How to Upgrade to One Version of Windows 10 When the OEM in the BIOS is Another Version.

I have teased this issue in the past here and here. And today, with a little bit of help, I figured it out.

Let`s start from the beginning.

The company I work for began the process of rolling out Windows 10 this past summer (this makes sense as support for Windows 7 ends in about 23 months). I was designated as the one responsible for making sure the rollout commenced, the upgrade worked, and that users would not be adversely affected by the change. Most of the upgrades would be from Windows 7 Enterprise to Windows 10 Enterprise through SCCM.

Things began smoothly enough. We had some minor issues in the beginning with the A/V, and the profile management service we were using, but all in all, things seemed to be moving along pretty well.

This all changed with the Fall Creators Update. For some reason, certain machines would fail to upgrade. No matter what we tried the upgrade kept failing (upgrades to Creators Update worked fine).

The error code that kept showing up in the SCCM logs ended in 204, which indicated that there were some incompatibilities between the current OS and the OS we were trying to upgrade to. This was so strange as the machine was running Windows 7 Enterprise, and we were trying to upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise.

One of us finally had the brilliant idea of running the ISO downloaded from the licensing portal to see what would happen. And wouldn`t you know it, the upgrade tried to install Windows 10 Pro. Hmm…

Now is probably a good time to let you know that the Fall Creators (1709) ISO came with Pro, Enterprise, and EDU all lumped together. It would be up to the installer to decide which version to install. This lumping together had something to do with our issue because as I said before Creators Update (1703) upgraded fine.  The 1703 ISO comes with only one version so you have a 1703 EDU, a 1703 Enterprise etc.

However, this by itself could not be the problem, because these PCs clearly had Windows 7 Enterprise installed. I mean it said it right there in the system properties.

Another thing I must tell you is that these were the first PCs we ordered that came imaged with Windows 10 (Pro). This means that there was a license for the OS embedded in the motherboard. However, we didn’t use the OS the PCs came with, rather we would swap out the HDDs for SSDs, and then image the PC with an enterprise OS.

Sooo… it would seem that the upgrade was picking up the license still embedded in the motherboard. But could we prove this? Well as a matter a fact yes we could. There is a tool, called ShowKey Plus, which will retrieve the product key from the registry or even BIOS (kudos to Into Windows for the information about the tool).

ShowKey Plus confirmed what we suspected: There were two Product keys on the PC. One, for enterprise,  installed with the current OS, and one, for pro, in the BIOS.

Conflicting OS

With the cause of our problem confirmed, it was now time to come up with a solution. I came across a post from the Superuser site. The user’s problem seemed similar enough to ours that I thought I would give the solution a shot. I added a file to the sources directory in the ISO called PID.txt. In the file, I typed [PID] followed by the product key. After this, I ran the ISO and thank goodness it picked up the product key and installed Windows 10 1709 Enterprise.

Now we just need to make it work in SCCM, and move forward with our rollout.

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