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Windows XP Service Pack 1 volume license product key encryption

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article was previously published under Q328356
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) adds new functionality for encrypting Volume License Product Keys in Windows Setup answer files.
More information
To use this feature you must have the following items:
  • Windows XP Professional Volume License Media
  • Windows XP Professional Volume License Product Key
  • Windows XP SP1
To encrypt a Volume License Product Key in a script, follow these steps:
  1. Copy the I386 Directory and all subdirectories from your Windows XP Professional Volume License Media CD-ROM to a directory on your hard disk. For example, copy them to C:\Flat.
  2. Download and extract Xpsp1.exe to a directory on your hard disk.
  3. Run the following command to integrate SP1 into the I386 directory:
    c:\xpsp1\update\update.exe -s:c:\flat
  4. Run the following command to encrypt your Windows Setup answer file:
    c:\flat\winnt32.exe /encrypt:"xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx:y" /unattend:filename
    This command uses the following place holders:
    • xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx is your Volume License Product Key.
    • y is a value ranging from 5 to 60. This is the time in days that you want this script to be valid for.
    • filename is the script that you want to encrypt the Volume License Product Key in.


  • To encrypt the product key in a answer file, you must run Winnt32.exe from a computer that is running Windows XP or later. You cannot encrypt the product key on a computer that is running either Windows 2000 or Windows 98.
  • This procedure works for any valid Windows Setup answer file (for example, Unattend.txt, Winnt.sif, Sysprep.inf, or Ristndrd.sif ).
  • You have to install from a Windows XP Professional source directory into which Windows XP SP1 has been integrated.
  • The /encrypt command automatically adds the "Productkey=" line to your file or updates an existing Productkey or ProductID entry.
  • When the time period specified has ended, the user is prompted to manually enter a product key during Setup.
When you run this command, you do not receive any dialog boxes or error messages. To determine whether the command is successful, see the %WINDIR%\Winnt32.log file. The following is a sample command to encrypt a product key that is not valid for Volume License media:
Main module path: <c:\flat\i386\winnt32u.dll>PID is not valid or not a valid VL key.				
For more information about Volume License Product Keys and the changes to Product Activation in Windows XP SP1, visit the following Microsoft Web sites:
productid encryption secure vlk slipstreamed

Article ID: 328356 - Last Review: 09/05/2012 07:19:00 - Revision: 5.0

Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V, Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems, Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V, Windows Server 2008 Datacenter, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 Standard, Windows Web Server 2008

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