Activation Adventures: experimental findings

Discussion in 'Windows 10' started by kelorgo, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. kelorgo

    kelorgo MDL Addicted

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    #1 kelorgo, Aug 1, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
    I have been experimenting with insider builds, activation routes, product keys and Installation IDs in Windows 10. Here are the two most interesting findings:

    1. It's currently possible to achieve an activated Windows 10 Pro on a PC with no previous genuine Windows installation (without using KMS, Daz Loader, Windows 7 or 8).

    2. It's possible to reproduce hardware details between Virtual Machines and hence immediately activate a new VM with a clean installation of Windows 10 Pro.


    Activating Windows 10 Pro without previous genuine Windows

    Clean installations of Insider Preview builds 10074 and 10130 can still be activated on a PC with no previous genuine Windows using the insider product key ending in YKHCF.

    These builds by themselves don't flag the PC as eligible for a clean install of the RTM release build, but they can be upgraded to the release build. They act as if they were genuine activated Windows versions for the purposes of an upgrade (like Windows 7/8).

    Hence the procedure:
    1. Clean install Insider Preview build 10074 or 10130
    2. Insert product key ending in YKHCF and activate
    3. Upgrade to release build and activate
    4. Clean install release build and activate
    Note that although right now these two insider builds can still be activated, this won't last forever.


    Reproducing hardware details in Virtual Machines for immediate activation

    You can see the Installation ID, a long string of numbers, using the "slmgr /dlv" command. For more details on the significance of the Installation ID, see this post.

    If you have a VM where you have successfully activated Windows 10 Pro, and are able to reproduce the Installation ID in another VM, then Windows 10 Pro can be immediately activated in the second VM too.

    Procedure:
    1. Start with a VMware Workstation (or Player) VM where Windows 10 Pro release build is successfully activated (the "Source VM").
    2. Create a second VMware Workstation (or Player) VM and set all hardware parameters to be identical (e.g. RAM size) (the "Target VM").
    3. Start up the Target VM once and immediately shut it down (to force VMware Workstation to generate its BIOS UUID).
    4. Edit the .vmx file of the Target VM and copy these values from the Source VM:
      - uuid.bios (but NOT the uuid.location)
      - ethernet0.generatedAddress
    5. Install Windows 10 Pro in the target VM. It can be immediately activated.
    If the procedure is followed correctly, the Installation ID in the Target VM will be identical to the Source VM.

    The Target VM can even be activated if only minor details are different (e.g. RAM size is changed), even though the Installation ID will change in that case. The important thing is to match the BIOS UUID and the MAC addresses.

    Similar procedure should be possible with VirtualBox as well, although there it's important to match the HardDisk serial number too.

    The interesting thing about this is that in theory it's possible for someone to share the details of their VM with the world (e.g. RAM size, number of cores etc.) together with the BIOS UUID and MAC address, and anyone else can immediately activate Windows 10 Pro if they set up their VM the same way. In practice, Microsoft may block activations for the given hardware details once they start getting thousands of activation requests from the same hardware.


    Exercises for the reader

    I'm interested to see if other people can reproduce these findings.

    1. See if you can get an activated Windows 10 Pro release build by upgrading from Insider Preview builds 10074 or 10130 using the procedure described.

    2. See if you can get a clean installation of Windows 10 Pro to activate in a second VMware VM using the procedure described.


    Disclaimer

    You may end up with an activated copy of Windows using the procedures above, but that of course doesn't mean that you have a valid license. In order to have a valid Windows 10 license, you must upgrade from a qualifying genuine Windows or you must buy it.
     
  2. Daz

    Daz MDL Developer / Admin
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  3. Daz

    Daz MDL Developer / Admin
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    #4 Daz, Aug 1, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
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  4. vuze4u

    vuze4u MDL Member

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    I believe all the pirate upgraded Win 10 editions are all automatic insider version. Because the product key seem to be the same with every pirates.
     
  5. Daz

    Daz MDL Developer / Admin
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    Wrong. Everyone who upgrades will use the same generic keys. They're not Windows Insider keys.

    Your PC's hardware basically becomes your unique activation key.
     
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  6. s1ave77

    s1ave77 MDL Guide Dog/Dev

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    What can we learn here: FUD is persistent like dog poo at ones shoe (doggie knows all about the latter).
     
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  7. vuze4u

    vuze4u MDL Member

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    Gotta say that somewhere relevant because i don't feel like starting a new thread wondering this. Thanks Daz corrected my misconception because i didn't stay here enough to know every details.
     
  8. Daz

    Daz MDL Developer / Admin
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    If you want to try out Windows 10 and maybe try to KMS activate it should it expire, then yes. Currently the problem is that Microsoft have said that they'll "expire" aka deactivate people who are not actually Insiders, but they don't say when that will happen. That's typical of Microsoft at this point as they're often either totally lacking information or they're deliberately being too vague.

    Is it possible that Microsoft will have a change of heart and allow everyone who's used an Insider build to remain activated, even if they opt out of being an Insider or they weren't one in the first place? Maybe, but then that's a big loophole that'll be open for a whole year. Instead I'd expect them to block YKHCF and then "expire" everyone who has YKHCF set as their base license but isn't logged into an Insider account. Unfortunately at this point in time we can only go off what they have said that they will do though, which is that they'll "expire" your copy if you're not an Insider and you don't have a valid Windows 7 or 8.1 licence set as your base licence.

    I've tried to use Microsofts wording here as they don't say "deactivate", but if they expire you then they're effectively deactivating you as they're taking your activated version of Windows 10 away from you.
     
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  9. kelorgo

    kelorgo MDL Addicted

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    #11 kelorgo, Aug 1, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
    (OP)
    I totally see what you are saying.

    I think there is one additional way to interpret "expire": Windows builds can literally expire if they are time-bombed builds or editions, regardless of activation status. For example, evaluation editions are always time-bombed. Insider Preview builds 10074, 10130 and 10162 are time-bombed as well, they currently show an end date of 2 Oct 2015. Build 10240 does not currently show an end date.

    The difference is that if the build is time-bombed, then it expires even if it's never connected to the Internet again. For a deactivation of the kind you are referring to, you'd have to at least connect to the Internet.

    Ignoring build 10240 specifically for the moment, interim insider builds so far have been time-bombed, and therefore if you don't keep updating to newer builds, they will eventually expire regardless of activation status anyway. That's a way in which they are forcing insiders to keep updating.

    As you say, what will happen to build 10240 is anyone's guess at the moment. However, for someone who doesn't have a genuine Windows 7/8 licence, being on an activated 10240 build is as legitimate as it gets at the moment. Might as well go for it while it lasts.
     
  10. x-project

    x-project MDL Novice

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    I did a clean install of Windows 10 RTM (WZOR LEAK) on a virtual machine and I managed to activate it with Microsoft Toolkit and it worked! The question is why did it work?
     
  11. reagentc

    reagentc MDL Novice

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    Any idea if Parallels has something like a .vmx file where the BIOS UUID and MAC address can be edited?
     
  12. kelorgo

    kelorgo MDL Addicted

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    Microsoft Toolkit uses KMS activation. That still works in Windows 10. It has nothing to do with the points discussed in this thread.
     
  13. kelorgo

    kelorgo MDL Addicted

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    Sorry, no idea. I'd imagine there is something equivalent though.
     
  14. cdavisdeco

    cdavisdeco MDL Senior Member

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    You mean that Enterprise Edition which is a 90 days trial will expire even if activated?
     
  15. AcuraTML

    AcuraTML Guest

    Yes Sir!

    Sorry about that.

    and when wave 2 updates get dropped you can kiss each and every kms crack activation bye bye :weep:

    M$ will be easy on all Home and Pro Users with Wave 2 Updates and Go Real Hard On Every Windows 10 Enterprise Version
     
  16. murphy78

    murphy78 MDL DISM Enthusiast

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    The wording "the build will eventually expire" seems to suggest that they're talking about time-bombed activation.
    It's possible the interim builds between now and the next major release will also be time-bombed. I'd say it's likely, in fact.
     
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  17. bromanbro

    bromanbro MDL Member

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    Eh doubt it. Unless businesses start pirating Windows, MS might not bother updating KMS. Home users don't have Applocker in their task bar :).
     
  18. AcuraTML

    AcuraTML Guest

    Well your on your own, like each and everyone of you in this forum are.

    Mainstream will never do something like that and get their membership canceled forever over fraud (think about that one for a min or two)


    And their Company Smeared On The Front Page National News doesn't makes sense and it wont happen