Activate Windows Server DataCenter 2019 & maybe earlier without KMS or modding your BIOS

Discussion in 'Windows Server' started by RandomUser, Apr 28, 2020.

  1. RandomUser

    RandomUser MDL Novice

    Mar 16, 2009
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    #1 RandomUser, Apr 28, 2020
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
    It appears to be possible to activate Windows Server 2019 Datacenter and maybe even earlier versions of Windows Server DataCenter as well. All without modifying your BIOS and without KMS activation by using a modified bootmgr based off of Daz Windows loader file.
    You will need
    1. A Dell 2.5 certificate file to install
    2. A Dell OEM SLP Key. That can be found here.
    3. modified bootmgr file.
    1. What you need to do is copy the modified bootmgr file to where your existing bootmgr file resides, however before doing that you need to rename your existing one to "bootwin" without the quotes.
    2. After that simply reboot your computer.
    3. After restarting your computer you need to install a proper certificate file (DELL-DD981F15.XRM-MS) command line should be slmgr /ilc <path to cert file>
    4. Then install the above linked key or another key if attempting to use on older version of Server DataCenter. Command line should be slmgr /ipk <OEM SLP Key>. Or you can use the GUI to insert the key that way.
    5. Windows should be activated.
    I do not know how long this will work or will it works on every environment, so it is merely a test. I only tried this in VMWare and on a virgin OS and setup. Also tested only on BIOS mode no UEFI.

    Warning: Only try this on a Windows disk that you are willing to nuke, i.e. don't care about the install.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Carlos Detweiller

    Carlos Detweiller MDL Spinning Tortoise

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    Looks like it's exactly the same the Loader does, natively. Note that MS requires certain parts of the firmware to be in ROM, for later servers.
     
  3. RobrPatty

    RobrPatty MDL Addicted

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    Could you send me pm with modified bootmgr file. I would love to test this out.
     
  4. RandomUser

    RandomUser MDL Novice

    Mar 16, 2009
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    Perhaps I'm using an older build of Windows Server 2019? If that the case then the modified bootmgr wouldn't work then :(. Or perhaps you mean like Windows Server 2022 or with a different year, then yeah, it certainly won't work. As for the modified bootmgr, is exactly the same as the loader, except people will have to do some work manually but modded with 2.5 SLIC. Weather or not it is actually working or will work properly is unknown at the moment.

    I posted a screen shot of the activated Windows Server 2019 with that modified bootmgr in action inside VMWare and the Server 2019 build number.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Carlos Detweiller

    Carlos Detweiller MDL Spinning Tortoise

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    If it is activated, you're golden. I just said that it might not work that well in all cases.

    Here's the statement from the Loader Readme:
     
  6. RandomUser

    RandomUser MDL Novice

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    That makes sense and that would explain why Daz loader is no longer being updated. Thank you for clearing that up for me.
     
  7. RobrPatty

    RobrPatty MDL Addicted

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    Worked with this for 2 days. Used a non UEFI bios with MBR hd and installed Server 2019 datacenter. Mounted "System Reserved" and renamed bootmgr to bootwin. Then added the modified bootmgr. Rebooted and no matter what I did pc could no longer find system. Used EasyBCD to enable a C: drive to boot and still system could not find windows. Reversed process in hopes of restoring Server 2019 but still boot was all wacked. Sorry RandomUser did not work for me.
     
  8. Yen

    Yen Admin
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    A modified bootmgr was an approach to inject a SLIC long time ago. (Before Daz loader)
    It seems it is the same old approach. Original bootmgr is renamed to something else.
    Modified bootmgr injects a SLIC and calls 'something else' to complete the chain.

    The approach has been abandoned since it led to incompatibility issues and it actually does alter an OS related file.
    Daz loader isn't updated because Daz has discontinued it. It would be easy for him to update it with SLIC 2.5
     
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  9. Carlos Detweiller

    Carlos Detweiller MDL Spinning Tortoise

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    So can do everyone, see Loader readme, part 9.
     
  10. RobrPatty

    RobrPatty MDL Addicted

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    Followed part9...ran loader. Loader picked up key, slic, but said non supported os. :furious:
     
  11. RandomUser

    RandomUser MDL Novice

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    Oh poo, I was really hoping for it to work for you. Sorry about destroying your OS. That is part of the reason why I recommended try on another drive.

    Oh wow then my idea isn't original and that does makes sense. I did not realize it made changes to the OS file. Thank you for explaining that to me.

    As for everyone else, you can give it a try, but do it on another hard disk formatted as MBR that you don't mind nuking the OS install.
     
  12. Yen

    Yen Admin
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    #12 Yen, May 13, 2020
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
    You actually don't alter the original bootmgr but you inject code in 'the name of bootmgr' in order to write a SLIC before you leave the bootstate where you still can write and it becomes read only...
    bootmgr = windows own boot loader. It is an OS related file. It's config is stored it the BCD (Boot Configuration Database).

    The success depends on mainboard OEM / chipset...


    To inject a SLIC (= ACPITable) to the ACPINamespace you have to do it in an early boot state.

    The first approach had been to modify BIOSes.
    Other soft approaches before Daz loader had been Vistaloader and the WoW project and some others.
    https://forums.mydigitallife.net/th...sion-for-slp2-1-is-out.3366/page-4#post-41253

    BTW Daz loader uses grub to chainload itself in between the 'normal' MBR bootchain. BIOS-->MBR-->GRUB--->Daz loader--->bootsector.

    Normal MBR bootchain:

    BIOS-->MBR-->bootsector (active partition)--->bootloader (bootmgr)

    You see the bootmgr approach is 'later' compared to Daz loader and far later compared to BIOS modifications.

    The earlier you inject, the more specifically you modify, the more compatible the injection is.
     
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