Tuesday, 14 July 2015

How to completly remove a product key from Windows Server 2003

In order to wipe a product key from Windows Server 2003 we must perform the following steps:

1. Load up the registry editor and modify the following keys (inserting random data / deleting data in the "DigitalProductID" (or simply delete the value altogether!) -

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DigitalProductId
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Registration\DigitalProductId

this will obscurate your product key (confirm by checking with something like ProduKey) - although it will appear on next reboot if you do not follow the next steps.

2. We should now delete a file called wpa.dlb (and wpa.bak if it is present) located in:

3. Finally we should delete another registry key - although because WPA protects this key we must use the "Offline Windows Password & Registry Editor" - available from https://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/

Boot up the CD image and select the correct partition and ensure you get into the registry editor. Once in from memory you do something like:

hive
hive 0
cd WPA
rdel Key-XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
q

save your changes and restart into the OS again - upon logging in you should now be presented with a dialog stating that you can't login without activating windows.

We are looking for the following key(s):

HKLM\SYSTEM\WPA\Key-XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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