Install Windows without a CD Key

Do you need to install Windows from your CD but lost the CD Key and the Certificate of Authenticity? There are a few methods that you can use to get Windows installed. On this page I will discuss two of the easiest methods for installing Windows 9x and Millennium without a key. If you have Windows 2000,2003, or XP you will find the method on another page.

If you just need to retreive the CD Key form the Registry download our CD Key Reader

The idea here is to get Windows to think it is either an OEM version being installed that does not require the CD Key or make Windows think it is being installed over a network without supervision so that a CD key is not asked for.

To get this accomplished we need to change the setting ProductType in the Setuppp.inf file located inside one of the Precopy?.cab files. Windows Me uses only Precopy1.cab while 9x can use 2 or 3. Since we cannot re-save the file back into the cab file we need to approach this from a different angle.

You may need to try a few different methods to get the one that works for you.

Method One: (easiest)
Start installing Windows from inside of Windows. When you are asked to except the License Agreement do not click on "Next", YET! Now bring up the Start Menu (Ctrl + ESC buttons) and in the Run window type Notepad. Have Notepad open the file WININST0.400\Setuppp.inf. Do a search for the string "ProductType", and change the value from 9 to 1. If the value 1 fails try one of the other values as noted below

ProductType=1: Upgrades without asking for CD KEY (serial number)
ProductType=2: CD Key required
ProductType=5: Asks for CD Key, but won't take valid keys- and you get the option to "ignore" and go on.
ProductType=6: Works OK (?) (?)
ProductType=7: Works on Windows 95 and 95 A
ProductType=9: OEM non upgrade version

Now save the changes and continue the installation.

Method Two:
You will need to copy all the Windows installation files to your hard drive first. Then in the same folder you copied the files to create a new file Msbatch.inf. Add the following:
[Setup]
ProductType=1
(press Enter)
(press Enter)

Save the file and install Windows.

When Windows has completed installing go to the Registry Key in RegEdit HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion and get the value of the Data "ProductKey",  for Windows 95, it will be "ProductID". If you have Windows 98 or ME do not use the value from "ProductID". Save the information, this is your Windows CD Key.

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