Modifying Windows98 SE Retail Install CD to accept Windows 98 OEM key.

Posted on 2006-11-21
Last Modified: 2013-12-29

I was wondering what is involved in modifying a Windows 98SE install disc that is Retail to accept an OEM key instead of the retail key at install.  I am familiar with editing the setupp.ini on a Windows 2000/XP disc to accept OEM/Retail keys but if I understand correctly Windows 98 does things a little differently.  Any help would be appreciated.

Question by:mstep3
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 17991609
there's an illegal way to modify an oem/upg version (it was posted on EE but it is blocked by EE), but it states it doesn't work on the full version.  Why do you want an oem key instead of the retail key?  If you don't remember the retail key it can be recovered from the registry.

Author Comment

ID: 17992497
Say that you have a lot of systems with Windows 98SE COA's on them but you have no Windows 98 OEM installation disc.  I have a Windows 98SE Retail disc which will not let you do a install with an OEM key.  So I would like to know what you need to modify to be able to do an install with this disc using an OEM key instead of Retail Key.  

With Windows 2000/XP it's just a matter of modifying the the setupp.ini file and re-burning the installation disc and you can then use the install disc as an OEM install disc.  I would like to be able to do the same with Windows 98.  

LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 17996400
You might find the info you need by searching google with the key words:
"windows 98 setuppp.inf producttype layout.inf"

MSBatch is also useful for creating an automated setup using an msbatch.inf setup information file.  It's on the Win98 CD under the \tools\reskit folder.

Repacking a *.cab file can be done using CABARC.EXE.  Search google.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 18043949
not sure if this works, but have you tried installing it with the retail key, then manually changing it?

after installing with the retail key, you can navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ & then delete both "ProductKey" & "ProductID" - when you reboot it will ask for the cd key, so try putting in the oem coa.
LVL 38

Accepted Solution

BillDL earned 125 total points
ID: 18044930
There is also the "ProductType" string value to be aware of, and the existing registry value MIGHT conflict with any other values added



The "InstallType" value is added to the registry to indicate what method was chosen during installation (or automatically chosen if setup was performed using a batch *.INF file).
0 = Compact, 1 = Typical, 2 = Portable, 3 = Custom.  Default = 1.
These would appear in an exported *.REG file as the following Hex values respectively: hex:00,00 ; hex:01,00 ; hex:02,00 ; hex:03,00.

"ProductType" values:

Note: the Binary "DigitalProductID" value should just be the same as the "ProductID" value, but given as paired hexadecimals.  This is taken from the CD itself, and is not the CD-Key input by the user.  There is a significance with the numbers that are in certain positions within that string (if it isn't an "OEM" one) in some versions of Windows, and they determine if the CD is a full retail or an upgrade CD.
"ProductKey" is the "CD-Key" entered by the user (or automatically entered from a batch *.INF file during setup), but is stored in the registry without the  hyphens separating each 5 characters, ie.

If using MSBATCH to create a custom *.INF file to be used as the answer file when running setup, you will find this page helpful. It isn't easy to find in the Resource kit help file:

Author Comment

ID: 18046257
Thank you all for the input and information.  This has helped a lot.  After going over your information given here and doing some internet searches on some of the things mentioned I think I have it figured out.  Thanks again.

LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 18051058
You are welcome, and thank you.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 18052080
your welcome.

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