Working BIOS driver crack for Vista released

, posted: 13-Mar-2007 17:14

VistaJohn the Bluespark Flashboy pointed me to this Digg entry on what appears to be a new, working crack for Windows Vista. It's basically a BIOS driver used by OEMs that tells Vista it doesn't need to validate the copy, as it's deemed inconvenient for users.

A cracking group called Paradox got hold of it and... here's what they say:

*** OEM BIOS Emulation Toolkit For Windows Vista x86 v1.0 ***

What's the purpose of this release?
Bypassing the product activation requirement of Microsoft Windows Vista x86.

How does it work?
Microsoft allows large hardware manufacturers (e.g. ASUS, HP, Dell) to ship their products containing a Windows Vista installation that does NOT require any kind of product activation as this might be considered an unnecessary inconvenience for the end-user. Instead these so-called 'Royalty OEMs' are granted the right to embed certain license information into their hardware products, which can be validated by Windows Vista to make obtaining further
activation information (online or by phone) obsolete. This mechanism is commonly referred to as 'SLP 2.0' ('system-locked pre-installation 2.0') and consists of the following three key elements:

1. The OEM's hardware-embedded BIOS ACPI_SLIC information signed by Microsoft.
2. A certificate issued by Microsoft that corresponds to the specific ACPI_SLIC information.

The certificate is an XML file found on the OEM's installation/recovery media, ususally called something like 'oemname.xrm-ms'.

3. A special type of product key that corresponds to the installed edition of Windows Vista.

This key can usually be obtained from some installation script found on the OEM's installation/recovery media or directly from a pre-installed OEM system.

If all three elements match Windows Vista's licensing mechansim considers the given installation a valid system-locked pre-activated copy (that does not require any additional product activation procedures).

So the basic concept of the tool at hand is to present any given BIOS ACPI_SLIC information to Windows
Vista's licensing mechanism by means of a device driver. In combination with a matching product key and OEM certificate this allows for rendering any system practically indistinguishable from a legit pre-activated system shipped by the respective OEM.

How do I use it?
Preliminary hint:
Most operations described below require elevated privileges, so disabling UAC (Run->MSCONFIG.EXE->
Tools->Disable UAC) for the time being is recommended, Of course, it can be safely re-enabled after all steps have been performed. Otherwise OEMTOOL.EXE and some SLMGR.VBS operations must be explicitly run with adminstrative privileges.

1. Install the Windows Vista x86 edition of your choice without entering any product key during setup. Basically any Windows Vista x86 installation media will do, regardless if it's MSDN/Retail/OEM/..., MSDN/Retail are recommended though.

2. Install the emulation driver.

Run OEMTOOL.EXE, select the OEM BIOS information to emulate (ASUS might be a good choice given the fact that it's the only OEM for which a complete set of product keys is provided ;)) and hit the '' button.

Alternatively you can just right-click the ROYAL.INF file and chose 'Install' from the appearing menu. This only allows for installing the default OEM BIOS information (ASUS) though and is strongly discouraged unless OEMTOOL.EXE fails for some unknown reason.

When prompted about whether to install an unsigned driver, allow it. (For some odd reason Microsoft didn't wanna sign this one...;))

3. Reboot your machine.

4. Install the OEM certificate matching your OEM selection during driver installation by running


e.g. "SLMGR.VBS -ilc C:\ASUS.XRM-MS" if you chose to install the default driver and extracted the certificate file to C:\)

Note that this operation might take quite a while depending on your system, so be patient.

5. Install an OEM product key matching the installed edition of Windows Vista x86 by running


(e.g. "SLMGR.VBS -ipk 6F2D7-2PCG6-YQQTB-FWK9V-932CC" if you're running Windows Vista Ultimate using the default emulation driver)

Note that this operation might take quite a while depending on your system, so be patient.

See PKEYS.TXT for a list of OEM product keys published by different OEMs.

6. Run 'SLMGR.VBS -dlv' or right-click 'Computer' and chose 'Properties' to verify your licensing status.

Due to the variety of possible combinations of different earlier Vista activation hacks we're not gonna provide details on 'persuading' existing installations to accept this method. During our test the general procedure depicted above worked out fine though, i.e. installing the emulation driver, rebooting the machine and then using the officially documented ways of installing a matching OEM certificate and product key should do the trick in all but the most messed up cases.

What's that '' button in OEMTOOL.EXE for?
It dumps the BIOS ACPI_SLIC information of any SLP 2.0-enabled OEM system. The dump can consecutively be used to emulate ('clone') that information on any other system by specifying the 'Custom' option. Using this function on a system booted using the emulation driver will give a dump identical to the currently emulated OEM BIOS information, so be sure to uninstall the driver and reboot the source machine first if you intend to dump the actual hardware-embedded OEM BIOS data.

What are all those files for?
DIFXAPI.DLL - a runtime dll for Microsoft's DIFx API used by oemtool.exe
OEMTOOL.EXE - an application for installing/uninstalling the emulation driver
and dumping BIOS ACPI_SLIC information from any SLP 2.0-enabled Windows Vista OEM system
PKEYS.TXT - contains a list of validated OEM product keys
README.TXT - this file
ROYAL.INF - driver .INF file, can be (ab)used to install the emulation driver in case oemtool.exe fails to perform this task
ROYAL.SYS - the emulation device driver

CERTS\ACER.XRM-MS - the certificate that corresponds to the ACPI_SLIC information
emulated by the driver when 'Acer' has been selected during driver installation
CERTS\ASUS.XRM-MS - the certificate that corresponds to the ACPI_SLIC information
emulated by the driver when 'ASUS' has been selected during driver installation
CERTS\HEWLETT-PACKARD.XRM-MS - the certificate that corresponds to the ACPI_SLIC information
emulated by the driver when 'Hewlett-Packard' has been selected during driver installation
CERTS\LENOVO.XRM-MS - the certificate that corresponds to the ACPI_SLIC information emulated by the driver when 'Lenovo' has been selected during driver installation


So does it work then? Umm... it looks like several people have tried it out and been successful with it.

It'll be interesting to see what Microsoft will do to kill this one.


Other related posts:
Fighting with Windows 8
The Windows Phone 7.5 bouncing tiles bug
Windows Live Essentials betas seem good, but oh so flaky

comments powered by Disqus


Google News search
IT News
PC World New Zealand
Computerworld NZ
PC World and Computerworld Australia
PC World US
Computerworld US
NZ Herald
Virus Bulletin

Content copyright © Juha Saarinen. If you wish to use the content of my blog on your site, please contact me for details. I'm usually happy to share my material as long as it's not for spamblogs and content farms. Please attribute with a link back to this blog. If you wish to advertise on my blog, please drop me an email to discuss the details.
Comments policy All comments posted on this blog are the copyright and responsibility of the submitters in question. Comments commercial and promotional in nature are not allowed. Please ensure that your comments are on topic and refrain from making personal remarks.