get your product key directly from the bios). Retail does work with oem embedded keys, I've done it . Just make sure that the version you install corresponds to the one you had (core / single language / N / Pro / etc...) or it just won't work (I hope you ran slmgr /dlv beforehand on your old system for that tho or you'll have to trust your luck)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Yes this can be done, you just need to use a generic key to start the install, after your installed then activate with your key that you extracted from the BIOS

    Check out the Guides in this Activate retail Windows 8.1 with Windows 8 Product key.
    Windows 8.1 Single Language Y9NXP-XT8MV-PT9TG-97CT3-9D6TC
    Windows 8.1 Core 334NH-RXG76-64THK-C7CKG-D3VPT
    Windows 8.1 Pro XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    The TechNet ISO's are listed as being Retail. I've used those ISO's to clean install Windows 8.0 on my ASUS laptop that has an OEM embedded key. My embedded key is for 8 core and that is what gets installed. I am not prompted for a product key and activation in done automatically online. Here's the deal with reading the embedded key. Windows stores the currently in use key in the registry. That's where a lot of these key finding utilities get it from. That's fine if you have never upgraded your factory OEM install. If you haven't the registry stored key will match the embedded key that was read out during the install. However, if you use the Add Features option to upgrade to 8 Pro or add Media Center to 8 Pro, the key stored in the registry will be the 8 Pro key or the Media Center key. It's the last one entered. That's where some people have gotten confused and gotten the wrong key. rweverything is one utility that will read the actual code stored in the BIOS.

    I'd have to do some searching but I do believe some people ran into issues if the factory installed version was Windows 8 Single Language. Finding the matching install media was an issue.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 5,592
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by Pelmore View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MrShowdown View Post
    Try making an ei.efg file under sources directory using notepad, contains this texts:

    [EditionID]
    Professional
    [Channel]
    OEM
    [VL]
    0

    Substitute Professional to your edition (Professional = Pro, Core = Standard, CoreSingleLanguage, CoreMultilanguage).
    I created the ei.efg text file and placed it in the source directory with these values:

    [EditionID]
    Core
    [Channel]
    OEM
    [VL]
    0

    Booting to USB resulted in the same error "product key does not match" as before. Not sure if it matters, but I did remove the PID.txt file from the source directory. I don't believe it needs both the ei.efg and PID.txt, right?
    The Microsoft official OEM/Retail DVD's DO NOT HAVE A PID.TXT file.

    Click image for larger version

    Where do you buy your DVD from?


    You may like to get a DVD & license key from a good source like:

    Windows Download and Shop - Microsoft Windows
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Theog they are talking about the adding of an ei.cfg file, not a PID.TXT file.I see your point though as my TechNet ISO's don't have either file, they are multi edition, core and pro. The product code entered determines what version is installed. There is nothing stopping you from adding either file though to speed things up during the install or to make custom install media.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 5,592
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    Theog they are talking about the adding of an ei.cfg file, not a PID.TXT file.I see your point though as my TechNet ISO's don't have either file, they are multi edition, core and pro. The product code entered determines what version is installed. There is nothing stopping you from adding either file though to speed things up during the install or to make custom install media.
    "Booting to USB resulted in the same error "product key does not match" as before. Not sure if it matters, but I did remove the PID.txt file from the source directory. I don't believe it needs both the ei.efg and PID.txt, right?"
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by theog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    Theog they are talking about the adding of an ei.cfg file, not a PID.TXT file.I see your point though as my TechNet ISO's don't have either file, they are multi edition, core and pro. The product code entered determines what version is installed. There is nothing stopping you from adding either file though to speed things up during the install or to make custom install media.
    "Booting to USB resulted in the same error "product key does not match" as before. Not sure if it matters, but I did remove the PID.txt file from the source directory. I don't believe it needs both the ei.efg and PID.txt, right?"
    OK, my bad, sorry, missed that last line. The screen shot showed the ei.cfg file.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Dreaded OEM Clean Install
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