Windows Vista SLP Keys

Community Manager
Community Manager

Windows Vista SLP Keys

Windows Vista

Typically each system has a unique 25 digit product key on its COA which is that systems license or right to run that particular version of Windows. This Product Key is usually present as a backup for Microsoft Product Activation in some rare cases and in general System Locked Preinstallation is used.

You may have noticed that the product key you obtained from your Dell System after Clean Installation with a Windows Vista Reinstallation DVD or at Factory Settings is not the same as the unique 25 digit product key affixed to your system via its Code of Authenticity. This is because for Windows Vista OEMs such as Dell use system locked preinstallation (SLP) keys.

The installation media inputs these keys and automatically activates Windows Vista if and only if a valid system BIOS is detected. In the case of the keys listed, a valid Dell BIOS with a correct attached COA. 

The reason for SLP Activation was to prevent the need for Dell and every Dell user from calling Microsoft to Activate or Reactivate their Windows Product.


Two activation files for each version of Windows are listed:

  • backup-cert.xrm-ms
  • backup-key.txt

These activation files were taken from Clean Installs or Factory Settings of Dell Systems using the Activation Backup and Recovery Program and may be used to restore the Dell OEM Product Activation when used in conjunction with the ABR Program (ensure that the non-beta version of ABR is used as its Windows Vista Compatible). 

Once an OEM product is installed it rarely needs re-activated but in some cases it does and this can be problematic if the COA has faded. These files may be used to restore the OEM product activation in such cases without complete restoration of the factory settings or clean installation using a Dell Reinstallation DVD.

Importantly they may be used alongside the ABR Program and used to Clean Install Windows Vista using Digital River setup files listed on - Windows Vista Direct Download Links.

They will only work on Dell systems with a valid Dell BIOS and attached Code of Authenticity.

Windows Reinstallation Guide/A Clean Install of Windows Vista Step 1b will instruct you how to prepare Windows Vista Installation Media.

Step 11b will instruct you in their use for recovering your OEM Microsoft Product Activation using the ABR Program.

Dell-Robert P
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‎07-14-2013 12:58 AM
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