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hl U3 GatherOSState.exe Provides Win10 License Info for Clean Install – Win10.Guru
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May 26, 2020

GatherOSState.exe Provides Win10 License Info for Clean Install


Little known fact. If you dig into a current Windows 10 ISO file (mount it into your local filesystem, that is), you will find a file named gatherosstate.exe there (look in the sources folder). I changed the capitalization in the article title to make it a little easier to read. This little puppy is magic. If you copy it to the desktop of a Windows 10 PC, then right-click the icon and select “Run as administrator,” it produces a file named GenuineTicket.xml. The lead-in graphic for this story shows a truncated version of that file’s contents inside Firefox. (Note: this technique works only on copies of Windows 10 that have been activated, and can be used later on to re-activate the OS after a clean install. Also, it only works on the same PC where the ticket was generated.)

Next: A Clean Windows 10 Install

As long as you save a copy of the GenuineTicket.xml file to another drive or a USB flash drive, you can use it for validation after a clean OS installation (wipe the drives, and start with a fresh, new copy of the OS). During the install process, when a product key is solicited, click the Skip option instead. When the OS install is done, you can activate your fresh new copy of Windows 10 simply by dropping a copy of the GenuineTicket.xmlfile into the right folder. By no coincidence whatsoever, that folder is named %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\ClipSVC\GenuineTicket (on most systems that expands to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\ClipSVC\GenuineTicket).

The next time you restart your PC, this file will have done its magic. If you click Settings → Update & Security → Activation (or simply type “Activation” into the Windows 10 search box), you should see that your clean install shows something like this:

GatherOSState.exe Provides Win10 License Info for Clean Install.activated

This PC runs Enterprise, and shows it as “activated with a digital license linked to your MS account.” That’s the info inside the GenuineTicket.xml file doing its job!

Sometimes, a second restart may be required before the activation status registers on Microsoft’s servers. If it doesn’t work on the first try, restart again. If it doesn’t work after a second restart, further troubleshooting will be needed. Then, it’s time to return to Settings and search on “Troubleshoot activation.” This should fire up a helpful troubleshooter to guide you through subsequent repairs (or to contact with Microsoft Support, should that prove necessary, to straighten things out).

Note: I learned about the gatherosstate.exe program earlier today at TenForums.com, in reference to something a poster called the “gatherosstate dance.” I’d never heard of this before so I found Shawn Brink’s excellent tutorial at that site “Clean Install Windows 10 Directly without having to Upgrade First.” This told me everything I needed to know, and almost everything I’ve shared with you, in this story. Hopefully, you’ll find it as interesting and potentially useful as I did.

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

2 Responses “GatherOSState.exe Provides Win10 License Info for Clean Install”

  1. Keith Donald
    April 30, 2020 at 07:45

    You definitely need it if you are doing a clean install to upgrade a W7 system but I’ve never needed to use it on a W10 system that is activated with a digital licence.

  2. May 6, 2020 at 00:38

    Agreed: Unless you’re changing the hardware, if you’re already registered with the MS servers, your PC should be recognized and activated as soon as it’s recognized after clean install by those same servers. But seems like a reasonable precaution if you, like me, have an MVP subscription grant that offers a MAK based Enterprise key for which ShowKeyPro shows no key string. –Ed–

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