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Image Product Keys and Activation

3/21/2011

Windows Embedded Standard 7 product keys are used to:

  • Determine the grace or evaluation period of an image.
  • Generate a product identifier (PID) to identify each unique installation of Standard 7.

Standard 7 uses a new type of activation called "Embedded Activation" that provides automatic activation when a valid Volume License Runtime key is used during image creation. Images created without a product key or with a 180-day Evaluation License key will expire at the end of their trial period and cannot be activated or upgraded.

Key Type Trial Period Product Key Entered

No Key

30-day trial period for evaluation after first boot.

  • Do not include product key in the answer file.
  • Do not enter a product key in the out-of-box experience (OOBE) file.

or

  • Enter all zeros in the answer file in Shell-Setup | ProductKey setting for the Specialize configuration pass.

Evaluation Runtime Key

180-day trial period for evaluation after first boot.

  • Enter an evaluation runtime key in the answer file in Shell-Setup | ProductKey setting for the Specialize configuration pass or
  • Enter an evaluation runtime key in OOBE.

Volume License Runtime Key

Trial period not applicable. Runtimes created with a Volume License Runtime key are automatically activated during setup.

  • Enter a Volume License Runtime key in the answer file in Shell-Setup | ProductKey setting for the Specialize configuration pass or
  • Enter a Volume License Runtime key in OOBE.

If an image has exceeded its trial period, it is considered "out of grace" and the following behaviors will be exhibited:

  • The device will restart every twenty minutes without warning.
  • The Standard 7 logo will be appended with "Evaluation Copy."
  • The device desktop background will be black.
  • A message will appear on the device desktop background stating "This copy of Windows is not Genuine".
  • Messages are written to the log file located at %windir%\debug\wlms.log that read "The grace period has expired and the system has no license. This computer will shutdown."
Ff794751.note(en-US,WinEmbedded.1001).gifNote:
The Standard 7 setup process performs several verifications, which rely on the target device's date and time settings. For optimal performance, confirm that the target device is set to the correct date and time.

Standard 7 does not support in-place upgrades from one license type to another. It is recommended that you verify the product key type used in your image or answer file before you use it in production. Images and answer files must be re-created to upgrade the license. You cannot upgrade an image by changing the product key.

When your image is created, messages are written to the log file located at %windir%\Panther\UnattendGC\setupact.log that state what type of product key is in use for that image. This log can be reviewed after image creation to determine your image's license details.

You can also use the Windows Software Licensing Management Tool (SLMgr.vbs) to obtain details of the license in use for your device. Enter the following command at an elevated command prompt on the device to obtain the device's current license information:

Slmrg -dli

The information returned will include last five characters of the product key used for the device's image as well as the license status and the length of time until the license expires.

Title Evaluation Image Volume Licensed Image

Name

Windows Embedded Standard 7

Windows Embedded Standard 7

Description

Windows Operating System - Windows® 7, RETAIL channel

Windows Operating System - Windows®7, VOLUME_BA channel

Partial Product Key

<last 4 digits of key used>

<last 4 digits of key used>

License Status

Initial grace period

Licensed

Time Remaining

<minutes and days remaining in grace period>

<not displayed>

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