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Windows 10 Clean Install Error: "Windows cannot read <product key> from unattend answer file"

Hello everyone,

I'm trying to do a clean install for Windows 10 using a usb. I used the Media Creation Tool provided by Microsoft. Currently, I have Windows 10 installed on my SSD, but instead want to install on my HDD. Everytime I try to boot the usb drive, during the loading screen for setup, I get this error message: "Windows cannot read <product key> from unattend answer file".

I have never encountered a message like this nor have I ever dealt with an "unattend answer file". I looked online and I found many solutions for people using VM, but not much for people doing a clean install.

Here is what I tried:
Used Media Creation Tool to install Windows 10 on usb.
Attempted to try and find answer file location.
Unhooked all of my drives.
Unhooked my drive that has the operating system.
Tried burning Windows 10 ISO onto usb.
Looked online for other solutions.

TLDR; I'm getting the "Windows cannot read <product key> from unattend answer file" when doing a clean install of Windows 10 using a usb.

Thanks to everyone, who took the time to view this.
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about windows clean install error windows read product key unattend answer file
  1. 1. Why do you want to install it on the HDD as well as the SSD?
    2. Where did the original Win 10 install (SSD) come from?
    3. Is was it activated?
    4. Which specific version of Win 10?
  2. USAFRet said:
    1. Why do you want to install it on the HDD as well as the SSD?
    2. Where did the original Win 10 install (SSD) come from?
    3. Is was it activated?
    4. Which specific version of Win 10?


    1. I'm selling the SSD, so I want to install windows 10 on my HDD and wipe the SSD.

    2.. The original Windows 10 came from upgrading my computer from Windows 8.1 Pro to Windows 10 Pro.

    3. Windows 10 Pro is activated and I have the product key.

    4. Windows 10 Pro.
  3. hmmmmm....
    "Windows cannot read <product key> from unattend answer file"

    This should not be happening. Upgraded and activated should result in a valid digital entitlement license.
    And during the initial setup? No way that should appear.

    All I can suggest is to call MS.
  4. USAFRet said:
    hmmmmm....
    "Windows cannot read <product key> from unattend answer file"

    This should not be happening. Upgraded and activated should result in a valid digital entitlement license.
    And during the initial setup? No way that should appear.

    All I can suggest is to call MS.


    I will trying to contact MS Support, hopefully they figure out some method of getting around that problem.
  5. USAFRet said:
    hmmmmm....
    "Windows cannot read <product key> from unattend answer file"

    This should not be happening. Upgraded and activated should result in a valid digital entitlement license.
    And during the initial setup? No way that should appear.

    All I can suggest is to call MS.


    Sorry for not responding back about the result, but unfortunately Microsoft Support couldn't help me. However, I think I know what may have caused the issue. I did upgrade my motherboard and processor, which if I'm not mistaken is necessary for activation. I'm not sure if that is helpful information or not.
  6. verte200 said:
    USAFRet said:
    hmmmmm....
    "Windows cannot read <product key> from unattend answer file"

    This should not be happening. Upgraded and activated should result in a valid digital entitlement license.
    And during the initial setup? No way that should appear.

    All I can suggest is to call MS.


    Sorry for not responding back about the result, but unfortunately Microsoft Support couldn't help me. However, I think I know what may have caused the issue. I did upgrade my motherboard and processor, which if I'm not mistaken is necessary for activation. I'm not sure if that is helpful information or not.


    Even with a new motherboard, it should progress beyond the point you're seeing.
  7. Best answer
    seems it can even happen with win 10 official USB: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-windows_install/windows-10-installation-windows-cannot-read-the/ed7aa4cc-20b8-41e5-97cf-fb26f65ed708

    Quote:
    I actually solved the problem. All I had to do was eject the DVD in my dvd drive and reset, then suddenly everything worked perfectly. Weird...

    I probably shouldn't mention this, but before removing the DVD, I tried creating fresh USB install discs (3 times) and yes, each one took an hour or more to make. I would delete this thread so I don't broadcast my stupidity across the interwebs, but at some point another person may encounter the same problem I had.

    EJECT ALL OF YOUR DISCS, CDS, FLOPPYS, BACKUPS, ETC ETC BEFORE YOU INSTALL WINDOWS 10 PEOPLE!


    http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php/773921-WIN-10-installation-problem-quot-windows-cannot-read-the-lt-productkey-gt-setting-from-t

    another possible solution: http://superuser.com/questions/1085542/windows-10-usb-install-windows-cannot-read-the-product-key-from-the-unattend
  8. Colif said:
    seems it can even happen with win 10 official USB: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-windows_install/windows-10-installation-windows-cannot-read-the/ed7aa4cc-20b8-41e5-97cf-fb26f65ed708

    Quote:
    I actually solved the problem. All I had to do was eject the DVD in my dvd drive and reset, then suddenly everything worked perfectly. Weird...

    I probably shouldn't mention this, but before removing the DVD, I tried creating fresh USB install discs (3 times) and yes, each one took an hour or more to make. I would delete this thread so I don't broadcast my stupidity across the interwebs, but at some point another person may encounter the same problem I had.

    EJECT ALL OF YOUR DISCS, CDS, FLOPPYS, BACKUPS, ETC ETC BEFORE YOU INSTALL WINDOWS 10 PEOPLE!


    http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php/773921-WIN-10-installation-problem-quot-windows-cannot-read-the-lt-productkey-gt-setting-from-t

    another possible solution: http://superuser.com/questions/1085542/windows-10-usb-install-windows-cannot-read-the-product-key-from-the-unattend


    That second solution seems to override it, but Im hoping it will allow me to still use my own product key. I will tell you how it goes, I just gotta do some backing up. Before installing it.
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