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KenK-5891 avatar image
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KenK-5891 asked Ian-4092 published

Error installing Win10: Windows cannot read the <ProductKey> setting from the unattend answer file

So I'm building a new PC. I have Windows 10 Home retail version on the readonly USB stick. At the beginning of the install process I'm getting the error message "Windows cannot read the <ProductKey> setting from the unattend answer file. Clicking "OK" reboots the machine.

I don't see a way to enter in my product key. I'm not trying to do an unattended installation.

I've read where I'm supposed to download an ISO file and create a bootable USB Key or DVD but I don't have a spare USB key.

windows-10-setup
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TeemoTang-MSFT avatar image
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TeemoTang-MSFT answered Ian-4092 published

The error message “Windows cannot read the <ProductKey> setting from the unattend answer file. Clicking "OK" reboots the machine” display because there is an autounattend.xml file in the USB drive.
Just plug it into a working computer and delete:
autounattend.xml
Then, install your Windows 10 by this USB again.


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Did this work? because I’m having the exact same issue I have a brand new SSD brand new motherboard everything is brand new I’ve tried with three different USBs and they all tell me the same thing this! It’s a problem with windows ISO file and they need to fix it.

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No, I was unable to delete the file from the USB Key as it is a Microsoft OEM USB key (retail Windows 10) and it is write locked. I tried to make the USB key writeable using either DiskPart or windows permissions.

In the end, the problem turned out to be that I had the drivers DVD from the motherboard manufacturer in the DVD drive. This disk had an autounattend.xml file on it which was causing the issue. I removed the drivers disc and rebooted and was able to proceed with the installation normally.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

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Ian-4092 avatar image Ian-4092 KenK-5891 ·

Thank you, this really helped me!

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RobinMitchell-4196 avatar image
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RobinMitchell-4196 answered

I had this happen today when I was trying to upgrade Windows 7 on a fresh VMware Fusion instance. Turns out that VMware Fusion uses the floppy drive to load some drivers initially, and the floppy disk had this autounattend.xml file on it. I just removed the floppy drive from the VMware config and then it worked fine. It took way too long to figure this out - who uses floppy disks in 2021??

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