Forcing Windows 10 Enterprise to install on a system with a Home version key in the BIOS

Problem – I had a system (HP Spectre) with Windows 10 Home edition which I wanted to upgrade to Enterprise (to get BitLocker). The trouble is, even when using the Windows 10 Enterprise install ISO and a clean install it installed Home. This is because it detects a Home key embedded in the BIOS and automatically installs it without giving you a choice.

You can apparently force it to install the version you want by including EI.cfg and PID.txt files in the install ISO (or USB key). I had a look at our ISO, which does include EI.cfg. The contents are:




Interestingly, according to the Microsoft documentation this is wrong – [Channel] should be either Retail or OEM…

There is no PID.txt file. According to some people this is also required. I was going to try this, but then found a simpler solution. You can run setup.exe from the DVD (assuming you have a functioning install already, like I had here) and include command line switches. Including specifying the product key.

setup.exe /PKey NPPR9-FWDCX-D2C8J-H872K-2YT43

(List of KMS client product keys)

Hey presto, this time the upgrade wizard only gives you the option of a clean(ish) install (as Win 10 Home to Enterprise is not a supported in-place upgrade for some reason), and the summary explicitly confirms you are upgrading to Enterprise.

And then you wait ages…

Note that if you have a system with Pro, then in theory you can change the product key (there are several ways to do this) to get to Enterprise. On the other hand, Pro can join domains and has BitLocker anyway.

Office 365 install without activating

If you need to install Office 365 on a user’s laptop but not activate it (because you can only do it five times yourself), read on…

Get the deployment tool (link for Office 365 2016)

Run the executable – this will extract the setup.exe and configuration.xml files. Put these in a handy directory.

The default configuration.xml should be ok for downloading the installation sources (32-bit Office and Visio). Run setup.exe /download – this will download the office sources to a subdirectory Office\Data (there’s about 1.25 Gb of files). Note there is no progress indicator!

To install, edit the configuration.xml file to uncomment and change the Display option as follows;

<Display Level="None" AcceptEULA="FALSE" />

Run the setup tool again to install:

setup.exe /configure

(If no other options are given it will use the configuration.xml in the same directory and the install data sources in the Office\Data subdirectory).

Note: no progress is shown, except for the setup program eventually exiting.

This should result in a default install of Office and Visio, ready to be activated on first run.

If you are doing this for a system image, do not run any of the Office programs! Even if you cancel the activation dialog and exit, it still generates a unique ID for the install that you probably don’t want to clone.

To see the various other things the tool can do see the documentation linked from the download page. (One interesting thing – you apparently can install a version that allows multiple people on a system to use Office without it counting against their 5-system limit, such as on a terminal server. In this case we’d probably use the Office 2016 install activated against the KMS server, but someone might find this useful).

Volume licenced Office 2016 Repeated Activation Prompts

Had a situation that seems to be fairly common – get laptop, uninstall “Get Office” program, install Office 2016 and activate using KMS server, which seems to work fine. Then when you fire up one of the programs you get the “Lets get started” screen. You can close this and it works ok, but it is annoying.

To fix this see (deleting a couple of registry keys that make Office think it’s still in OEM mode).