Specifying MAK Keys in Answer Files

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 16 Sept. 2008 / Last Updated on 3 July 2008]

Where do you specify a MAK key in an answer file for automating installation of Vista?

If you are deploying the volume-licensed Enterprise edition of Windows Vista, your computers can be activated either using a KMS server or by specifying a MAK key. But if you want to activate Windows by specifying a MAK key, where do you specify the MAK key in your answer file? The problem is, there are two places in an answer file you can specify a product key:

  1. In the Microsoft-Windows-Setup\UserData\ProductKey component, which can be added to the windowsPE configuration pass section of your answer file.
  2. In the Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\OOBE\ProductKey component, which can be added to the specialize configuration pass section of your answer file.

For MAK keys, you can leave the windowsPE value blank and specify your MAK key in the specialize value.

For more information on deploying Vista, see my series of articles titled Deploying Vista right here on WindowsNetworking.com.

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see www.mtit.com .

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