Error: The product key entered does not match any of the Windows images available for installation. Enter a different product key.

Are you unable to install Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8 on a new computer? I recently ran into this issue. I purchased a new computer and as usual decided to wipe out the operating system installed by the vendor. However, I received the following error during the installation.

“The product key entered does not match any of the Windows images available for installation. Enter a different product key.”

If you are using a Volume License media then you won’t run into this problem. However, if you are using a TechNet or MSDN subscription that offers Not for Resale (NFR) or Retail product keys then you are likely to experience this issue when you try to install an operating system on a new computer that has an OEM product key embedded on the motherboard.

I found this KB article 2790964 that explained why I couldn’t install the operating system. According to Microsoft, here’s the cause of this error.

“This problem can occur if the motherboard has an OEM Product Key embedded. The product key from the installation media does not match the embedded OEM product key. This can happen if an Unattended file, Edition Configuration (EI.cfg) file or the Product ID (PID.txt) file is present, and has a product key that does not match with the product key from the installation media.”

Resolution

You have a couple of options to resolve this issue.

  1. If you have a system that is using an Unattend file, Edition Configuration (EI.cfg) file, or the Product ID (PID.txt) file then try changing the product key so it matches with the media you are trying to install.
  2. On some computers, there is a product key on the Motherboard (O. A. 3.0 [OEM Activation] supplies an OEM product key in the firmware) in which case you should use an answer file (i.e. an Unattend file), Edition Configuration (EI.cfg) file, or the Product ID (PID.txt) file.

When it comes to the product keys, Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 use the following priority logic.

  1. Answer file (Unattended file, EI.cfg, or PID.txt).
  2. OA 3.0 product key in the BIOS/Firmware.
  3. Product key entry screen.

If the first two steps don’t apply to your scenario then the system will prompt you to enter the product key.  If the product key is in the BIOS/Firmware on the mother board then you will get the error (The product key entered does not match any of the Windows images available for installation. Enter a different product key).  The basically the solution is to use the answer file. You can find more information on El.cfg and PID.txt file here.

NOTE: If you are using a Volume License media in your environment, you don’t need to worry about this error because it will use the logic in step 1 above.

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2 Responses

  1. Dianne says:

    Interesting post! Very helpful for those who are new to Windows 8 :).

  2. Varghese says:

    I have the doubt on why this error is coming even when I am using the same Windows 8 Pro media that came with my PC. I am using a Dell PC.

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