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[Tutorial] Clean Windows Vista Install - No Activation needed

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#1
neo

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Clean Windows Vista Install - No Activation needed { for OEM versions only }
I am just googling for some one and I have found a nice tutorial for Windows Vista User. So I have decided to share with you.

What you need!
  • Activation Backup & Restore Program
  • Windows Upgrade Anytime DVD or retail vista DVD
  • Recovery DVD(s) for your computer
  • USB Flash drive, external hard drive, or second internal hard drive
  • Device Drivers for your computer
  • The best place to find the most up to date drivers is the support or download area of your computer manufacturer's website. You will need drivers for your display, network card, wireless card, touchpad or mouse, chipset, modem, card reader, etc.
** Do NOT proceed unless you have recovery disk(s) and any data you want to keep backed up! **

Instructions
  • Download the Activation Backup and Restore program above.
  • Open the file and copy the ABR folder to your USB flash drive, external drive, or second internal hard drive.
  • Double click activation_backup.exe. This will open a cmd window and extract the OEM Vista key. If all goes OK you will see two new files in the ABR folder.
    • backup-cert.xrm-ms: Backed up activation
    • backup-key.txt: Backed-up product key
  • Insert the Vista Anytime Upgrade DVD.
  • Reboot your computer. Your computer should boot to CD/DVD. If not change the option in your BIOS
  • Choose your language, Time/Currency, and country. Click Next.
  • Click on Install Now
  • The next screen is for your Vista key. DO NOT enter anything in this box. Be sure to UNCHECK the activate box. Click Next. The installation program won't believe you, so it will ask you again if you want to enter your key. Choose NO.
  • You will be asked which version of Vista you have purchased. Highlight the version that came with your computer. Check the box that says "I have selected the edition of Windows that I purchased". Click Next.
  • Accept Microsoft's license terms. Click Next.
  • Choose Custom (Advanced) Installation.
  • Choose where you want to install Vista.
    • Disk 0 is your primary drive and where you should install.
    • If your manufacturer has included a recovery partition you will see Disk 0 Partition 1 and Disk 0 Partition 2. Choose Partition 1.
    • Highlight Disk 0 Partition 1 (should be the first choice.
    • Click on Drive Options (Advanced).
    • Choose Format. This will completely erase your old installation, including all bloatware!
    • The default settings for formatting will be fine. This will take some time depending on the size of your drive.
    • More experienced users my delete the recovery partition and gain back the 10GB of space.
    • If your computer did not come with recovery disks DO NOT remove the recovery partition unless you have burnt the disks yourself!
  • The installation program will now begin copying files.
  • The installation program will reboot the computer. You can remove the DVD from the drive now.
  • Choose a username and password.
  • Choose a computer name and desktop background.
  • Choose an automatic updates option. Choose a time zone, set date and time.
  • The gears of Vista will whirl for a few moments and Vista will start! Go to Control Panel>System and Maintenance>System. You will see that Vista is NOT activated. Close this window.
  • Insert your USB flash drive and navigate to activation_restore.exe. Double click the file to start.
  • A cmd window will open and you will see it doing it's thing. It should say "Successful". Close the cmd window.
  • Go to Control Panel>System and Maintenance>System again. Notice the difference?
  • Install the device drivers you downloaded before. You will probably be asked to reboot and it is OK to do so. Be careful not to install any bloatware, or unnecessary helper applications.
  • Open Control Panel>System and Maintenance>System again. Click on Windows Experience Index half way down the window.
  • This will open the Windows Experience Index window. Click Update My Score. Vista uses this score to determine if it will be able to handle the Aero interface.
There you have it! A fresh, clean Vista installation with NO extra crap. Guaranteed to make for a faster and more enjoyable computing experience! I know the instructions are lengthy, but it really on takes a fraction of the time you would spend removing the extra crap manufacturers add to a new computer.

You can find complete tutorial with images.
:thumbup Source: Dave's Computer :thumbup


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#2
MAVERICKS CHOICE

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Nice guide, one needs to remember only for an oem version.

#3
neo

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Nice guide, one needs to remember only for an oem version.

Thanks for correction :hello:

#4
JuMz

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Hmm, I will have to try this out!

#5
bongo333

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Sorry I tried all above but got stuck at the start ABR could not find Activation Cert I have OEM Business Any ideas as this would be great to have

#6
orev

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I am the original author of the guide and "Activation Backup and Restore" which I call ABR. You can follow the whole thread and read the guide that I keep up to date here at notebook review.com. The screen shots were added by Dave at Dave's Computer Tips, but that guide is a little out of date now. I have also updated ABR since he made a copy of it on his site.

#7
bongo333

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Well this doesn't work with OEM Business Ed

#8
dexter.inside

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Interesting, I will test on Server 2008 OEM :sneaky:

#9
orev

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Well this doesn't work with OEM Business Ed


I have other reports saying that this DOES work with the Business edition. However, ABR is only designed to work with OEM preinstalled version of Vista. If you are using another type of Vista, like a retail disc, it won't work. I don't have access to the other types of Vista to be able to develop for them.

#10
Thunderbolt 2864

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Is this legal or what? I know its not cracking, but still. Not that I cared anyway.

Anyway, thanks for it. Activating is a pain in the a** anyway.

#11
orev

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For the legality, this is not a crack. What the program does is allow you to back up the activation certificate, then after you reinstall, it allows you to restore it. That's it.

#12
maxXPsoft

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For OEM disks
why would i go through all that?
when you simply mountrw your image and create dir folders if needed and copy the *.*xrm-ms to DVD\sources\$OEM$\$$\SYSTEM32\OEM, plug your key in the xml and its done. No 2 mb exe to run or nothing and you can do that without it stopping and asking for a key

All this was covered in the Unattend forums some time ago but a recent post is http://www.msfn.org/...howtopic=101649

Edited by maxXPsoft, 16 August 2007 - 09:05 AM.


#13
orev

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For OEM disks why would i go through all that? when you simply mountrw your image and create dir folders if needed and copy the *.*xrm-ms to DVD\sources\$OEM$\$$\SYSTEM32\OEM, plug your key in the xml and its done. No 2 mb exe to run or nothing and you can do that without it stopping and asking for a key

All this was covered in the Unattend forums some time ago but a recent post is http://www.msfn.org/...howtopic=101649


Most people will not be burning their own custom versions of DVDs, and this works with unmodified Vista discs. This utility/process is aimed at a more general audience who is able to reinstall a system, but has not gotten into making custom discs and automated installs. That's a big difference in who's going to use it.

Obtaining the xrm-ms files means finding them on a torrent or p2p somewhere, which is more or less piracy. This utility extracts the necessary information from a running, legitimate system, then allows you to restore it later. There is no need to locate xrm-ms files from a pirate web site, or wherever else you might try to get them. That approach also makes many more people likely to be comfortable with it.

If it does not suit you, that's fine, but the utility of the process is certainly valuable to many people. I find it interesting that you characterize the process of mounting WIM images, creating directories, editing xml, reburning discs, and hoping it all worked correctly as a simple process, but then refer to the steps of: "run the backup tool" and "run the restore tool" as "all that" hassle. The rest of the steps listed are just the normal install process.

PS. It's 2MB because it's written in Perl. I've thought of making it smaller, but is 2MB really *that* big, especially when the WIM tools are over 1GB?

#14
dexter.inside

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For the legality, this is not a crack. What the program does is allow you to back up the activation certificate, then after you reinstall, it allows you to restore it. That's it.


If this was not legal, neither would Norton Ghost 12 be. ;)

#15
maxXPsoft

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@orev
All I'm saying is this
Think about what you're saying there. If its an actual OEM disk then the files are already in place or in my case they are for a fully legal Dell. You simply need to create a small xml file with correct answers including your key and put it on a floppy/usb stick and then don't have to go through all the other stuff you're saying. I/we have even discovered that the PID.txt it is in sources folder and in Boot.wim 2 Sources folder also is not even needed.

Why do I go through mountrw my image, SP1 testing dude, its not your original disk but you can make it activate like it was. Also to inject Drivers, Updates and setup Application installers
Then your first app activation_backup.exe would be good for extracting the *.*xrm-ms and original key for those purposes but second 1 is not needed.

And lastly, in other forums you're posts were installing clean without the garbage, thats what I do M8, only the *.*xrm-ms and xml with valid key are needed with the right Bios and you don't even see the Logos :whistle:
how clean is that? and legal because same computer i've only updated it.

#16
orev

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maxXPsoft: I see your point, but I think my scenario is different than yours, and is very common for a lot of people. I am coming from the perspective of a laptop that comes pre-installed with an image from the manufacturer. Many manufacturers do not include a specialized Vista reinstall disc, only a restore disc that includes all the junk software. There is no way to separate the two. In that case, if you want to do a clean install, you can use the backup and restore tools to extract the product key and activation certificate, then use those after doing a reinstall using the Anytime Upgrade DVD, which is a pure Vista install disk -- it has no drivers or activation specific to the OEM.

I suppose you would characterize this method as doing an install using your OEM credentials on a retail version of the Vista disc. For myself and many buyers, this is the only option you have.

My specific target for these tools are people who just barely know how to do a reinstall. Anyone who is capable, willing, or has the time (that's a big one) to create their own custom disc will probably find their own way to do it. I also wanted to avoid the step of "search google to find the certificate files", because to many people, that sounds scummy and like piracy. The idea that you can just back it up off your own computer is much more above-board.

#17
maxXPsoft

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ok but you can simplify it as i mentioned. My M8 also didn't get a dvd from the manufacturer so he called and they sent him a clean disk, matched the other vista_RTM
My brother had problems with his Gateway laptop that was courtesy upgraded and i copied the disk and compared to vista_RTM and they were exact, no changes at all. makes that C:\WINDOWS\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareLicensing\tokens.dat look funny how it can match in all cases don't it?

EDIT: made a mistake since i've been comparing a lot of different Oem dvds. The Dell Oem dvd matched except the $Oem$ structure which I said earlier

Edited by maxXPsoft, 17 August 2007 - 08:56 AM.


#18
orev

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I guess your idea about what is simple differs from mine. To me, "1) unpack new laptop from the box, 2) boot for the first time to the pre-installed OS image, 3) run backup utility, 4) install fresh copy of vista, 5) run restore utility", is about as simple as you can get. You don't need to have any knowledge at all about unattended installs or how to use the "secret" $$ folders.

IMO, as soon as you start getting into "put this in the $OEM$ folder, do that with the tokens.dat file, make xml file, mounting WIM images, etc..." you have gone beyond what typical users, and even many "tinkerers", are willing to do. Even burning your own Vista DVD that is bootable, while not exactly challenging, is another big step that many people will not be comfortable with. It's not the steps that are hard, it's finding the knowledge and navigating Microsoft's mazes to figure out *which* steps you need to perform, many of which are far from obvious. At that point, you might as well be using vLite anyway.

#19
Maickel

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Well i got myself a retail version of vista ultimate x86 . is there anyway that i could backup my license and activation ? without making a image of my hardrive etc...

:hello:

Edited by Maickel, 25 August 2007 - 04:19 PM.


#20
tjhart85

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THANKS!

This is perfect as the Acer my girlfriend got doesn't have a recovery disc & its loaded with crap, much changed from XP where there was almost no additional software installed.

#21
MAVERICKS CHOICE

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I guess your idea about what is simple differs from mine. To me, "1) unpack new laptop from the box, 2) boot for the first time to the pre-installed OS image, 3) run backup utility, 4) install fresh copy of vista, 5) run restore utility", is about as simple as you can get. You don't need to have any knowledge at all about unattended installs or how to use the "secret" $$ folders.

IMO, as soon as you start getting into "put this in the $OEM$ folder, do that with the tokens.dat file, make xml file, mounting WIM images, etc..." you have gone beyond what typical users, and even many "tinkerers", are willing to do. Even burning your own Vista DVD that is bootable, while not exactly challenging, is another big step that many people will not be comfortable with. It's not the steps that are hard, it's finding the knowledge and navigating Microsoft's mazes to figure out *which* steps you need to perform, many of which are far from obvious. At that point, you might as well be using vLite anyway.


I guess it comes down to what you need, a developer may need to do many installs & testing very frequently & with some work an unattended install is very fast. Ghosted images also are sound. None of this is meant to be simple for the "typical user" but gives the means if so desired.

#22
hakeem5454

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Download the Activation Backup and Restore program above.
Open the file and copy the ABR folder to your USB flash drive, external drive, or second internal hard drive.
Double click activation_backup.exe. This will open a cmd window and extract the OEM Vista key. If all goes OK you will see two new files in the ABR folder.
backup-cert.xrm-ms: Backed up activation
backup-key.txt: Backed-up product key

do i do those steps while im running windows xp still?
and do i NEED to do a clean install or can i upgrade?

#23
Techno

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Is there any way to back up activation if I buy an OEM Vista disc from a store and install in my DIY computer?

#24
orev

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Is there any way to back up activation if I buy an OEM Vista disc from a store and install in my DIY computer?


Not currently. I have an idea about it, but no time to implement ATM.

#25
martins

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Will this also work if I get a Vista in german and install a fresh Vista in English?

I got a Vista Home Premium.




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