Found 2 license keys in Registry

  1. Posts : 7
    Windows 10 Pro Ver 21H1 Build 19043.1165

    Found 2 license keys in Registry

    Recently I performed a clean install of Windows 10 Pro, version 20H2. I used the Media Creation Tool to do so and ended up with Windows 10 Home. Eventually I was able to get Windows 10 Pro installed and everything is working.
    The thing I noticed was that both versions of Windows activated with no problem. In the past when I did this the Media Creation Tool installed the Windows edition that was previously installed on other computers.
    I started doing web searches to find out where the license were stored on the computer and one search pointed me to looking in the registry. Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\, I found entries for a DefaultProductKey and a DefaultProductKey2. The first has the information for Windows 10 Home and the other is for Windows 10 Pro.
    Before I do anything rash, could this be why the Media Creation Tool behaves as it does? I seldom have a reason to have to do a reinstall and I currently have a USB drive that works, but if I needed to recreate new media it would help not to have to repeat this.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 4,594
    Windows 10 Pro

    Didn`t you enter your Pro key during the install ?
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 850
    Win 10

    Hello @Tink009

    As you have described it, it sounds to me that this is about a computer that has a Windows key in the BIOS.

    Is it a PC that was delivered preinstalled with Windows 8 Core or Windows 10 Home?

    Windows Home Edition will then be automatically installed on the PC.

    If you want to install the Pro version from the outset, you must use a trick.

    Create a Txt file with the following content and save it with the Name: "PID.txt":


    then create a second file with the Name and extensions: "ei.cfg" with this content:



    when done, copy both files in the sources Folder from your Windows Install media.

    If you then do a new installation, Windows 10 Pro will be installed directly with the Generic Pro Key.

    Since a hardware hash of the PC is already stored on the activation servers of MS, Windows should be activated automatically as soon as you are connected to the Internet.

    If your PC is a Desktop PC, the Windows version will no longer be activated automatically in the event of a major hardware replacement.

    I'm attaching the pre-made files I mentioned.

    ei.cfg und

    Friendly greetings
    Sorry for any mistakes. English is not my native language.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 7
    Windows 10 Pro Ver 21H1 Build 19043.1165
    Thread Starter

    I bought the computer from a retailer with Windows 10 Pro already installed. When I registered the computer with Dell, I found out that the computer shipped from Dell with Windows 10 Home. So the computer has an OEM license for Windows Home and a retail license for Windows Pro. Both licenses are digitally linked to my Microsoft account.
    I've gone digging into my computer to find out what those keys are, as they were not with the computer's documentation when I got it. That's when I found both license keys in the registry
    The way I reinstalled Windows 10 Pro was to add a .cfg file to the Sources folder on the USB drive.
    Professional [Channel] OEM
    Given that I had to go through several hoops to get the correct edition of Windows installed and that I found two entries in the registry for DefaultProductKey, if I were to swap the product key names in the registry would that affect how the Media Creation Tool works or will I just have to remember that I have modify the Source folder when I use the MCT?
    I'll record both keys and put them someplace where I might remember. I'm just wondering if there's a lazy man's way to get around this issue.

    FWIW - The generic license key did not work when I tried to use it

      My Computer

  5. Posts : 18,034
    Win 10 Pro 64-bit v1909 - Build 18363 Custom ISO Install

    Hello @Tink009,

    This might help explain the differences . . .

     License Types and Rules

    MS offers Win 10 Licenses in many channels governed by different rules, but for most users, you can only acquire a License through the OEM [ Original Equipment Manufacturer ] or Retail channel.

    An OEM License refers to the License that a manufacturer installs on new devices. If this is your case, the Product Key is NOT transferable, and you can NOT use it to Activate another installation [ unless you are re-activating a new installation on the same computer ].

    A Retail License refers to the License that you acquire when purchasing a copy of Win 10 from your local store or an online retailer [ such as from MS or Amazon for example ]. If you have a Win 10 Retail License, you CAN transfer the Product Key to another computer, as long as you DEACTIVATE the Product Key on the other computer.

    A Volume License is designed for large Businesses, Education, and Government. Usually, a Volume License allows organizations to use one master Product Key to Activate ANY installation of Win 10. Although you can use this License multiple times on different computers, you can NOT transfer it with the device when the system ownership changes, and you are NOT allowed to use the License to Activate devices that are NOT part of the Organization.

    I hope this helps.
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 850
    Win 10

    Tink009 said:
    FWIW - The generic license key did not work when I tried to use it
    Did you happen to enter the code in Windows Settings? Then you may get an error message.

    It is crucial that you save the two files mentioned in the Sources folder when you perform a clean reinstallation on this computer.
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 2,554
    Windows 10 Pro 64bit

    I just did this (as partly mentioned by Tekkie Boy):
    Create a “ei.cfg” file containing the following text:

    Save the ei.cfg file to the \Sources folder on your Windows 10 installation media (USB flash drive).
    Once you log in with your Microsoft account details it will find the registered Pro key & activate.
      My Computer

  8. Posts : 7
    Windows 10 Pro Ver 21H1 Build 19043.1165
    Thread Starter

    To all who responded to my post, Thank You!
    As a result of this little adventure I've learned a few things:
    1. When purchasing a computer from a retailer, beware of the "open box" sale. Obviously, someone bought this laptop, upgraded the edition of Windows and then returned it to the retailer, who didn't didn't do more than check that there was no damage and that the laptop worked. That's how I got concerned when doing a clean install of Windows and not getting the edition I expected when activating Windows.
    2. I now know how to force Windows to install the correct edition using the Media Creation Tool.
    3. I've learned where the license keys for product activation are stored on the computer and have saved them in a location where I can get to them easily, if needed. Both the OEM and Retail licenses.
    This was one of those times when reinstalling Windows was a little more than just installing Windows and programs, restoring files and moving on from there. All is good now.
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 18,429
    Windows 11 Pro

    To reinstall Windows 10 from the standard USB drive created by the Media Creation Tool....just let it install Windows 10 as normal. Then on the activation screen change the product key to:

    To me it just isn't that big of a deal.
      My Computer


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