Windows Home Server – The Pirate Copy

Well it didn’t take long. Windows Home Server has only been out for a month and a pirate copy of the final RTM OEM version has been leaked out onto torrent indexing sites The Pirate Bay and Demonoid.com.

The 1.54 GB torrent package even includes scans of the installation DVD, connector, restore and OPK CDs and a front package cover scan alongside the full ISO’s of the Installation DVD, connector, restore and OPK CDs.

Although the download does not include a serial key, down loaders have left comments at both sites providing serial keys to actually install the product with a genuine key, although trying to activate will not be successful because the key has already been blocked by Microsoft. But since Home Server is based on the Windows Server 2003 code base crackers are using a utility called AntiWPA3 v3.4.6 to bypass activation.

So now, those that have the know how, can download the full version of Windows Home Server, install it with a genuine serial number and not worry about it deactivating after 30 days since it doesn’t need activating in the first place. Now I’m sure that those that have downloaded this already have never had no intention of ever buying a proper licensed copy, but my research shows that this bypass activation utility has been around for over 2 years and nothing was done or changed on Home Server to prevent utility’s like this giving others a free ride when we have paid good money for our Home Server.

But then again I’m sure the pirate underground scene is never far behind or indeed in front of the software producers. That’s why company’s like Microsoft hire the hackers.

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  1. Jay Schlackman says:

    Here’s where I think they will fall down: compatibility updates. Microsoft has conceded it has a duty to provide security updates without requiring a WGA check, but Vista’s compatibility updates do require it; I wouldn’t be surprised if some WHS updates don’t go the same way, and already we’ve seen at least one WHS update that is only available on Windows Update, with no seperate download, so no downloading with a legal copy to install on a non-legal one later.

    I’ll be the first to laugh when an update fixing a data corruption issue requires a WGA check.

  2. Frank Melrose says:

    I wouldn’t call that a pirate copy. If it was a VLK version, then I would. I wonder how long it will be before someone realizes they can merge a few parts of a W2K3 Server VLK with WHS and have the best of both worlds?

  3. Hi Jay Schlackman,
    Thanks for your comment. The crackers have even a utility to bypass the WGA check also!

  4. Hi Frank Melrose,
    Thanks for your comment. We had the frankenstein build for Windows Vista so W2K3 Server VLK with WHS is proberly not so far fetched as it sounds.

  5. velvet says:

    I have a genuine copy of WHS that i payed $180 for. I use the anti wpa activation tool so I don’t have to deal with Microsoft everytime I want to re-install. There is nothing more annoying then having microsoft treat you like a criminal when all you want to do is get your OS up and running again. I know you all have many caveats for my reasons. The simple fact is I payed for it and I don’t like being hassled about it by MS.

  6. Hi velvet,
    Thanks for your comment.

  7. John c. says:

    Hi velvet,

    Thanks again. Same can be said to DRM. I paid for my CDs and only to get harassed by MS repeatly.

  8. Rufus Roper says:

    What is an “Anti Activation Tool,” that the above reader referred to. Is it legal to use when activating your “LEGAL” copy of WHS?

    Rufus Roper

  9. Hi Rufus Roper,
    I have done a search and have found out that the tool you refer too bypasses the activation process and so, the product will not time out without being activated.
    Is it legal to use when activating your “LEGAL” copy of WHS? I have no idea, more info is available here http://antiwpa.freehostplace.com/index2.php

  10. juggernaut says:

    Frank Melrose:

    It can be done and it is very easy. You just need inject nine files from the \i386 folder of a W2k3 Standard Edition VLK x86 installation disc into WHS ISO and install using a valid VLK. The filenames are the same as those used in converting any other W2k3 Server version from retail to VLK. The result is somewhat ugly but automatic updates do work, there is no activation and it has full Home Server functionality:


  11. danman says:

    Frank Melrose / ‘juggernaut’:

    I’m intrigued about your ability to inject 9 files to turn your copy into VL. This would work perfectly for developing on as I have Volume Licenses for Windows Server 2003 (thanks to MSDN) and with that would not have to worry about activation issues when I will — inevitably — have to nuke and load the system several times throughout development. What are these nine files? I’ve heard some talk but no specifics on the MSDN forums as well.

  12. forsythem says:

    I recently heard of the AntiWPA thing, so out of curiosity I set up a VMWare virtual WHS server to try it out.
    AntiWPA installed successfully, and I changed the server clock to 1 year ahead, rebooted the server. No activation warnings, however the WHS Console now had a red critical problem, with “0 days remaining for activation” error message that couldn’t be disabled. I reset the clock back to the current date again, but this failed to remove the critical problem error message.
    So this might be an annoyance for those that use it – a constant critical problem message…

  13. John Philips says:

    The following thread may be of interest to you.

  14. El Gringo says:

    Now, i have a pirate copy of windows home server, although it´s not cracked i´m using the 30 day trial just to try it out. The thing is i can´t buy it. There is always a problem buying software here in Iceland. It´s not for sale here, and i can´t order online because no one wants to ship it here. Also if i would find some company to ship it here it would cost me roughly 330$ instead of the 160-180$ because of taxes are so high here in Iceland.

  15. Urosh says:


    I havetried and dl several copies of the whs, but when i install it, on the end i get the error, when it boots and in the windows i have to click next:
    “Windows home server setuo encured an error. Click back to retry. Or, Click Next to close the setup wizard and run setup again…”
    Why do i get this error? I am trying to install on a Intel Little walley with 1,2 GHz and 1 GB ram and 500GB hdd.

    Did someone get the same problem? I have ordered the 120 trial version, but i didn’t get it yet (i will in aprox 20 days), s i want to test the version frm the “wild” (piratebay).

    Can you help me?

    Cheers and happy hollidays!

  16. master says:

    I found the way how to remove red healthy indicator on client computers with antiwpa and OEM vers. Just use regedit on WHS, delete keys under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents and set apropriate permissions on WPAEvents, so system cannot recreate the keys. After reboot you will see still evalueate version, but Activation msg is gone.

  17. Anthony says:

    I would like to trial this in a VMWARE 6 Workstation image.
    Having tried to install it I get a failure – along the lines of my Virtual DISK not being compatible, I tried SCSI and IDE interfaces but neither work, any pointers here?


  18. Wendy says:

    All you need to do is adjust your virtual machine memory for IDE of 80GB in size. Your done… easy wasn’t that?

  19. juggernaut says:

    @ danman:


    (the files were extracted from an ISO image created from a SP1 CD after slipstreaming it with SP2)

  20. Urosh says:


    I have finally got the software and it is working now great.

    But I have one qouestion. On almost all links i see that the users when they log on, they have a tab called “computers”, but I dont. Where should i turn this on? or is this a add-in?


  21. benjamato says:


    I used your suggested method to build my home server install dvd (OEM version was downloaded) with files extracted from a VLK of standard edition. Initial home server setup (whsoobe.exe /server) would not complete and it always retried on each bootup but killing it in the startup tab of msconfig fixed that. I assigned the password by ctrl-alt-del (default is left blank), and finished the rest of the settings in the WHS console screen normally. Connector software on each client fails to detect the server but if you click cancel and then kill the connector program in task manager instead of clicking finish (clicking finish starts the program uninstall procedure) it actually does work the next time it launches on the client. Everything else after completing this works normally, there is no activation and updates do install with no issue. I do have badging for server 2003 standard edition at logon and computer properties but the settings screen of the WHS console does show windows home server. I am hopeful that when they release the super patch 1 that it updates with no issues or at least is available for manual download and installation. Maybe you have some insigt as to how that will actually go?

    I tried the listed files extracted from RTM version slipstreamed to SP1 and then SP2 with different copies of NRMVOL_EN and all ended with the same result of having to complete the WHS setup manually and kill the connector software during installation. If there was something I missed it might help others but for now mine is working with 9 250GB drives for a total volume of 2.05TB on a system with an AMD XP 2000+ and 512MB ram. I was previously a FREENAS user but like WHS much better. The backups are great and the storage pool with folder duplication is much faster and simpler than dealing with software RAID.

  22. Art says:

    I purchased the 120-day trial version of WHS and I love it. I’m in my 2nd month of testing and I’m receiving a message that I must activate my copy immediately. What happened to the 120 days? I’m sure this is a well-known issue but I can’t seem to find the info I need to get it fixed. Thanks in advance!!

  23. Farseer says:


    If you’re talking about the web-based remote access client, than you will not be able to access the “computers” section while using firefox. You need to either use IE or use the IE tab extension of firefox to render the WHS remote access page in IE. Hope this helps!

  24. Ukciu says:

    I also have (whsoobe.exe /server) problem. I thouht that whssysprep.exe procedure (from OEM Preinstallation Kit) might solve it, but it did not.

    After syspreping either whsoobe nor WHSconsole worked properly.

  25. Multisync69 says:


    I noticed that my OEM version has the following key’s vs. a standard win2k3 install:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand]

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21BE-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}]
    @=”whsbrand.dll, -1004”

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21BF-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}]
    @=”whsbrand.dll, -1001”

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21C0-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}]
    @=”whsbrand.dll, -1003”

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21C1-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}]
    @=”whsbrand.dll, -1002”

    If you insert these via branding.reg file it will probably do the trick.

  26. Jimmy says:

    I replaced the files on WHS disc with the ones from Server 2003. Everything is working perfectly now except that Windows Update thinks it’s a 2003 Server and won’t install the Windows Home Server updates.

  27. Teflon says:

    Is it possible to update to 6.0.1500.8 with “9 files from 2K3” replaced?

    Is the update available for manual download?

  28. Luca says:

    I replaced the files on WHS disc with the ones from Server 2003, but i don’t find a valid key.
    the keys generated from key generator and the keys fuond in internet are invalid.
    When whs request the key i put the key, but a error message appears: “the key inserted is invalid”

  29. Luca says:

    Where i find the keys?


  30. Teflon says:

    Spaceman, this is realy nice, thank you.

  31. Jabo says:

    So, if I use WHS with 9 files from Server 2003 there are no updates for Windows Home Server via Windows Update?

  32. Teflon says:

    While using WHS with 9 files of 2K3, there were only Win2k3 updates available from Windows Update and Microsoft Update.

    Using “WHS Update” button from the console resulted with “No updates available” message.

    I confirm what Jimmy wrote, “Windows Update thinks it’s a 2003 Server and won’t install the Windows Home Server updates”

  33. Jimmy says:

    And KB941914 is the only update yet for “Windows Home Server”. The rest is 2003 Server updates.

  34. WHSnoob says:

    I merged the 9 files mentioned above into a WHS RC1 ISO and did the install. It popped up a couple of minor errors, but nothing major. I provided a W2K3 VLK and it took. I have no branding issues as others are seeing. Everything says Windows Home Server (except at boot time it says Windows Server 2003 because this is RC1). Maybe the branding issue is applicable only to OEM ISOs. In the Console — Settings — Resources section it does not say Evaluation Copy as it does with straight RC1. Just wanted to share my resutls with all.


  35. WHSnoob says:

    sorry, was a bit hasty. i have to correct the above. it does say Windows Server 2003 under system settings and the logon screen. guess i’ll have to update manually also 🙁

  36. Teflon says:

    I am not sure what exactly is the “branding issue”. I used OEM ISO, incjected 9 files and installed with 2K3 key.

    I thought that that Multisync69’s trick with registry will help dowloading WHS updates but it did not. Maybe just logon window changed… to WHS… but I am not sure.

  37. WHSnoob says:

    WHS Product Planner says there are two udpates for WHS to date (video link below). I see one mentioned in this thread above. Where can I download all available updates to install manually?


  38. jimbo says:


    Can any one tell me how to convert a 120 eval copy of WHS to a full copy please? What happens after 120 days, does WHS stop me from accessing the console and data?


  39. naomi says:

    Using the injected files will also mean that all software build for WHS will re recgonize it as WHS but as WS2K3 and refused to install. This includes diskeeper, perfectdisk, avast and lots of others software…

  40. Teflon says:

    Hmmm… May be there is a way to swap back injected files with original ones, after the activation..?

  41. Rocketman says:

    Why not buy a LEGIT copy?? Then you don’t have problems. Cheapskates!

  42. Skyhigh says:

    Why buy software with a big nasty bug in it?

  43. Bubba says:

    Skyhigh’s right – will buy once there’s Home Server SP1, but never the x.0 release of any operating system. Consider early adoption as nothing more than extended beta. Can you imagine anyone paying for a data-corrupting file server???

  44. jp says:

    Skyhigh’s NOT right. Buy the darn thing and rightfully complain to Microsoft, or don’t buy it and don’t use it. I don’t see anybody twisting arms around here to make you use it and “enjoy it, or else!!”.

    Don’t want a Microsoft OS? There are tons of Linux OS’s out there. Install openSUSE, or Ubuntu, or Kubuntu, or Fedora, etc. They are all free. OR PAY FOR YOUR MICROSOFT OS.

    Flame me all you want, rationalize my comments all you want. The bottom line is: You are cheap and hypocritical. Here you are saying the OS is worthless because it corrupts data, yet you can’t wait to put your hands on a pirate copy.

  45. SuperT says:

    I just want to know what happens? I ordered the WHS 120 day trial. Was not able to install from DVD on boot. But was able to install from DVD after boot. I can’t get the connector CD software to work but it’s OK. Old Dell poweredge 2400 1 gig ram, several 73 gb drives. Question is can I buy it once it expires or do I buy it and have to reinstall it?

  46. Merdzd says:

    if you use Files from VLK 2003 server
    1st you will get error on first logon setup.
    2nd tne WHS connector software not working.
    which is critical for WHS imho

  47. SuperT says:

    Yes but will Windows allow me to purchase option?

  48. Lude says:

    Commin guys… Home server for its OEM cost isnt expencive. Its actually pretty damn cheap. Its like cheap insurance for ur home network.

    Crack all you want; but I agree with some of the others. Buy it if you like it.

    I got the 120 day free trial just to make sure its going to install and work on a compaq DL380 G2 server… anyone else try installing it on a like system?

    Buy the damn thing if you like it.

  49. jason says:

    I have been able to use WHS with the zero day activation notice appearing but not shutting me down after suing this crack, but I have not been able to get port forwarding to work and therefore cannot access my whs remotley. I was abel to do this with nor problems when using the 2120 day evalution version. Is anyone else having this problem?

  50. char27 says:

    Its actually the first packaged MS OS I ever bought. I have had access to VLK stuff since 1995 and after being on the beta for WHS, I was hooked on the backup features. Been running it for maybe 8 weeks now and already had to restore some files – was worth the $$ I payed at that point.

    I am need of x64 vista support to complete my backups however.

  51. Nick Kirby says:

    While I can understand Microsoft’s need to protect their software, such things as WGA place an unneeded burden on us already. For example, I ran across this check when swapping WHS servers around to a different PC after a period of testing. Is it possible to obtain another licence key for a few pounds or something? I really want to support the product but it’s made infuriating by all the “protection” which evidently isn’t working.

  52. Sub Server Ant says:

    First, I own a licensed WHS that I bought from New Egg, however, it remains sealed and unopened sitting in my desk drawer.

    Second, I initially ordered and paid for the the eval edition, after waiting several weeks receiving nothing, I ordered and paid for a 2nd eval edition. Both arrived arrived within a day of each other, of course.

    I used the trial edition for about two weeks before I realised that I was wasting my time as I would eventually have to reload everything.

    It seemed the best alternative to trying out this product was to go pirate!

    The pirate edition was clean and it works fine if you follow the above post by the “Master” on 12/29/07:

    “I found the way how to remove red healthy indicator on client computers with antiwpa and OEM vers. Just use regedit on WHS, delete keys under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents and set apropriate permissions on WPAEvents, so system cannot recreate the keys. After reboot you will see still evalueate version, but Activation msg is gone.”

    Why do I use the pirate edition when I own a licensed copy?? Because everything is so unsettled right now, both on my part and Microsoft. I keep changing out motherboards(as I rotate out and uprgade my home hardware), which is no problem with the pirate copy(no activation). If I activate my OEM product, I feel I will be stuck without any fexability since this is not a retail product, and no retail product is available. With the data corruption issue, and the news of this product moving to the 2007 platform, I feel like I am using a Beta software product.

    Is anyone in the same boat as me??

  53. Chris says:

    Anyone know how to add a 64-bit Vista machine to the WHS network?

  54. David Burela says:

    You can’t put the WHS client on x64 machines yet. It will come out in PowerPack1 when they release it around the end of June

  55. Spaceman says:

    I’ve installed PowerPack 1 on my WHS cracked with the 2003 server files. Works perfectly!

  56. Teflon says:

    Space, how can I get PP1?

  57. Spaceman says:

    Here you go, Teflon and others.

  58. mosh_monkey says:

    I’ve got a *cough* illgegal *cough* edition of Vista Ultimate with SP1 so it’s highly likley that they will be able to activate this one.


  59. Spaceman says:

    @mosh_monkey, what are you talking about?! you make no sense

  60. Teflon says:

    Space, thank you. Unfortunatelly I got “This update can only be installed once server setup has completed.” error.

    I have 2k3 injected version, with OOBE setup canceled.

    Do you have any cure for this?

  61. Spaceman says:

    Teflon, If the value of the OOBE key is 1 at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Home Server\install , try changing it to 0.

  62. Teflon says:

    Worked. Thank you very much.

  63. Tenoq says:

    “# Spaceman Says:
    July 14, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Teflon, If the value of the OOBE key is 1 at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Home Server\install , try changing it to 0.”

    That works great. I also cancelled OOBE on my OEM copy because it was broken and wouldn’t complete. Thanks for the fix.

  64. TomS says:

    Where can I purchase a copy of WHS. I contacted Microsoft and was told can only buy from HP with hardware purchase. Seems from the posts there is a way to get this.


  65. Bill Gates says:

    newegg.com should be your best bet!

  66. Slagish says:

    Hey guys, any ideas on how I can install the client 64x version for the windows home server? I already updated it to the pp1 and I still cant figure out how to get my windows 64x working with the whs. Anyhelp is greatly appreciated.

  67. Ben says:

    I think that updates should contain an encrypted list of blacklisted keys. If a blacklisted key is found, it should disable the windows login component or something.

  68. Chris says:

    Hi lads,
    who wants to pay money for a MS “home server” as there are few great alternatives from the open source world. I use freeNAS, nice, simple, STABLE ROCK SOLID BSD and wouldn’t take WHS even given to me for free. I think you making too much noice for a stripped version of server 2003 with a bit of a make-up. over 80% using it for file storage, why bother to buy a homeserver for 700 quid, a NAS will do the same job for just over 100/I mean a proper one/?

  69. KennyKen says:

    Has Anybody actually activation windows home server using these method…I have tried and failed…Microsoft knows that the evaluation copy will be pirated But dont think for a sec that they havent already come up with a scheme to stop it…I will purchase one licence for WHS and encourage other users to do the same…If anyone has activated WHS problem free please let us know…My guess is NONE.END

  70. Richard Duranleau says:

    I have tried the pirate copy for more than a month and no problems with it. Impressed i decided to buy a legal copy, i suggest every one to give it a real try, for backing up 10 home PC, to share multimedia folders, now with Firefly iTunes server patch ,i want to stream HD to my Apple iTV and podcast. PefectDisk and Avast antivirus make it too a perfect system, for me. If you have many many evenings to spend on it, for techs it is a chalenge too !

  71. Sqweezr says:

    Thanks guys!! i had a problem with PP1 and i changed the registry value for OOBE. Worked like a charme!!! Thanks again!!

  72. craftykutz says:

    Say I downloaded a pirate version and then decided to go legit to avoid any screw ups in the future–is there a way to go about this where I won’t lose all of my files and don’t have to do a reinstall?

  73. Teflon says:

    Spaceman, sorry for using you again. Do you know where one can find KB957824?

  74. Spaceman says:

    Here is an WHS update from September, KB950193


    And here is KB957824 (The real name is KB957825, don’t know where the name KB957824 comes from, maybe you can tell me)


  75. Teflon says:

    Thank you.

    I do not really remember how I have heard about the KB957824. Probably I have found it on some discussion board or just misstyped one character. Any way, you were right, I meant KB957825.

  76. Damon says:

    Well I personally like these torrents. I ordered my 120 day eval and then downloaded the torrent. Why you ask? Simple I like to test software before I purchase. Especially MS products.
    It’s a lot of money to invest when you are not sure it will server your needs.

    That being said, I did not use the hack and am daily reminded that I have <30 days left. Once I get my MS ordered copy I will be reformating and re-installing. From there I will be PAYING for my copy.

    torrent files used correct generate income for companies. Lotus “leaked” versions of Lotus 1-2-3 way back when… I remember those days. What happens is people use these products then push their companies to use these products since the user is familiar with it. In the long run, companies actually make money.

    IMHO MS would make more money if their OS’s were more affordable. What they did with Vista is awful!

    OS’s should be OpenSource OR affordable. Asking hundreds of dollars is bad… but of course what do I know I am not Bill Gates… just a simple user forced to do what I can to stay with the times. Anyway I babble.

    Can’t wait for my legal copy 😀

  77. KerrAvon says:

    I’ve managed to build a WHS DVD that uses 2k3 Standard VLK keys but does not encounter the setup errors and the connector problem. It is fully operational, activated, branded, and non-expiring.

    What you will need:
    – Windows Home Server Evaluation Edition from Microsoft website
    – A copy of a Windows 2003 Standard VLK CDROM or ISO
    – WinISO or another tool to edit ISO images
    – BartPE – for one intermediate step (still working on making the process seamless)

    1. Download WHS Eval from Microsoft
    2. Mount your 2k3 Standard VLK ISO/CDROM and extract the ‘9 files’
    3. Mount your WHS Eval ISO in WinISO
    4. Insert the 9 VLK files into the WHS image – replacing their counterparts in the ISO
    5. Save WHS ISO and burn to DVD
    6. Begin install on target hardware
    7. When prompted for product key – enter the 2k3 Standard VLK key. Do not leave the key blank, setup will fail
    8. Answer remaining questions as appropriate
    9. Setup will copy the install files to your hard disk and reboot
    10. SBS 2003 Setup will start and begin the text-mode setup and reboot when finished
    11. Home Server GUI Setup will complete the configuration of SBS 2003 and reboot when finished
    12. DO NOT LET THE OS BOOT; Replace WHS DVD with BartPE and boot
    13. Use BartPE to run REGEDIT; Mount the C:\windows\system32\config\system hive (make a copy first)
    14. Browse registry to {mountedhivename}\SYSTEM\Setup\SystemPrefix – Change the last 4 Hex values to ’00 c0 49 44’. Do not change the first 4 Hex values or you will brick your install
    15. Add the following values:
    [{mountedhivename}\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand]

    [{mountedhivename}\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21BE-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}]
    @=”whsbrand.dll, -1004”

    [{mountedhivename}\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21BF-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}]
    @=”whsbrand.dll, -1001”

    [{mountedhivename}\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21C0-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}]
    @=”whsbrand.dll, -1003”

    [{mountedhivename}\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21C1-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}]
    @=”whsbrand.dll, -1002”
    16. Change this value:

    Text Reads as:
    Small Business
    Small Business(Restricted)
    WH Server
    Terminal Server

    17. Unload hive
    18. Reboot – replace WHS DVD in drive and leave in drive for remainder of setup
    19. Allow Setup to finish – No WHS Setup errors should occur; Branding will be in place
    20. System will be activated automatically
    21. Complete OOBE wizard normally
    22. System is no longer Eval because of VLK files – it will not expire

    Some Details Explained:

    The WHS Branding and Prefix changes are triggered by the Product Key. Since we are using a VLK key, the system prefix is set to 2003 Standard Server. The WHS Setup program (QS) does not recognize this later in the setup process and causes a number of errors and the OOBE to error out. This also leads to compatibility problems with Windows Update and the WHS Connector.

    By patching the registry at Step 12 – after the OS has been installed with the VLK key but before WHS Setup gets a look at the OS – we are able to set the WHS prefix which is what setup is expecting.

    The result is a VLK Activated version of WHS. I’m still working on a way to add the registry changes to the install DVD to make it completely transparent – but this will allow for complete and correct installs.

    Running this now on my WHS – Works perfectly. Enjoy.

  78. Teflon says:

    KerrAvon, your work looks very interesting.

    I would like to ask you, how such an install works with Windows Update, does it download WHS specific updates? Does the system think it is WHS or W2K3?

  79. KerrAvon says:

    That appears to be the only snag – WU looks to pull down 2k3 updates. Does anyone know how Windows Update makes the determination on what OS is installed? The My Computer/Properties page shows the OS as ‘Windows Home Server’.

    Probably some other keys I need to look at. I will take a look later today at my clean WHS install to see if I can find any other differences. Thanks.

  80. KerrAvon says:

    UPDATE: My VLK build pulls down both 2K3 and WHS updates from Windows Update. (Example: KB950193)

    When compared to a vanilla WHS install – there are a number of additional security updates that the VLK build can get. I am suprised that MS does not allow these patches on WHS – they can’t all interfere – they are core OS patches.

    Also – MGADiag certifies the OS as genuine.

  81. Teflon says:

    How one should do “Mount the C:\windows\system32\config\system hive (make a copy first)”?

    I understand regedit, I understand Bart, I do not understand “hive mounting”.

  82. KerrAvon says:

    Run Regedit – Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, CLick on File, Load Hive. Select the SYSTEM Hive – Browse to C:\Windows\System32\Config\ and select SYSTEM (make a copy first). Click Open. When prompted, enter a temporary name for the hive – I use ‘WHS’. Then you will see the hive loaded at the bottom of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

    Hope that helps.

  83. Teflon says:

    Thank you. It is clear. I just use different language version of WIN, hence my problems.

  84. MJ says:

    Thank you KerrAvon! This works great–injected the “9 files” from a 2k3 VLK Enterprise edition. Tested on VMWare machine. In case anyone else is confused by the coded registry terms –> dword: is the AND “@=” is the “(Default) value of the key.” Other than that it was a straight toward operation. Even with the OEM version of WHS, you get both 2K3 and WHS updates–at least I did. So I think that this method is fairly transparent to Widows update.

  85. MJ says:

    resend : dword: is a DWORD value integer AND “@=” is the “(Default) value of the key.” So for each added {key} you have two “values.” (1) a new DWORD value called DontPaintText and given the value as described. (2) the modified “Default” regular string value assigned the text about whsbrand. I add all this because it took me some time to figure this out. Seems obvious now 🙂

  86. KerrAvon says:

    Sorry MJ – Probably should have explained it better. Still hoping to roll this up into a slipstreamed install.

  87. DS says:

    Are ‘9 files’ from Server 2k3 R2 VLK ok? Or has to be non-R2 version?

  88. KerrAvon says:

    DS – Haven’t tried the R2 files – but they should work as the R2 bits are loaded after the OS is installed. Give it a try and let us know.

  89. MJ says:

    KerrAvon: No worries Mate. A little struggle makes one wiser, though I really have no clue as why this works. Just cook booking your write-up as best I can.

    DS: To clarify what I used for this fully functional install (now pp1 upgraded). It was a VLK version of W2K3 R2 SP2 Enterprise edition. I didn’t even attempt to put things on from R2’s second CD since all the SW on CD2 seems very Windows 2003 orientated.

    To All: Is there any reason why we are being cryptic about what the “9 files” are? The actual names of the files are a pretty crucial piece of this whole puzzle. I had to Google around for a while to find out what they even were. Will listing them incur the wrath of “the Man”?

  90. MJ says:

    How about if I post the website that talks about what the ‘9-files’ are?

  91. MJ says:

    I forgot that one version of the ‘nine files’ was listed in an earlier posting. I guess what’s confusing is that while I was searching for information on the actual files, I came across a ‘legitimate site’ that suggested a slightly different set of ‘nine files’. Essentially, the difference is that rather than “SETUPREG.HIV” they say “WINLOGON.EX_” Maybe it makes no difference. Or maybe you really only need ‘five files” and nine is overkill. Anyway here is the successful set I used:
    WINLOGON.EX_ << different to what was posted B4.

    This is based on an NFO file posted in this forum:

    Good Luck!

  92. KerrAvon says:

    I just shortened it to the ‘9 files’ since they were already mentioned a couple of times in this article. 🙂

  93. DS says:

    KerrAvon and MJ: do you have watermark – Evaluation copy.Build 3790 (Service Pack 2) – on the desktop too? Is there a way to get rid of it?

  94. MJ says:

    DS – No watermark for me. I wouldn’t guess as to why yours does. I have seen watermark removal methods being discussed in reference to the new beta build of Windows 7. Maybe applicable to your situation. Worth a shot or perhaps find a another version of w2k3.

  95. MJ says:

    DS – I was using an earlier OEM version WHS that I then had to update to Power Pack 2. I think the new WHS evaluation has PP2 built in and could be watermarked as well?

  96. MJ says:

    I meant Power Pack 01 not 02. Just installed this on a real computer and wanted to share a couple of minor differences from KerrAvon’s excellent explanation. These may be specific to the W2K3 Enterprise 9 files that I used. Or I may have done something wrong. My WHS works great though!

    Slight difference in file location:
    Step 14
    and Step 16
    – no SYSTEM in my keys and CurrentControlSet was ControlSet0001

    dword:00000001 is in hexadecimal

    Also in step 16: I think it’s easier to see what needs to be changed when you look at it this way:
    “|” is the indication for start of new entries
    “||” is the indication for end of new entries

    basically your inserting:
    at the place shown above.

    Maybe this is helpful.

  97. KerrAvon says:

    MJ – I used the Eval version that is downloadable from Microsoft. It already has the PowePack files integrated. I would be cautious using any of the OEM builds floating out there with my procedure.

    If you have the Eval watermark then something did not get applied properly. Check the original 9 files mentioned earlier in this article.

  98. MJ says:

    KerAvon –
    DS is looking to ditch the watermark. I never had a watermark.
    I did use the OEM version with the 9 files I described earlier and followed your process.
    In addition, I slip streamed
    (.NET) 3.5 SP1 (KB951847)
    Windows Search 4.0 (KB940157-Srv2K3-x86-enu)
    Windows Installer 4.5 (W2k3-KB942288-v4-x86)
    the latest WindowsUpdateAgent30
    upgraded OEM to PP 1
    And it works great!
    Thanks again for sharing your procedure.

  99. Mitch says:

    I saw this question asked earlier, but never answered, so here it goes.

    I have the 120 Day trial/eval. and i have a product key for server 2003, can i use that to convert this to a full version, and if so how?

  100. chavy85 says:

    MJ or KerAvon,
    If you get a dvd iso of this install you are doing i’dd be interested in trying it.
    right now i went back to my Linux home server, as i can’t get the files your are talking about.

  101. IceCoolDesi says:

    You might be able to use nLite (http://www.nliteos.com/) to the auto insert of registry keys during the installation process.

  102. KerrAvon says:

    Mitch – there is no way to change an eval to a full version with complete success after installation. I would not waste any time trying. Best to reinstall with the patch as I described above.

    IceCoolDesi – Thought about that – the key is ‘when’ to edit the registry – and it may be that these settings are even protected during setup by the same mechanism that protects the keys after Windows is installed.

    I will eventually come back to this as soon as I have some free time.

  103. pks6995 says:

    I just tried this procedure using 2003 standard vlk source and the eval I just downloaded from MS. I followed the (very detailed – thanks) instructions above, I only had one minor snag in step 16, my values were text and not hex, so I just entered WH Server in between Small Business (Restricted) and Terminal Server.
    It seems to run great, I had no snags during setup, and the system identifies as Windows Home Server (SP2). It pases WGADiag, the only issue I have is as DS noted above, there is a watermark onthe desktop identifying the system as eval copy build 3790 (sp2). I have not yet tried rebuilding the disk in order to try again.
    Any thoughts? Thanks!

  104. pks6995 says:

    I checked in my registry, the registry keys that I created now appear under HKLM\SYSTEM (as in HKLM\system\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand ), which I suspect is not correct.
    I’m guessing that I am not following the instructions above properly when adding the key.
    However the instructions seem to indicate that you are adding the values underneath the mounted SYSTEM hive. Can someone please verify this? ([{mountedhivename – which is the loaded SYSTEM hive from HKLM, I used the same name as the example WHS)}\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand )
    Should I be mounting the software hive under HKLM instead and adding these entries so that they appear under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand ?
    Sorry for the noob question, but can’t figure where I am going wrong in loading and unloading the system hive.

  105. KerrAvon says:

    PKS6995 – If you have the watermark then your system will still expire. This almost always means that something is wrong with the VLK files you used:


    The setupp.ini contain a PID that determines the edition to install. Don’t remember what the Eval PID is but the VLK ends in 270.

  106. KerrAvon says:

    PKS6995 – when you are loading the registry hive under BartPE, the mount-point you create, say WHS, is a temporary container for the registry hive you are loading. Once Windows Server is running that hive is mounted as HKLM\……. – When editing under BartPe, the existing HKLM hive is the registry of BartPE – you don’t want to edit that.

  107. MJ says:

    Ahhh… KerrAvon, I think you may have pegged where people with the watermark could be messing up. I’m not using a stock BartPE disk. My BartPE CD has a bunch of tools on it including “Total Commander (TC).” So I used TC to browse to the WHS installed Hard drive’s C:\windows\ folder and launched regedit from there. I was definitely working on the installed WHS OS and not anything else for my successful install. The only other difference is that my build was based on a pre-PP1 OEM WHS OS. I plan to try this method on a fresh trail download later this year after Power Pack 2 comes out. Until then the update to PP1 suits me fine.

  108. MJ says:

    Also … I haven’t shared this tidbit of information because it’s not truly important and I didn’t want to possibly confuse things. But … just for completeness sake … I only changed the first 8 of the mythical “9 files.” How do I know? When I used a file comparing program (called CDCheck – very nice!) to see what changed between the I386 folders of WHS-untouched and WHS-modified, only the first eight in your list above were different i.e. changed. As I posted before, my “9 files” differ from the originally stated ones, meaning I never touched the “SETUPREG.HIV.” The one on my list that I did ‘change’ namely: WINLOGON.EX_ was identical to the original, meaning it wasn’t really changed, just swapped. So I guess my very trivial contribution to this “Pirate Copy” exercise is the discovery that it’s really only “8-files!”

  109. pks6995 says:

    Thanks KerrAvon and MJ for both replying as I utilized both of your previous posts in my build experience. I have an OEM copy of WHS, but I actually used a freshly downloaded trial copy from MS as of last week. I used MJ’s list of the 9 files so my 9th was Winlogon and not setupreg.hiv. I’ll definietely go through it again with that change.
    I didn’t use a BartPE disk, rather I used a copy of UBCD for Windows and used the registry tool from that to load the hive from the local system. I clicked to highlight HKLM and then went to the file menu and loaded the system hive by browsing to the local drive (system32\config). I called it WHS and yes, it appeared underneath the ‘other’ HKLM. I understand that. However, when I added the registry keys as per the instructions they end up underneath HKLM\SYSTEM\Software and not underneath HKLM\Software as originally posted by Multisync. From step 15 where you mention where to add the keys: ‘{mountedhivename}\SOFTWARE|Microsoft……” , I called my mounted hive WHS, BGUT we loaded the system hive, not thye software hive. I was able to successfully change the values in step 14, and I was able to at least add the text entry for WH Server (since mine didn’t appear in hex at all) in step 16 ok.
    That being said, I changed the date in the system bios ahead a year and rebooted without any ill effects and was also able to do a successful check for updates and run the WGA tool. My guess is I put the registry additions into the wrong subkey under HKLM, but no matter how nmany times I look at the instructions I can’t figure out what I did wrong (and I’m a computer tech to boot!…LOL). Should we be mounting 2 hives, not 1?
    Thanks to both of you for sharing your time and efforts!

  110. Parallax says:

    just my two cent contribution

    I follow the instructions but there were some things that are missing from The Instructions.
    a) be sure to slipstream Win2k3 service pack 2 to your original VLK 2k3 Standard or Enterprise install (I used Nlite for this). Failure todo so will result with the message “Cannot validate key because setupfiles are corrupted when you input your VLK key during install”.
    b) Use the evaluation version from Microsoft’s site. I tried several OEM dvds with no luck, I did Notice that the 9 files in these Dvds were already changed (older date).

    The most Important one:
    When you run BartPE (in my case I used ERD 2005) and regedit. Be sure to load the System hive (as per KerrAvon instructions) give it a name (WHS) and you will see it under HKey_local_machine however this is only THE SYSTEM Hive.
    you have to also load the software hive, give it another name (WHS2) and then you can create the rest of the keys under Windows NT\Winlogon.
    Also My System Hive looked like MJ’s :


    – no SYSTEM and CurrentControlSet was ControlSet0001
    Also I input the ProductOptions in text instead of Hex:
    Small Business
    Small Business(Restricted)
    WH Server
    Terminal Server
    I did a check afterwards and verify that the hex values matched as above and they did.
    I installed the server twice using these settings (First on VMware and then on the real PC).

    I really recommend you guys to try install first on VMWare so no harm done if you screw up the first time, I wish I could have done before Burning some many coasters 🙂

  111. Parallax says:

    I forgot to say, My server is running fine 100% activated, All updates applied from System Update, No watermark here 🙂

  112. IceCoolDesi says:

    KerrAvon (or anyone else),
    What does change in step 14 do? Is there another way to accomplish this change?

  113. Teflon says:

    Hi, I would like to follow on IceCoolDesi question. What does step 14 do? Is this the way to tell Windows Updater that the system is WHS instead of W2K3? If so, is it possible to do step 14. on already installed and running WHS injected with W2K3 files?

  114. KerrAvon says:

    Step 14 is the ‘secret sauce’ to the whole install. It is what changes the Product ID (not to be confused with key) from Windows 2003 Server Standard Edition VLK (or whatever edition you used to get the VLK files) to Windows Home Server. This step can only be done from BartPE or another parallel install of Windows, since the registry key is protected by a secret thread in Windows when it is running. Changing the key at this step, after Windows Setup finishes and before WHS Setup gets started. This is the best place to change this – as you will encounter setup errors and issues with the Connector if you let setup finish with the other PID present. You will also most likely not get WHS updates from Microsoft with this key set incorrectly.

    Hope that helps.

  115. IceCoolDesi says:

    Thanks for the info on Step 14. I was able to bypass/skip steps 12 to 18 (all the manual stuff about editing registry).

    When I suggested you try nLite, you asked “when”. That got me thinking, so I tried nLite, but that did not work, the files just got messed up.

    But I re-read your steps many times and began to wonder where I could auto insert registry entries before they were needed. After much research and trials I was able to bypass/skip steps using this tutorial: http://gosh.msfn.org/infresh.htm

    I suggest you guys try out Microsoft Virtual PC for testing your installs. It was a disk and time saver.

    I have manged to automate few more things, but I will leave that for the next post. This should get you guys started and save you guys lots of work.

  116. KerrAvon says:

    Thanks for the info – I will take a look at the tutorial.

  117. Spaceman says:



  118. Teflon says:

    Very nice surprise, thank you.

  119. Teflon says:

    Did anybody try to perform steps 14. and 16. on an already installed system?

    For example booting with Bart to avoid registry keys protection.

  120. Marc says:

    Hi all.

    I am trying the above method with Server 2003 VLK.

    I have gotten as far as regedit with BartPE. I have added the text to the ‘product options’ key, however, I am confused as to what to do in terms of the Dword values.

    Do I add a DWORD value called ‘DontPaintText’ and set the value to 1?

    Sorry for the query but I am quite confused about it. Can someone make a bit clearer? Thanks in advance!

  121. KerrAvon says:

    My example uses the Regedit format for displaying registry values. Set DontPaintText as a DWORD value of 1 and the @ values are the (Default) values for the key.

  122. Mike says:

    One Question. You all say use BartPE to edit registry, but when i downloaded the bartPE loader it asked me to load existing files to make a bootable image. So should i use the windows server 2003 files to make the image or the ones from WHS? Thanks…

  123. IceCoolDesi says:

    For those that are doing many many installations for testing or whatever….

    Use QS.INI to aumate some of the user input steps at the begining, but read this post…including the warning: http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/whssoftware/thread/f88ed608-4ecc-4b64-b0a2-005655805502/

  124. Mike says:

    Can i use some other program to edit the registry? I tried bartpe loader and made it with server 2003. I booted the disk on my existing Whs trial, and tried to mount the sistem hive, but i got an error saying something about wrong reg keys i think. To be sure: i should use the import option in regedit or? Because the load hive option is grey so i cant use it! Sorry for the noobish questions. 🙂

  125. IceCoolDesi says:

    You all can stop messing with the registry entries and BartPE or any other registry loading, editing etc.

    Just use tutorial at http://gosh.msfn.org/infresh.htm to inject registry entries at the end of text setup, so you don’t have do edit the registry manually at all. With this method, you can also skip step 14.

    A use the QS.INI to automate the installation process as well.

  126. Mirage4100 says:


    Any chance of a detailed tutorial like KerrAvon’s set by step post?

    I am new to registry editing and i don’t really understand what do do with the website you linked.

  127. IceCoolDesi says:

    I have been trying to write up a tutorial, but it is taking longer than I thought. I will do what I can, but in meantime you may wan to follow the steps in links I posted.

  128. Sub Server Ant says:

    I just wanted to post my actual experience on how easy it is to be legal and free with Microsoft. I have a wife and two boys. About 3 to 4 years ago, I purchased windows XP Home, one for me at first, kind of expensive at $100.00, priced dropped to $89.00, bought one for the wife, price dropped to $49.00, bought two for the boys. Now, Vista Home Premium can be picked up at Ebay for $54.00. I put my first copy of XP up for sale on Ebay for $59.00 and it was gone in hours. My second copy was put up for $79.00 and was gone in a day. I am in transition and will sell the remaining. But, Folks, you can be legal and profit! Home Server at $99.00 on New Egg is a Steal. Support Microsoft, and prosper like I did!

  129. Wy says:

    Anyone tried AntiWPA with PP2 yet?

  130. Susan says:

    A manual install of Power Pack 2 through RDS works just find on a Win2k3 VLK injected version of Home Server. Only thing that doesn’t work is clients can’t connect to the Home Server for backup, but that was the case for my Power Pack 1 install.

  131. KerrAvon says:

    Installed PP2 on my VLK WHS – no problems at all. Connector was seamlessly upgraded on all clients – backups working fine.

  132. Swifty says:


    Is it possible for you to post the reg file you used to inject the changes? I can get them all to work except for step 14, where we only need to change the last few values, how can we write a reg update to only update the end values?

    Also, I am still trying to find some VLK files and a key that work….

    Thanks guys.


  133. KerrAvon says:

    Swifty – I don’t think IceCoolDesi’s procedure will work – at least not for that key. That value get’s created by Windows Setup – it is not stored in a hive INF file during setup. And since we only want to change a part of the value – normal registry import tools will not work.

    I tried the suggestion of the txtsetup.sif – but my first install attempt was not successful. And I am doubtful that it will produce a working installation without the Step 14 change.

    I am working on another possible way to inject the registry changes. I will post results shortly.

  134. KerrAvon says:

    OK – I can confirm that the txtsetup.sif process will not work. Step 14 – the SystemPrefix change – is absolutely necessary to allow a flawless installation. Without it, the Windows edition does not get changed to WHS, the boot bitmap is incorrect, and most importantly, the OOBE fails with the “Setup is already running” error. You will not be able to finish the WHS setup without the SystemPrefix change.

    I have been able to inject the remaining registry settings into the hivesys.inf file. I have another thought on how to modify the SystemPrefix. Baking it now – will update when I have something.

  135. KerrAvon says:

    OK Here is a new procedure for creating the VLK version of WHS. This version does not require BartPE or any manual steps.

    What you will need:

    – Windows Home Server Evaluation Edition from Microsoft website
    – A copy of a Windows 2003 Standard VLK CDROM or ISO
    – WinISO or another tool to edit ISO images


    1. Download WHS Eval from Microsoft

    2. Mount your 2k3 Standard VLK ISO/CDROM and extract the files:

    3. Mount your WHS Eval ISO in WinISO

    4. Copy out the hivesys.inf file from the \SVR2003\i386 folder

    5. Add the following lines to the bottom of the last [AddReg] Section:

    HKLM,”SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21BE-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}”,”DontPaintText”,0x00010001,01,00,00,00
    HKLM,”SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21BE-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}”,,0x00000000,”whsbrand.dll, -1004″
    HKLM,”SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21BF-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}”,”DontPaintText”,0x00010001,01,00,00,00
    HKLM,”SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21BF-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}”,,0x00000000,”whsbrand.dll, -1001″
    HKLM,”SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21C0-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}”,”DontPaintText”,0x00010001,01,00,00,00
    HKLM,”SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21C0-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}”,,0x00000000,”whsbrand.dll, -1003″
    HKLM,”SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21C1-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}”,”DontPaintText”,0x00010001,01,00,00,00
    HKLM,”SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CustomBrand\{F20B21C1-5E3D-11d2-8789-68CB20524153}”,,0x00000000,”whsbrand.dll, -1002″

    6. Save the file and replace it within the ISO.

    7. Copy out the install.cmd file from the \FILES\Install folder.

    8. Add the following lines to the top of the file – before any existing commands:

    @echo off
    echo Changing current Windows edition to Windows Home Server…
    CD C:\
    reg save HKLM\SYSTEM\Setup temp.hiv /y
    reg load HKLM\TempHive temp.hiv
    FOR /F “tokens=2* delims= ” %%A IN (‘REG QUERY “HKLM\TempHive” /v SystemPrefix’) DO SET SysPrefix=%%B
    SET SysPrefix=%SysPrefix:~0,8%00C04944
    reg add HKLM\TempHive /v SystemPrefix /t REG_BINARY /d %SysPrefix% /f
    reg unload HKLM\TempHive
    reg restore HKLM\SYSTEM\Setup temp.hiv
    reg save HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\ProductOptions temp.hiv /y
    reg load HKLM\TempHive temp.hiv
    reg add HKLM\TempHive /v ProductSuite /t REG_MULTI_SZ /d “Small BusinessSmall Business(Restricted)WH ServerTerminal Server” /f
    reg unload HKLM\TempHive
    reg restore HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\ProductOptions temp.hiv
    del /q temp.hiv
    echo Change Complete.

    9. Save the file and replace it within the ISO.

    10. Insert the 8 VLK files into the WHS image (\SVR_2003\i386) – replacing their counterparts in the ISO

    11. Save WHS ISO and burn to DVD

    12. Begin install on target hardware

    13. When prompted for product key – enter the 2k3 Standard VLK key. Do not leave the key blank, setup will fail

    14. Answer remaining questions as appropriate

    15. Setup will copy the install files to your hard disk and reboot

    16. Allow Setup to finish – No WHS Setup errors should occur; Branding will be in place (WHS Boot logo will be in place after install.cmd runs)

    17. System will be activated automatically

    18. Complete OOBE wizard normally

    19. System is no longer Eval because of VLK files – it will not expire

    20. Enjoy.

  136. KerrAvon says:

    Oh – and watch the single and double quotes in the pasted instructions above – they were changed by the post editor.

  137. KerrAvon says:

    One more editor problem:

    reg add HKLM\TempHive /v ProductSuite /t REG_MULTI_SZ /d “Small BusinessSmall Business(Restricted)WH ServerTerminal Server” /f

    There should be a backslash \ and a number 0 after Small Business, Small Business(Restricted), and WH Server

  138. Swifty says:


    I would just like to say a big thank you for your time and efforts, much appreciated, really.

    Any chance we can post the required texts into a txt file somewhere to ensure we get the correct formatting? Or do we simply copy and paste and remove all the quotations?

    Gonna give this a shot soon.

    Thanks again guys.


  139. KerrAvon says:

    Don’t remove the quotes – they were just changed when the text was pasted into the post. Instead of the open and close double quotes, they should just be the standard double quotes. Same for the single quotes in the code.

  140. Swifty says:


    Any chance you could upload a text file with this in? I just tried it and it failed my end, possibly due to the editing..

    Thanks for the help, really appreciate it.


  141. KerrAvon says:

    Ok – Seems like there are more formatting issues in that post.

    I have posted clean instructions here:

  142. Swifty says:

    A star is born 🙂

  143. Swifty says:

    I tried the above from the live link.

    Please note that some of the reg adds in step 5 are missing quotation marks from the end.

    The only problem I have now is that I get no boot branding at all during boot, still waiting for it to finish though…

    I suspect a problem with the install.cmd causing branding not to be applied.


  144. KerrAvon says:

    Sorry – missed those during the cut and paste. I just fixed them in the blog entry.

    The logon branding is controlled by the changes in step 5. The logon bitmap is controlled by changes in step 8.

  145. KerrAvon says:

    Meant to say Boot bitmap instead of Logon Bitmap for step 8.

  146. IceCoolDesi says:

    I was able to install Power Pack2 by clicking update button on Windows Home server Console via RDP. I have not installed connector and I am not using the backup functionality, so I don’ have any of those issues.

    If you follow my suggestions, you can skip step 14 completely. As KerrAvon confirmed, value in step 14 is generated by the system, as long as you have all the other entries already populated in the registry. So far I have done 7 installations, and this value is never same, except for the second to the last value of 49. I also have a HP MediaSmart Server and only value 49 is common with rest of the values I have seen.

    Don’t give up, if your first installation does not work. I tried many ways, and finally came up that was fully automated (no editing, no entering key, no clicking on prompts) once the installation process is stated. Use of Microsoft Virtual PC and QS.INI file was very helpful.

    Txtsetup creates registry entries the end of text setup process and before the windows installation begins, so all the registry entries are already in place and Windows Setup has what it needs to generate the right value.

  147. Swifty says:


    Eventually got this to work.

    I am just worried that the ‘files’ I used could be wrong, or cause problems? is this possible, or would it not have installed without the correct files, can they cause any problems? The install did work with my genuine vlk key though.

    Only problem I have noticed is I get a warning when it startups saying a service failed to load, event log shows ‘winmgmt’, research on this shows it was a problem in server 2003 sp1, and its no problem. Could my files have made the install think its still sp1, or even have stopped sp2 installing? I think not and this problem is nothing, but am I litttle paranoid!

    Thanks guys!


  148. Susan says:

    Well crap! First attempt ended up with the error message: “A problem is preventing Windows from accurately checking the license for this computer. Error code: 0x80004005.”

    I’ll try again from scratch and see what happens.

  149. Susan says:

    Second time was a charm. The instructions are working perfectly. Thanks for taking the time to write up a how-to.

  150. bereft says:

    Excellent work!, thanks to all involved. Do someone knows if the 9 files from the Enterprise Edition Of 2003 w/ SP2 will work ?

  151. KerrAvon says:

    Can’t see why not – just need to use an Enterprise Key during the install process.

  152. Swifty says:

    Anybody have any thoughts on my post above RE the injected files, and could they cause troubles?


  153. KerrAvon says:

    Swifty – If you are seeing any problems with the OS then I would be concerned. WHS is based on Windows 2003 SBS SP2. You should use the SP2 version of the files I mentioned. The resulting install should proceed without errors.

  154. jformigal says:

    hello all…it is possible to do a “repair install” with the VLK version of WHS in a actual home server installation (eval. mode)?

  155. benjamato says:

    KerrAvon you have been a tremendous help. This really helps get around the WHS updates issue we WHS VLK users have had for over a year now. Power Pack 2 was released and to be honest I returned here to see if Spaceman had posted a link to it. Your instructions were simple enough and worked perfectly. I just tested my new install dvd ISO on Virtual PC and all went as advertised. I have successfully created a Standard VLK edition and a Standard Dell OEM edition that installs and updates without the gotchas we had in the earlier workarounds of this endeavor. Juggernaut, Spaceman and KerrAvon thank you for sharing your knowledge on this site.

  156. KerrAvon says:

    You’re welcome!

  157. masonic says:

    Just to say have a look at this its real and works
    for W H S… have a nice time
    here the link:


    Easy Way to Activate Windows Home Server (Crack and Bypass Activation)

    Windows Home Server is a home-based server operating system from Microsoft, where interested user can request for a free evaluation kit with installation DVD with 120 days activation free grace period to be delivered to user’s doorstep. To continue using Windows Home Server beyond 120 days free evaluation trial period, user will require to purchase a legitimate license, or try the following hack to crack and bypass the Windows Home Server activation requirement.

    1. Click on Start button.
    2. Click on Run.
    3. Type regedit into the Run text box and press Enter.
    4. Navigate to the following registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents
    5. Note: From this step onward, the cracking process must be performed as quickly as possible, as it hacks activation stuff and Windows may change back the setting if there is a delay of more than few seconds.

    Locate a string value named OOBETimer.
    6. Right-click on OOBETimer, and click on Modify.
    7. Change the value to FF D5 71 D6 8B 6A 8D 6F D5 33 93 FD.

    Activation OOBETimer
    8. Click on OK.
    9. Right-click on WPAEvents and select Permissions….
    10. Click on Advanced button.
    11. Uncheck the check box for Inherit from parent the permission entries that apply to child objects. Include these with entries explicitly defined here.
    12. Click on Apply.
    13. When prompted, click COPY.
    14. From there, highlight the SYSTEM line, and click Edit.
    15. Choose the Deny option to ban all users from accessing and editing the key.
    16. Click on OK.
    17. Reboot the computer.

    After the hack, Windows Home Server should run completely as a free copy, with users able to access Windows Update to get latest hotfixes and patches. The crack does not require BIOS mod.

    To verify that the activation crack works after restarting the system, go to Start -> All Programs -> Activate Windows. The dialog should say Windows is already activated. Alternatively, go to Start -> Run and type oobe/msoobe /a.

    Note: Some users reported that the method does not actually remove the activation grace period, even though it makes the system activated.

    Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purpose only.

  158. spd says:

    With KerrAvon’s method for creating a VLK version of WHS, does anyone know if you can use a Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition key obtained legally through Microsoft’s DreamSpark (basically free software for students)? Does that version count as VLK, and would I be able to use the Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition iso that I downloaded from Microsoft?

    Currently I am using the AntiWPA method, and it works just fine even with all the updates installed (as of April 16/09), including PP2. Comparing these two methods, which do you guys think would hold up better to Windows Updates in the future?

  159. KerrAvon says:

    Spd – not sure about the type of keys used in that program. If I had to guess that they are from the retail keys pool. Instead of using a 2003 VLK iso, you can use a retail 2003 ISO to extract the files and build a version of WHS that will accept the key you have.

    Microsoft is always trying to thwart tools like AntiWPA so I can’t see it working forever. My version is completely valid – all Microsoft components and no hacks.

  160. jformigal says:

    nobody answer my question??? 🙁

  161. KerrAvon says:

    jformigal – I have not tested that scenario. Feel free to give it a try and let us know the results.

    Fresh installs are usually best, though.

  162. Spd says:

    KerrAvon: Thanks for the quick response. I followed your instructions carefully to create my own WHS version using files and a serial number from a Server 2003 Standard ISO (downloaded legally from Microsoft) and it works perfectly. Activation went just as it should with a legal copy. This is great news for students who have access to free Microsoft software via DreamSpark.

  163. Mike says:

    Spd, is there any way that an non american can get access to Dream spark’s free program? For an example to get the access keys that are required from a friend that lives in US, and with it to download from my country?

  164. Spd says:

    Dreamspark is for students internationally. I am from Canada and I just registered with the student ID from my university.

  165. gtr says:

    Instead of 00C04944 in the system prefix you can use 00604A24 from the OEM version of WHS and then it doesn’t say evaluation version when installing the connector.

    In the Install.cmd file change
    SET SysPrefix=%SysPrefix:~0,8%00C04944
    SET SysPrefix=%SysPrefix:~0,8%00604A24

  166. KerrAvon says:

    gtr – that is odd – all of my installs using the eval media and the 00c04944 prefix do not yield an evaluation message when installing the connector.

  167. Mike says:

    I have a question. I made all the changes that kerravon mentioned in his great tutorial, i made an iso file, and i installed it on a virtual box. Everything was great exept in the end there was no OOBE Wizard! Why is that? I need the oobe wizard because that is the WHS behind Server 2003. Pls help me. I used Windows Server 2003 Enterprise edition Sp2. Thanks Again.

  168. Mike says:

    It is fixed. I used the original WHS DVD wich was delivered to me by mail and an original Server 2003 standard edition with licence from Dream Spark. Now Everything works! Thanks again to everybody who contributed to this wonderful fix!!

  169. Mike says:

    To jformigal. I made a VLK version of WHS and sucessfuly made a server reinstalation. Just make shure to remove all extra HDD’s from your server because it is to damn slow with them. believe me i have tried with all my HDD’s and only with the primary HDD. There is a diference.
    Hope to be at some help….

  170. jformigal says:

    thanks Mike, soon I’ll reinstall / repair my evaluation install, then I’ll post the results.

  171. Bankai says:

    hello all.. i need some help where can i get product key for Windows Server home 2003 coz the old version already block…(pirate version)


  172. Soltek says:

    How are you guys injecting the files into the iso? after i unpack the iso added the modded files and “9 Files” and create a new iso with imgburn i keep getting errors in vmware that it can’t load the cdrom?
    re you using magiciso or something like that to inject straight into the iso file?

  173. KerrAvon says:

    Using WinISO – see directions above.

  174. Sevos says:

    Before you put it to rest…
    This started 2 years ago, and since you jumped in 6 months ago, you gave us the solution and perfected it during the process.
    On behalf of all my friends who enjoy WHS “free” because of you, may I thank you for your hard work.

  175. KerrAvon says:

    Sevos – You’re Welcome!

  176. Soltek says:

    Thank you KerrAvon, can’t believe i missed that 🙂

  177. hot_nerd says:

    Hi guys,

    I have WHS installed on my server, but the System Properties only says “Windows Server 2003 for Small Business Server (SP2)”

    I have applied the WPA crack and now I don’t have an activation problem.

    Only thing is that, in regedit, under “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSe\Control\ProductOptions”, it says “Small Business
    Small Business(Restricted)
    Terminal Server”

    No mention of WHS anywhere.

    Are there changes I can make exclusively to the registry to make this copy get recognized as a WHS instead of Server 2003 for SBS?

    Please please please do reply!

  178. KerrAvon says:

    The WPA crack does not work. Read my entries in this thread for a procedure for creating the VLK version of Home Server.

  179. hot_nerd says:

    Actually, the AntiWPA 3.4.7c patch DOES work. It’s been a few days since I applied the crack. Even tried changing the system date to one month later. No problems. When I click on “Activate Windows” in the Start menu, it says “Already activated”. So I don’t see a problem with that.

    Only trouble is the last step in the installation which didn’t happen, and so the installation doesn’t recognize itself as WHS, but as SBS instead..

    Can any messing around be done purely in regedit to change this? Not sure if the problem is with the WHS setup we’ve got, coz we’ve tried reinstalling a couple of times and it’s the same problem every time..

    Any ideas?

  180. KerrAvon says:

    Changing the product edition after setup is sometimes a messy situation. If you read my threads above you will find the keys and values you need to modify to convert your SBS edition into WHS. No promises though – I have no idea how or why your install came up WHS. My advice, build the VLK edition and reinstall for best results.

  181. Boulepick says:

    Hy guys,
    i have the evaluation build 3790 of the WHS with service pack 2 and all the updates up to 09/09/09 installed. i tried to call Microsoft after a painful 45 minutes of trying to get a number to reach service for WHS. just got of the phone with the sales rep to purchase a license since my 120 days evaluation is up and the server keeps rebooting after 1hr, she told me that she does not even know what Windows home server is and it’s to old so i cannot purchase anything form them. one other sales rep says that i have to purchase it through HP. now i have already build a server around WHS and have lots of files, music, pics and setup on that WHS. i have read through the post and need a clear explanation on how to activate is and prevent it from rebooting every hour. do i go with the 2k3 VLK option or the AntiwPa option and where would i find the 2k3 Standard VLK ISO and serial or the AntiwPa 3.4.7c.
    Thanks a million

  182. KerrAvon says:


    Microsoft did not explain it very well. WHS is not a retail product – it is only sold through OEMs (like HP). You cannot get support for a home-built WHS.

    AntiWPA is a risky option because MS can detect it during updates and disable it.

    The VLK option is your best bet – but you must have access to the necessary files to build it. VLK images of Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition are only available to MSDN or Volume Licensed customers of Microsoft. If your company has such a license, you may be able to get a VLK iso from your IT department. Otherwise, you will have to find a copy of the correct files I mentioned. There is a procedure to reinstall WHS on top of an existing install without destroying the data. You can google that for details.

    Good luck.

  183. Boulepick says:

    ok thanks KerrAvon for the quick Response, i will see if i can get those files and proceed with the re-install.


  184. lta says:


    I’ve been trying this using KerrAvon’s guide, once i enter my VLK for Server 2003 and try to proceede i get “Setup sources are corrupt: cannot check the product key”

    I used windows server 2003 standard and slipstreamed sp2 into the build, then extracted the files from that image.

    Step 5 of KerrAvons guide says add the reg keys at the bottom of the last [addreg] section that last section in my hivesys.inf is just a bunch of character returns?

    then has the [strings] section of the inf

    any ideas as to where i’m going wrong?

    Much appreciated

  185. KerrAvon says:

    Hi Ita,

    Place the inf entries after this line in the hivesys.inf:


  186. lta says:

    Hi KerrAvon,

    That worked perfectly, thanks alot 🙂

  187. Derausgewanderte says:

    I tried to do a “reinstallation”. The system reported a bad hive and stopped installation. When I did a fresh install it worked beautifully. Terrific job!

  188. Chandler says:

    Has anyone had any experience with PP3? Does it cause any problems with the VLK WHS?

  189. Mike says:

    I’m testing it and so far so good…

  190. Derausgewanderte says:

    Chandler, installed that right away to be completely compatible with my win7 64 bit lan (4pcs). works perfectly fine.

  191. Chandler says:

    Awesome! I’m glad to hear it. 😀

    Does anyone have PP3? I can’t seem to get it from MS Connect anymore?

    Also, is it still a beta? Or is it basically RTM now?

  192. KerrAvon says:

    Running PP3 final bits on WHS VLK. No problems so far.

  193. Chandler says:

    Works for me too. I haven’t had any problems with WHS. At least none related to activation. 😀
    For some reason, one day when I turned on my server, my drives just started filling up. They didn’t stop until both were at 99%. I think one of my shares decided that it needed to duplicate itself without telling me (or the console).
    I ended up just reformatting the whole thing, so I’m okay again.

    Thanks again KerrAvon!

  194. floyd says:

    for about 3 months my whs is running now. i installed a evaluation copy and then cracked it with the antiwpa patch, means with editing the activation files in the registry. but for about one week my homeserver is running pp3. so no problem i thought, it runs fine. since i’ve seen the screen “6 days left for activating”, i would try to “activate” a second time via the registry thing but i forgot to do it within these 6 days left over 🙁

    so today i wanted to install a new addin but after my console restarts there is a windows saying ‘activate your whs now or you won’t can start the console’. okay so i pressed the ‘activate now’ button. but then the activation utility opens, and says “your whs has already been activated”. even if i log on myself directly AT the home server the error message, respectively the ‘already activated’ window, pops up.
    and if i boot the whs in safe mode i can’t log in because i have to boot it in the normal mode to start the activation utility.
    what can i do now? has anyone an idea? i do not really want to reinstall the os?

    thx and best regards

  195. KerrAvon says:

    “You need to get a man in” 🙂

    Time to switch to VLK. AntiPWA can be defeated, as you have experienced. Switch to the real solution, VLK. Come to the dark side.


  196. joedirt says:

    Just stumbled on this most interesting site, probably the most interesting site I halve ever visited and I could not quit reading till I had finished all the comments.
    I have never attempted anything so seemingly complicated but I am in need of whs and work is slow therefore, I am considering an attempt at this. However, pp3 is the only available download from Microsoft and I was wondering: Does this marvelous undertaking function in pp3?

  197. Floyd says:

    I’ll try it this afternoon – taking the Evaluation copy 120 days from Microsoft included PP3 and the VLK Files from WS2003 SP2 Disk. I Hope this will work…

  198. floyd says:

    so update:
    i finished integrating all the stuff, used:
    -german whs evaluating version including pp3
    -windows server 2003 vlk files
    the installation will start but i haven’t a right key 🙁
    my ws2003 vlk key doesn’t work.. any ideas? it’s a english version and my selfbuild whs system is german, so do i need a german ws2003 vlk key?

  199. mega says:

    @ joedirt

    whs pp3 with vlk files works on mine.

  200. Joe says:

    Hey – Thanks KerrAvon
    Worked as suggested. Now on PP3 – hoepfully it will last.



  201. floyd says:

    worked for me now too. made a fault with winiso…
    but after slipstreaming the vlk files (english ws2003 version) into the home server image, my system was half german half english. these small files will change the system language?

  202. bma says:

    will the KerrAvon method work with the iso of Standard i can get off dreamspark it is r2 ?

  203. Mike says:

    Yes it will! I have done the same! Works perfect…

  204. KerrAvon says:

    Working on a new version of the VLK install – this one is to apply WHS to an Enterprise edition of Windows 2003 to gain access to memory above 4GB. Will update group once I have it completely working.


  205. bma says:

    Mike do i need both disks or just one and thanks

  206. Mike says:

    You Need the first cd only. Folow the guide provided above and you are set to go.. 😀

  207. bma says:

    worked great but windows update is in german not a major problem but kind of annoying

  208. bma says:

    i got it all working thank you guys so much

  209. Saul Nova says:

    Hello Kerr,

    I have a question in your procedure… (It’s because my english is not good.)

    What mean “Copy out the install.cmd file from the \FILES\Install folder.”?

    I understand that I have to copy the file install.cmd into the \FILES\Install folder, right?

    Let me know your Dark side….

    Thanks a lot friend.

    PS. The antiWPA does not work for me. The loop to activate the WHS is in my screen.

  210. KerrAvon says:

    Hi Saul Nova,

    I mean to take a copy of that file from the ISO, which is read-only, to your hard drive so you can edit it, insert the indicated lines, and then put it back into the ISO using WinISO or a similar product. It’s final location does not change.


  211. Saul Nova says:

    Ok Guy, I understand now.

    I have the W2k3 STD. ED. from MSDN and I have a VLK serial, I think that is enough

    Thanks a lot for your great support Kerr. I’ll try it tomorrow in new year.


  212. ladiaz says:

    I have finally decided to test out WHS, so I downloaded the newest eval of WHS w/ PP3 from Microsoft. I have W2K3 Std R2 Volume(which I’ve been running for some time). I followed the instructions above and triple checked everything, however, when I attempt to install a VM in VMware, I get this error message:
    “Line xxxx of hivesys.inf is corrupted. Setup cannot continue.
    To quit Setup, press F3.”

    The line number corresponds to the first line of the added entries from above. I’ve checked the syntax and everything looks correct, anyone ever encounter this?

  213. KerrAvon says:

    Ladiaz – My post on this blog were corrupted. See my Windows live Blog (address above) for the properly formatted text you need.

  214. ladiaz says:

    Thanks KerrAvon, I saw the post but when I compared it, nothing looked blatantly different. However, I have used that instead and it seems to be working so far. Thanks again for all your efforts.

  215. lenny says:

    Kerravon- DUDE YOU ROCK!!! I just did the procedure from your blog with a w2k3 standard r2 disc vlk cd and code and got the PP3 trial whs from MS and everything worked! Many kudos to you!!

  216. Saul Nova says:

    Hey Lenny,

    I have W2K3 Standard w/SP1 VLK, I will put the SP2 into the ISO, and after that I will create the WHS VLK.

    Did you use VMware to test before Create the CD/DVD final?


  217. Saul Nova says:


    Is your w2K3 r2 with SP2?


  218. lenny says:

    Saul Nova- Yes, I used magiciso to make the changes and saved as an iso and tested it in VMware workstation and it worked when I inputed a VLK key for W2k3 standard. Before I did all this, I tested just installing the trial WHS and it would not take the code at all so I know the procedure worked.

    And no, it is just w2k3 standard r2, no service packs.

  219. Saul Nova says:

    Thanks for your quick answer friend.

    I have another question… In MSDN webpage I can see just Windows Server 2003 R2, Standard Edition – Disc 1 – VL and Windows Server 2003 R2, Standard Edition – Disc 2 – VL, but not just a Disc, I see two discs.

    Did you use both discs or just the first one?

    Thanks a lot again…

  220. Chandler says:

    Soul Nova:
    You only need the first disc.

  221. Saul Nova says:

    Hello Guys!!!

    My new ISO is working fine (Windows Home Server VLK)

    Thanks to Kerr, Lenny and Chandler for your support. In Special to Kerr for his great “how-to”.

    1.- Windows 2003 Std. w/SP1 – VL
    2.- SP2 for Windows 2003
    3.- Windows Home Server Eval.

    My Steps:
    1.- Create W2K3 STD w/SP2 – VL Boot Disk
    2.- Follow Kerr’s intructions in his blog.
    3.- Test in VMware the new ISO
    4.- And… ready, it’s working.

    I will try with W2K3 R2, No service packs as Lenny says.

    Thanks again.

  222. Saul Nova says:

    It’s working in spanish too.

  223. lenny says:

    Saul- I only used the 1st disc, the 2nd disc is for other tools which aren’t needed for this project. Glad it worked out for you. Have fun using WHS!!

  224. Saul Nova says:


    Thanks for your support. At this point is working with W2K3 Std. w/SP2 in Spanish; but I will try with W2K3 R2 Std No Service packs.

    Thanks again.

  225. joskevermeulenjunior says:

    Hy guys,
    I still have pp1 on my whs, but now i have a Win7 desktop in my network and need to upgrade to PP2 or pp3. I have version 6.0.1800.0 with OOBE setup canceled, and not able to update true windows update. Is there any way to update? PS i am not a computer specalist like the most of you here, so try to keep it simple 😉

    Thanks in advance.

  226. lenny says:

    I did notice that on a VM with just the WHS trial and running Windows update on it vs a VM with the WHS VLK I created, it has much less updates. Will it break functionality if I install all updates in the VLK WHS?

  227. Saul Nova says:


    It was the same case for me only in english version., but after a lot of updates and restarts, i think that is everything is ok, because it was installed all security updates and PP3 (Windows 7 compatible).

    In the spanish version it was not the same case. But a few time after, the updates were installed. And is working fine too.


  228. Chandler says:

    I’ve been running the VLK version I created for a few months, and everything is fabulous. It originally installed the myriad of Server 2003 updates, AS WELL AS the WHS updates. I don’t think it matters. In fact, it may very well be a GOOD thing that we get those server 2003 updates. Who knows?

  229. lenny says:

    Chandler- Oh ok thats comforting that you have been running it for some time with the VLK version. I doubled checked and the majority of the 80+ updates it was installing were security updates. The trial WHS only had 10 TOTAL updates, which is disappointing if you ask me. I hope WHS in its current state is pretty secure since I’ll be using the remote access feature often…

    Also backups are a huge thing for me on this so I hope the backup algorithm or whatever they use in here doesn’t get screwed up by the additional updates the VLK version picks up.

  230. jerrisn says:

    Can I install the trial with a purchased serial number? I own a copy but refuse to connect it to the internet to download the latest power packs. Why is there no standalone ISO for power packs like there is for XP? Does anyone know how to download a single .exe for the power packs so I can update to 2 and 3? Am I the only one who finds this annoying?

  231. gavin says:

    Hi i followed all the instructions built the disk which works, so i already had pp3 loaded and working but 5 days left to activate so use this disk booted and did a reinstall of os only entered valid key rebooted after loading everything an when starting after win2003 logo i get an error Code: 0x80070002″ error message cites license-checking issue , i dont want to do a fresh install as i will loose my data on the volumes any help


  232. Brian says:

    I’ve been trying this as an experiment on VMWare. I can get the installation rolling after entering in the VLK key, but I’m getting it hanging with a bluescreen stating “Windows Server 2003 for Small Business Server CD-ROM” needs to be inserted. Have I forgotten a line or placed them wrong in the install.cmd or other files?

    I’ve read some posts on this on a forum about VMWare to get around the issue, but nothing seems to work for me. Does anyone have any ideas why this might be a problem?


  233. Brian says:

    Tested again on a Physical server and the same ISO works fine… I guess it’s definitely something with the VMWare. I tried all the settings in the post to no avail. I also tried changing to boot from CD-ROM first with Power to BIOS and changed the settings.

    If anyone has any ideas why it would be different in the test environment then I’d be interested to know.

  234. KerrAvon says:

    May be an issue with the ISO emulation in VMWare. Could try using that burned CD with VMWare rather than the ISO.

  235. Brian says:

    Thanks for the thoughts KerrAvon. I wanted to be sure, so I tried pointing VMWare to the physical DVD Drive and used the working DVD. I got the same stoppage at the blue screen requesting the ‘Windows Server 2003 for Small Business Server CD-ROM’. There seems to be a difference between reality and VMWare’s virtual reality for sure… :o)

  236. Saul Nova says:

    Hey Brian,

    It could be (maybe) the version of VmWare “i think so”. I used the 7.0.0 build-203739 version with ISO and DVD burned and is working fine.

    Best regards.

  237. Brian says:

    Thx.. seems to bring it back to VMWare settings then as I’m also using Workstation 7.0.0 build-203739 and have been unsuccessful with both the iso and the DVD. Puzzling problem.

  238. Still says:

    Thanks for the great efforts, KerrAvon!
    A question.. what if i don’t have access to to those VLK files as i don’t have access to a MSDN account in the first place? Will this procedure work with a normal Server 2k3 std/ent. files and key?


  239. KerrAvon says:

    Still – Standard edition (SP2) and a matching key should work fine.

  240. KerrAvon says:

    Not sure about the activation though- you will need to try it.

  241. Still says:

    Ok, i’ll give it a try, thanks.
    On a side note, i tried to alter one of those OEM versions floating the web, i assumed it already has those vlk files, used an attached key, altered the hivesys.inf file and everything worked pretty well, did a full update including PP3 and even the genuine check!

    The problem now is when i advanced the clock a year ahead, after a restart the system wanted to check the activation status and when i press ok, it opens up the activation window with “already activated” msg, press ok and i get the 1st msg yet again, in a loop it goes..

    Any idea whats going on?

  242. KerrAvon says:

    The OEM versions will probably not work with the process – they are activated in a different way.

  243. Still says:

    Still Doing a test with a normal version of windows server 2003 enterprise edition and will keep you all informed.

  244. Still says:

    For those having problems with Vmware installations like Brian and others..
    Disable the FDD when you get the blue installation screen or even before you start the VM machine.

    Hope it helps.

  245. Still says:

    By Disable i mean to disconnect/poweroff the virtual FDD by the way.

  246. Still says:

    Ok, installation went smooth, yet got a 60 days activation warning at the end 🙁
    Conclusion: VLK files and key must be used for this to work.

    Sigh.. clueless me on what to do now, anyone wanna spare vlk files and a key? lol

  247. Newbie says:

    I don’t know why…..why so many people had so much trouble with this. The reason I guest is….YOU GUYS ARE GETTING THE WRONG INFO FROM THE WRONG PEOPLE IN THIS THREAD.

    Look elsewhere where people know what they talking about.

    Here is ALL I did:
    1) Download WHS evaluation copy (PP3) from Microsoft website & “Generic Antiwpa-2.3-WinXP-2k3” (old version).
    2) After Installation, use antiwpa, then updates, DONE !!

    * Test: forward your system clock to 1 year or whatever !!
    ** The only thing bothers me is the watermark…that’s why I am here !!

    Cheers !!

  248. Still says:


    I already tried couple tools like the one you mentioned, and another called “Activator” or something, and am pretty sure that you gonna hit a wall after some time, be it a sudden activation warning msg. out of nowhere, watermark come and go, updating problems, connector doesn’t work..etc

    The method outlined here is 100% guaranteed as long as follow the steps exactly as written, and you have to do it just once to have a fully working iso.
    I managed to get myself a vlk copy of server2k3 ent. edition (torrents ftw :p) and everything worked pretty well with 0 issues up to this moment..

    Thanks abunch KarrAvon and everyone else who worked hard to get this out for all of us.

    ps. I’ll probably buy myself a legit copy if things continued as great as it is now, so should do anyone else imo.


  249. KerrAvon says:

    Newbie – Antipwa can be defeated by Microsoft countermeasures – any updates to WPA may cause your installation to expire or be unusable later. The VLK solution is not susceptible to this because the system will be properly licensed.

  250. Brian says:

    Thanks Still. I tried the install on VMWare without the FDD and it worked fine and did not stop at the Blue Screen waiting for the SBS Install Disk. Guess this makes sense as none of my physical machines had one either.. :o)

  251. Joakim says:

    Excuse me for my bad English

    Would someone be kind and upload the Windows Home Server ISO file where the files “hivesys.inf” and “install.cmd” is edited. Does not work for me =)

    Thank you very much

    / / Joakim

  252. Mike says:

    I recently discovered that WHS 2010 Codenamed: Vail, is out, and i was wondering if this process wold be possible with an Server 2008 R2 vlk or private key? And if you know when will the official RTM build would come out?

  253. KerrAvon says:

    It is going to be a slightly different process – as Vail is based on Windows 2008. Plus – VLK licenses are different in 2008 and 2008R2. I’ll examine it when the product is released.

  254. Bulldog says:

    Hi there all, first thanks KerrAvon for takin the time to get all this right and answer everyone’s questions.
    You’re a real star.
    I’m on Anti-WPA and NoTimeBomb right now, my swift response to the shock of getting a 30-day limited trial when following a link for what SHOULD have been 120-day.. And finding out i’d have to do it all again 30 days later if I liked it (assuming i had the time to test it properly in 30 days??? It’s not an IPhone app ffs!) Thanks Bill.
    I toyed with the Vail alpha a little, and hopefully something useable will be out before The Man breaks my current server with an update, if not I’ll be 100% doing it the right way – yours ;D

    Just a little heads-up for the next phase – as you correctly point out, Vail is 2008 stripped down to her undies, then dolled up and sent out to work the streets (read Media Centre integration etc..)
    The best protection circumvention in 2008, as in Windows7, is linked to SLIC tables in the computer BIOS. (You can even use this for current WHS – a decent alternative to KerrAvon’s method giving you a fully licensed box – have a search on MyDigitalLife forums)
    For Windows7 and 2008 you need SLIC2.1 table inserted in your BIOS, and all current versions of 2008 can be installed cleanly, no patch, no hack, no fuss, IF U HAVE A BIOS THAT CAN BE ‘MODDED’ TO INCLUDE THE CORRECT SLIC2.1 TABLE.

    Again, a quick search of the MyDigitalLife forum will get you what you need, start here:

    Using this method is utterly futureproof – The Man cannot risk wrongly disabling legally purchased boxes. It’s also ridiculously easy, far more so than any of the methods used up until now, not a fact to be sniffed at.
    It is unlikely in the extreme that Vail will be any different – you will simply have to wait 2 seconds after the RTM reaches China for a OEM SLP key to hit the net (there will probably be leaked keys earlier, but resist the urge to touch them!) and once these are published, it’s game over.

    My 2 cents for a happy future: buy popular motherboards, or if you have to buy an OEM box, by the looks of it make it a Dell…
    My Windows 7 Ultimate EEEPC and Windows 7 Ultimate workstation built on a popular Asus board, as well as my Lenovo X200 Tablet (now upgraded to 64-Bit Ultimate Windows 7 – it already had the right BIOS) are all legal and licensed ad infinitum, and stand testimony to the folly of the Man.
    Happy hunting, and thanks again for working so hard on th current stuff!

  255. CW says:

    My understanding of VAIL activation is that because it is based on SERVER 2008 then DAZ’s loader will work as this currently works on Win7, Server 2008 etc. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

  256. Pillhead2007 says:

    Windows Home Server n 2003 WaterMark removal

    In Display Properties, click on the Customize Desktop button on the Desktop tab. On the Web tab, check the Lock desktop items checkbox and click Ok. Should Just Disappear

  257. Ben says:

    I have Vail beta v2 with DE activated with an OEM SLIC2.1 and OEM cert and key. What are the disadvantages of continuing to run this version with DE instead of moving up to RC or RTM WHS2011? I am downloading the RC version now to test but can anyone speak as to the main differences or advantages of RC over VAIL?

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