Restore Windows 10 digital entitlement activation offline

  1. Posts : 1
    Windows 7

    Restore Windows 10 digital entitlement activation offline

    Here is some information about how to successfully backup and restore Windows 10 activation when installed through what Microsoft calls "digital entitlement", i. e. having used the free upgrade offer from a previous Windows version.

    It is mainly intended for advanced users with interest in and basic knowledge about how Windows activation works, and to understand everything you should be familiar with the registry, command line and access rights.

    As you may already know, having once activated Windows online with a digital entitlement you can always do clean installs through a Windows 10 DVD afterwards without entering a product key, and when connecting to the Internet Windows verifies that it was installed on the same hardware and automatically activate again.

    There is however a way to backup this activation information and after a clean install restore it completely offline, without the need of going online once.

    Those who have already experimented with methods that were valid on earlier Windows versions up to 8.1, or used activation backup and restore tools for these versions, will have come to the conclusion that these methods do not work with Windows 10's digital entitlement - Windows always insists on connecting to the Internet once for activation.

    Still the files that contain activation information and need to be backed up and restored are:

    The trick is now that in Windows 10 there is an additional registry key that needs to be backed up and restored as well - and also this key is not accessible by normal means.

    The key in question is:

    When you run Regedit and navigate to said key, you will get an "Access denied" message. Furthermore you will be unable to take ownership or change permissions of that key.

    To see its contents and be able to backup and restore it, Regedit must be run with SYSTEM access rights. This can for example be done by downloading the PsTools from Microsoft, then on the command line execute: psexec -i -s regedit.exe
    Now you will be able to access the above key and its subkeys, and export it to a .reg file.

    After doing a clean install (on the same hardware!), the procedure to restore activation information is:
    - Stop the software licensing service on the command line: net stop sppsvc
    - Copy back the three .dat files to their respective locations
    - Run psexec -i -s regedit.exe again and import the previously backed-up .reg file
    - Restart the computer.

    Now test if it works by either going to Windows Activation in PC settings, or by executing the following command on the command line: slmgr /xpr
    If all went well Windows will tell you it is permanently activated.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 165
    Windows 10 Professional x64

    Very interesting, thanks for the info...

    I'm going slightly off-topic here, but do you know by any chance a way to convert W7/8.1 activation information to W10 activation information in such a way that, for example I would bring this W7/8.1 activation info to a machine with internet access, run a tool that submits this info to the MS servers and creates W10 activation info that could be used later on the W7/8.1 system to replace it with W10 offline ?
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 15,575

    I do not have


      My Computer

  4. Posts : 191
    Windows XP, 10; Knoppix [Debian] linux

    cereberus said:
    I do not have


    The file attribures say it's hidden. Change your folder view settings to show system/hidden files and it will probably be there.
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 15,575

    mike s said:
    The file attribures say it's hidden. Change your folder view settings to show system/hidden files and it will probably be there.
    OK - thanks
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 9
    Windows 10 x64 1511 (Threshold 2 10586.36)

    @lh10 You sir are a stud. I haven't seen anyone else share this vital info. Best Regards!
      My Computer


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