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The Tale of a Brick Formerly Known as a Laptop – Part Two

This story continues from an earlier installment here: Insider Build Upgrade – The Tale of a Brick Formerly Known as a Laptop. If you’ve not read that yet, you should probably do that now. If you’re all caught up, please keep reading!

At this point in these thrilling adventures, I’ve been fighting my way through a handful of failed attempts to upgrade my laptop to Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17074. Alas, having lost those fights I wanted to win the war. By late Sunday evening, I finally had a fully functional Win10 (Version 1709, Build 16299) up and running. Finally, I found myself with no activation issues for either Windows or Office, all devices working, everything A-OK. Next, I created a new Hyper-V VM to use as reference machine. Then I built up and captured a completely new image, using the 17074 ISO to clean install the Insider Preview. I booted to Audit Mode from the OOBE region selection screen, and kept going from there. “So far, so good,” I found myself thinking.

When all that was done, I generalized the image with Sysprep to make it hardware independent. Then, I saved it to be used on other hardware. As the next big step toward regaining access to 17074, I made a copy of the FFU image. Then I mounted it, exported all of the current drivers from the now working 16299 installation, and added them into my mounted 17074 image.

Deploying the image took only a few minutes, during which time I tried hard not to hold my breath and cross my fingers. But my first boot into the image produced a working desktop that showed me that, at long last, everything was fine. The key to my final success seems to have been setting up fully a working Build 16299 for Windows 10, exporting drivers, and using DISM to inject them into a clean 17074 image.

Along the way, I learned some valuable lessons. Chief among these lessons is my improved understanding of what to do with Secure Boot. If for any reason Windows develops activation issues on a machine with a digital license for the edition in use, try the following maneuvers. First, disable Secure Boot in UEFI. Next, uninstall the current product key from your system using slmgr /upk in an elevated Command Prompt window (see this StackOverflow thread, item 2, for more details — you don’t need to complete steps 3 or 4). After one more restart, the Activation Troubleshooter should be able to find your valid license for itself. At least, that’s how things worked for me this time.

A happy Insider again,  I now have a fully functional, perfectly complete Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17074 running nicely on my laptop. And it only took me the better part of four days to make that happen.


Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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