Friendly Windows Piracy Guide

Microsoft Windows

What edition / version should I get?

In the following sections various recommended Windows versions are described and explained why they are superior to other similar versions.

Windows 10 (IoT) Enterprise LTSC 2021

Windows 10 21H2 based system. Differences from normal Windows 10 Enterprise are the lack of bloat like ads and UWP apps including Windows Store (can be manually installed by running wsreset -i in cmd.exe) and lack of feature updates (security updates are provided for 10 years on the IoT version and for 5 years on non-IoT). Install the latest update to fix clipboard and print screen history, and install or disable the game bar to avoid a slightly annoying popup when launching games. You can switch between IoT and non-IoT at any time using a generic product key, but you should use IoT because it has more support and can be HWID activated. You can do an upgrade from LTSC Enterprise to regular Enterprise, but not the other way around.

Windows 10/11 Enterprise

If you can't use LTSC or you want to use Windows 11 before LTSC 2024 releases, Enterprise is the edition with the most features and control. It has less bloat on initial install compared to editions like Home or Pro, but most UWP apps are still present. If you have windows already installed, you can probably upgrade to Enterprise. On Windows 11, each feature update gets three years of security fixes after release compared to the two years that other editions get. All non-LTSC editions of Windows 10 will stop getting security fixes in 2025.

Windows Embedded 8.1 Enterprise

Windows 8.1 based system meant for embedded systems. It's like if Windows 8.1 had an LTSB/LTSC edition, this being the reason for recommendation. Unlike LTSC for Windows 10 this version includes Windows Store, but similarly misses other UWP apps. Unlike the POSReady releases the EOL matches that of Windows 8.1.
Now EOL

Windows 7 Enterprise

Windows 7 is generally not recommended anymore, but if you still want it, get Enterprise. Feature-wise same as Ultimate, however can be activated using KMS. Before installing, it is recommended that you integrate Simplix update pack by downloading the .exe and drag & dropping your ISO onto it. You can also run the .exe after the install.

What are N / KN editions?

Antitrust laws force Microsoft to provide these editions. N editions are made for Europe and remove Windows Media Player and related features. The later also includes various codecs which may result in YouTube videos not playing among other problems. While the features can be (mostly) restored with an optional update, using these editions is not recommended. KN editions used to be like N but also removing Messenger. Since MSN does not exist anymore, these editions have been discontinued.

Changing Windows 10/11 editions post-install

Windows 10/11 supports changing SKUs on the fly, however there are some restrictions. There are limited upgrade paths, refer to this matrix for available paths. You can use the Change Edition option in MAS extras to change to supported editions.

Non-Microsoft supported upgrade paths

Microsoft disallows certain upgrade paths that could otherwise work. You can bypass these restrictions by using an ISO and modifying UpgradeMatrix.xml. Remember that this is not supported or tested by Microsoft at all, prepare for the worst and avoid this if possible.

Downloading Windows

  • MSDL (Consumer editions direct download from Microsoft): ISOs
  • LTSC: ISOs
  • Other: ISOs

Which edition is in which ISO?

  • Consumer: Home, Pro, Education (and their N variants)
  • Business: Pro, Education, Enterprise (and their N variants)
  • LTSC: Enterprise LTSC (and its N variant)
  • IoT LTSC: Enterprise LTSC and its IoT variant

For editions that are in both Consumer and Business there's no difference in content besides the default inserted key (Retail generic vs VL generic).

The Installer doesn't let me choose edition or requires key

Make a new file called ei.cfg in the Sources folder of the installation media with this content:

[Channel]
Retail

How do I verify ISOs aren't fake / infected?

Microsoft publishes SHA1 or SHA256 for MVS subscribers, and people also manually hash ISOs and upload hashes. There are numerous automatic dumps of this online where you can look up your hashes, like here and here. Look up both SHA1 and SHA256 in both of them, since SHA256 is a recent change. If found in any, it's good.

Installing Windows

Preparing installation media

On Windows you can write the ISO onto a pendrive using rufus (open source). On Linux use WoeUSB (open source). No, dd doesn't work. If you're on Mac, you're fucked - use a VM or Bootcamp with Windows. you can try following this, but you might be better off just using a Windows or Linux machine to make the installer.

Common problems

The Windows installer likes to get stuck at partitioning step. If this happens to you, try the following:

  • Make sure the installation media is not in an USB3 port - Windows dislikes this sometimes when it doesn't have proper chipset drives yet.
  • Remove all storage devices but the installation media and target device - Windows might refuse to install when any disk or disk controller driver is missing, even if it is not needed.
  • Run DISKPART's CLEAN command on the target disk. This fixes corrupted or non-existent MBR or GPT. Note that this deletes all partitions.

Activation

There are various ways of activating activating Windows, some worse, some better.

MAS (Microsoft Activation Scripts)

Activator with HWID, KMS38, and Online KMS activation methods. Open source with no binaries, so anyone can easily verify the code. Get it from the official webpage or the official GitHub

MAS HWID

Generates a permanent Windows 10/11 Digital License. Your hardware identifiers are sent to Microsoft, therefore the license can survive reinstalls. It can also survive hardware changes if you tie it to a Microsoft account, but the process is unreliable and it is better to just run HWID activation though MAS again. Cannot activate versions older than Windows 10 and the following Windows 10/11 SKUs: EnterpriseG (China Government edition) and all Server SKUs. Ideal for most computers, since it can't be broken by AVs or reinstalls. More docs available here.

MAS Online KMS

Uses KMS servers on the internet to activate most editions of Windows and Office. Can be used alongside HWID to activate only Office. Renewal task can be used to automatically reactivate before the 180 day expiry. On Windows 7 or 8, this is the only working activation method in MAS. More docs available here.

KMS_VL_ALL (by abbodi1406)

Activates volume capable editions of Windows 7 to 10 and Office. Uses no internet, so it is recommended when you can't connect your install to the internet. Fully open source, link to source can be found in readme.html in the distribution. Works on all SKUs that can be activated with KMS. Official thread (needs registration). Official and updated rentry with download is here, and the GitHub is here. Use AIO for a nice single .cmd file with menu, or traditional for easier auditing, automation, etc..

HWIDgen

Outdated HWID activator, closed source and made by a pretty weird guy.

DAZ Loader

Activator for OEM activatable Windows 7 SKUs. Messes with bootloader to inject SLIC tables used for OEM activation, thus also doesn't work with UEFI. It can also cause the system to not boot. Use a KMS compatible edition and activate with KMS instead. If you already installed a wrong edition with UEFI and really don't want to reinstall, look into WindSLIC.

KMSpico, Microsoft Toolkit, etc..

Outdated KMS activators using more bloated, performance hungry and inferior ways compared to KMS_VL_ALL. If you don't know the correct place to download, you'll also probably get malware.

Random exposed KMS servers on the internet

May go down anytime, which makes all your software unactivated. It is better to use Online KMS in MAS because it uses stable servers and tests them before using them.

Buying keys on eBay, other cheap keys

They are usually not for your region or breaking EULA in other ways (OEM / MAK key, etc..), which makes it about as legal as using any of the other activators, or worse since many of the keys are stolen. These keys might randomly stop working, possibly after the refund period has expired.

Installing drivers

As a first step update your Windows, as it sometimes downloads driver updates too. Then, try grabbing all the missing drivers with SDI Origin. If something doesn't work try downloading the driver from the device manufacturer's site. If it still doesn't work and your computer / laptop is built by an OEM try getting the driver from their site (this sometimes occurs with touchpads of laptops).

Microsoft Office

MASSGRAVE Genuine Installation Media page

Found here and contains links and guidance for installing many editions of Office directly from Microsoft. If you are unsure what to pick, use the links with the ❤️. Once installed, use MAS Online KMS or KMS_VL_ALL to activate.

Office Deployment Toolkit

See how to obtain and use this in Microsoft docs. Advanced Office deployment toolkit aimed at system administrators. Guide here.

Piracy


Originally by !WinInfo80c

Edit
Pub: 06 Jul 2023 17:28 UTC
Edit: 01 Aug 2023 23:12 UTC
Views: 13588