Saturday 9 August 2008

SBS 2K3 - Change that product key

In some cases, we need to use our SPLA media's product key to get our base SBS 2K3 R2 Premium install in place.

Generally, it will take about 2-3 days post license transaction with Microsoft for the media to arrive at our client's site.

Obviously, it is our preference to have the correct key in place before activating the OS.

To change the product key if we have not activated the OS we do the following:
  1. Start --> Run --> %systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a [Enter].
  2. Click on "Yes, I want to telephone a cust6omer service representative to activate Windows" NEXT.
  3. Click the "Change Product Key" button.
  4. Enter the new product key in the boxes.
  5. Click Update
  6. Click Remind me Later or close the activation window.
  7. Reboot.
  8. Double click on the activation icon in the tray.
  9. Activate.
If the server was activated already, then we need to do the following prior to the above:
  1. Start --> Run --> Regedit [Enter]
  2. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Current Version\WPAEvents
  3. Right click on OOBETimer and Modify.
  4. Change any one digit to deactivate Windows.
Once the server has been rebooted, activating the server on the client's actual key is good to go.

If the server was already activated, it should indicate that it is activated when running msoobe.exe /a after the above steps.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.


Anonymous said...

Hi thanks for this post. I have to say you got big balls. Officially you are breaking MS laws. Called them today, being a SPLA partner et al we often have to wait for 3 weeks for media/key to arrive. Suppliers can't mail us the keys because they are 'automatically' (a robot or something? picked from storage and deposited in the box and send. When we have to act quickly this makes it impossible. Called MS, they are not allowing you to do this, nor install a trial and activate the key etc. Frankly they are telling you, you can install a trial now, but once you receive the product you have to do the whole installation again. Well ain't that nice, being a paying customer and even a partner they bite you in the ass. Ofcourse, anyone that doesn't care about it's relations with MS can just d/l plenty of cracks and serials from the internet. For paying customers there is no way to do anything, not even if you're willing to fax order confirmations etc.

And MS doesn't care. Why would they... If your customer rans away from you, they will just run to another MS partner. MS will get his bucks, you loose the customer.

Thanks for the great support MS, really enjoy it.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...

If we do use this method, then our client falls under the SPLA agreement for that temporary period. We can bill them for it, or absorb the costs. The costs are not a lot.

There should be no complaints as it seems to me that we are following the correct steps to keep things legitimate. Yes, they have paid, but their product does not go live, thus validating their payment, until the products are installed and the EULA is agreed to.

Much like a dealer rental prior to receiving a new car, SPLA would cover that in between time. None of our clients have had a problem when we explained it that way.

Once we have shifted to SBS 2008 and Vista, the point will be moot since we can install keyless and input the key at a later date.

The catch would be an upgrade version of Vista.


Anonymous said...

Don't take my word for it, as I'm not sure how 'trusted' the word is from the people I spoke at microsoft (they don't seem to understand their own licensing). However, I was told changing the key is illegal. You can install trial, but not allowed to change that either. You are supposed to do a full reinstall. Recovering backup won't be possible (not including AD etc) as system state will contain registry, which will contain key, which will lead to the need to change the productkey, what appearantly isn't legal. :) Kinda sucks. Filed a complaint. If anything useful comes out of it, I'll let you know. Doubt I'll ever hear from them tho' :).