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 PostPost subject: == The Microsoft Grand Reference Guide [WIP] ==        Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:17 pm 
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This topic serves as your general reference guide and central information bank regarding most of the minute, important facts of the Microsoft Operating Systems sub-forum. I will frequently update this to include topics that could be seen as important, useful, etc.

Now, many of you might question this topic's existence, saying that we already have a bunch of stuff like this, being The Collection Book and the Microsoft Checklist, yadda yadda -- But this is a good way to organize all the clutter and mess on the forums, and it's BA's official... reference guide.

This topic is a mega-thread. If you have any important information you believe should be added to this thread, please inform me via PM, and I will add it ASAP.

Table of Contents
BIOS Dates for Alphas, Betas and RC
Differences between Free and Checked Builds
Dissecting a Windows build tag
Microsoft Licensing Info and FAQ
Beta Keys
Useful Links


Note: This topic will remain locked until it is complete.

Special thanks to:
- Luckie: For providing the Longhorn 3683 - 4093 BIOS dates
- Daniel: For helping explain the differences between free and checked builds.
- linuxlove @ beige-box: For teaching us how to dissect a Windows build tag.
- Vista Ultimate R2 and casey_boy: For information on Microsoft licensing policies.
- hounsell: For Windows Whistler serial keys
- namronia: For Windows Me serial keys


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Official, WIP] The Microsoft Grand Reference Guide        Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:24 pm 
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BIOS Dates for Alphas/Betas/RC
We'd like to thank The Collection Book for being a resource in finding these BIOS dates!

Windows 3.1
Code:
Janus 026 - April 6, 1991
Janus 034e - June 7, 1991
Janus 061d - December 18, 1991
Janus 068* - February 4, 1992


Windows 95
Code:
-- Alpha --
Chicago 58s - August 10, 1993
Chicago 73g - December 3, 1993
Chicago 81 - January 20, 1994
-- Beta 1 --
Chicago 122 - June 11, 1994
Windows 95 189 - September 22, 1994
-- Beta 2 --
Windows 95 216 - October 28, 1994
Windows 95 222 - November 10, 1994
Windows 95 224 - October 29, 1994
Windows 95 225 - December 2, 1994
Windows 95 267 - November 22, 1994
Windows 95 275 - December 4, 1994
Windows 95 314 - January 19, 1995
Windows 95 324 - January 31, 1995
Windows 95 331 - February 9, 1995
Windows 95 337 - February 16, 1995
-- Beta 3 --
Windows 95 345 - February 25, 1995
Windows 95 346 - March 24, 1995
Windows 95 347 - March 18, 1995
Windows 95 431 - March 24, 1995
Windows 95 435 - April 1, 1995
Windows 95 440 - April 7, 1995
Windows 95 445 - April 16, 1995
Windows 95 450 - May 6, 1995
Windows 95 456 - April 28, 1995
Windows 95 462 - May 3, 1995
Windows 95 468 - May 11, 1995
-- RC1 --
Windows 95 480 - May 25, 1995
Windows 95 484 - June 1, 1995
Windows 95 490 - June 10, 1995
Windows 95 501 - June 22, 1995
Windows 95 810 - July 11, 1995
Windows 95 812 - September 10, 1995
Windows 95 842 - February 12, 1996


Windows 98
Code:
-- Pre-Alpha --
Windows 95 OSR2.1 1132 - June 18, 1996
-- Alpha --
Memphis 1351 - December 13, 1996
Memphis 1387 - February 6, 1997
-- Beta 1 --
Memphis 1400 - February 25, 1997
Memphis 1411 - March 14, 1997
Memphis 1415 - March 17, 1997
Memphis 1423 - April 9, 1997
Memphis 1488 - April 25, 1997
Memphis 1500 - May 13, 1997
Memphis 1511 - May 25, 1997
Memphis 1518 - June 10, 1997
Memphis 1525 - June 25, 1997
Memphis 1532 - June 26, 1997
-- Beta 2 --
Memphis 1538 - July 8, 1997
Memphis 1544 - July 16, 1997
Windows 98 1546 - July 26, 1997
Windows 98 1559 - August 5, 1997
Windows 98 1569 - August 19, 1997
Windows 98 1577 - August 29, 1997
Windows 98 1581 - September 5, 1997
-- Beta 3 --
Windows 98 1593 - September 23, 1997
Windows 98 1602 - October 4, 1997
Windows 98 1619 - October 28, 1997
Windows 98 1629 - November 11, 1997
Windows 98 1650 - December 4, 1997
Windows 98 1650.3 - November 26, 1997
Windows 98 1658 - December 18, 1997
Windows 98 1666 - January 13, 1998
Windows 98 1676 - January 30, 1998
Windows 98 1681 - February 2, 1998
Windows 98 1687 - February 10, 1998
-- RC0 --
Windows 98 1691 - February 17, 1998
-- RC1 --
Windows 98 1702 - March 4, 1998
-- RC4 --
Windows 98 1900 - April 27, 1998
-- SE Beta --
Windows 98SE 2106 - November 19, 1998
Windows 98SE 2120 - December 17, 1998
Windows 98SE 2150A - January 27, 1999
Windows 98SE 2183A - April 4, 1999
Windows 98SE 2185A - April 20, 1999


Windows ME

Codename "Nashville"
Code:
Nashville 999 - November 30, 1995


Windows NT 3.x
Code:
-- Alpha --
Windows NT 1.0.239 - December 22, 1991
-- Windows NT 3.1 Beta --
Windows NT 3.1.297.1 - June 30, 1992
Windows NT 3.1.319.1 - June 30, 1992
Windows NT 3.1.404.1 - March 7, 1993
Windows NT 3.1.438.1 - April 23, 1993
-- Windows NT 3.5 Beta --
Windows NT 3.5.612.1 - June 17, 1994
-- Windows NT 3.5 RC --
Windows NT 3.5.756.1 - August 2, 1994
-- Windows NT 'Chicago Shell Beta' --
Windows NT 3.5.854.1 - November 20, 1994


Windows NT 4.0
Code:
-- Windows NT 4 Beta 1 --
Windows NT 4.0.1130.1 - September 22, 1995
Windows NT 4.0.1141.1 - October 12, 1995
Windows NT 4.0.1175.1 - December 2, 1995
Windows NT 4.0.1227.1 - January 21, 1996
Windows NT 4.0.1234.1 - January 26, 1996
-- Windows NT 4 Beta 2 --
Windows NT 4.0.1287.1 - April 8, 1996
Windows NT 4.0.1314.1 - May 16, 1996
Windows NT 4.0.1327.1 - May 26, 1996


Windows 2000
Code:
-- Alpha --
Windows NT 5.0.1515.1 - March 18, 1997
Windows NT 5.0.1585.1 - July 14, 1997
Windows NT 5.0.1592.1 - July 31, 1997
Windows NT 5.0.1631.1 - August 17, 1997
-- Beta 1 --
Windows NT 5.0.1671.1 - September 10, 1997
Windows NT 5.0.1691.1 - October 24, 1997
Windows NT 5.0.1729.1 - January 7, 1998
Windows NT 5.0.1743.1 - February 5, 1998
Windows NT 5.0.1745.1 - February 12, 1998
-- Beta 2 --
Windows NT 5.0.1796.1 - May 1, 1998
Windows NT 5.0.1848.1 - July 14, 1998
Windows NT 5.0.1877.1 - August 18, 1998
Windows NT 5.0.1902.1 - September 30, 1998
Windows NT 5.0.1906.1 - October 8, 1998
Windows NT 5.0.1911.1 - October 20, 1998
-- Beta 3 --
Windows NT 5.0.1946.1 - December 14, 1998
Windows NT 5.0.1983.1 - February 19, 1999
Windows 2000 2000.3 - March 13, 1999
Windows 2000 2031.1 - April 27, 1999
-- RC1 --
Windows 2000 2072.1 - June 28, 1999
Windows 2000 2091.1 - August 4, 1999
-- RC2 --
Windows 2000 2128.1 - September 11, 1999
-- RC3 --
Windows 2000 2183.1 - November 16, 1999


Windows XP
Code:
-- Neptune 'Technical Demo' --
Neptune 5111 - December 12, 1999
-- Alpha --
Whistler 2202 - February 3, 2000
Whistler 2211 - March 10, 2000
Whistler 2223 - April 12, 2000
-- Technical Beta --
Whistler 2250 - June 29, 2000
Whistler 2257 - August 11, 2000
Whistler 2267 - September 11, 2000
Whistler 2276 - September 29, 2000
Whistler 2287 - October 13, 2000
-- Beta 1 --
Whistler 2296 - October 25, 2000
-- Pre-Beta 2 --
Whistler 2410 - December 9, 2000
Whistler 2416 - January 5, 2001
Whistler 2419 - January 14, 2001
Whistler 2428 - January 30, 2001
Whistler 2430 - January 31, 2001
Whistler 2433 - February 7, 2001
Whistler 2446 - February 25, 2001
Whistler 2454 - March 7, 2001
Whistler 2457 - March 10, 2001
Whistler 2458 - March 11, 2001
-- Beta 2 --
Windows XP 2462 - March 16, 2001
Windows XP 2463 - March 29, 2001
Windows XP 2465 - April 13, 2001
-- Pre-RC1 --
Windows XP 2469 - May 2, 2001
Windows XP 2474 - May 9, 2001
Windows XP 2475 - May 15, 2001
Windows XP 2481 - May 24, 2001
Windows XP 2485 - June 1, 2001
Windows XP 2486 - June 3, 2001
Windows XP 2494 - June 14, 2001
Windows XP 2495 - June 15, 2001
Windows XP 2498 - June 19, 2001
Windows XP 2499 - June 20, 2001
Windows XP 2502 - June 23, 2001
Windows XP 2504 - June 26, 2001
-- RC1 --
Windows XP 2505 - June 27, 2001
Windows XP 2509 - July 3, 2001
Windows XP 2517 - July 14, 2001
-- Pre-RC2 --
Windows XP 2520 - July 18, 2001
-- RC2 --
Windows XP 2525 - July 24, 2001
Windows XP 2526 - July 25, 2001
Windows XP 2531 - July 31, 2001
Windows XP 2532 - August 1, 2001
-- Pre-RTM --
Windows XP 2535 - August 4, 2001
Windows XP 2542 - August 12, 2001


Windows Vista
Code:
-- Milestone 3 --
Longhorn 3683 - September 23, 2002
Longhorn 3706 - October 29, 2002
Longhorn 3718 - November 19, 2002
-- Milestone 4 --
Longhorn 4008 - February 19, 2003
Longhorn 4011 - March 5, 2003
-- Milestone 5 --
Longhorn 4015 - March 28, 2003
Longhorn 4028 - July 1, 2003
Longhorn 4029 - June 19, 2003
-- Milestone 6 --
Longhorn 4033 - July 17, 2003
Longhorn 4039 - August 28, 2003
Longhorn 4042 - September 10, 2003
Longhorn 4051 - October 1, 2003
Longhorn 4053 - October 22, 2003
-- Milestone 7 --
Longhorn 4066 - February 17, 2004
Longhorn 4074 - April 25, 2004
Longhorn 4083 - May 16, 2004
Longhorn 4084 - May 28, 2004
Longhorn 4088 (Lab02) - July 7, 2004
Longhorn 4093 - August 19, 2004
-- Omega-13 --
Longhorn 3790.1232 - August 20, 2004
-- Pre-Beta --
Longhorn 5048 - April 2, 2005
-- Beta 1 --
Windows Vista 5112 - July 21, 2005
Windows Vista 5219 - August 31, 2005
Windows Vista 5231.0 - September 13, 2005
Windows Vista 5231.2 - October 5, 2005
Windows Vista 5259.0 - November 14, 2005
Windows Vista 5259.3 - November 18, 2005
-- Beta 2 --
Windows Vista 5270.9 - December 15, 2005
Windows Vista 5308.17 - February 18, 2006
Windows Vista 5308.60 - February 24, 2006
Windows Vista 5342.2 - March 22, 2006
Windows Vista 5365.8 - April 20, 2004
Windows Vista 5381.1 - May 2, 2006
Windows Vista 5384.4 - May 19, 2006
-- Pre-RC1 --
Windows Vista 5456.5 - June 21, 2006
Windows Vista 5472.5 - July 14, 2006
Windows Vista 5536.16385 - August 22, 2006
Windows Vista 5552.16384 - August 23, 2006
-- RC1 --
Windows Vista 5600.16384 - August 30, 2006
-- Pre-RC2 --
Windows Vista 5712 - August 25, 2006
Windows Vista 5728.16387 - September 18, 2006
-- RC2 --
Windows Vista 5744.16384 - October 4, 2006
-- Pre-RTM --
Windows Vista 5754.1 - October 7, 2006
Windows Vista 5840.16384 - October 19, 2006
Windows Vista 6000.16385 - October 31, 2006


Windows 7
Code:
-- Pre-Milestone 1 --
Windows 7 6469.1 -
-- Milestone 1 --
Windows 7 6519.1 -
-- Milestone 2 --
Windows 7 6608.1 -
-- Milestone 3 --
Windows 7 6730.1
Windows 7 6780
-- Pre-Beta --
Windows 7 6801
Windows 7 6936
Windows 7 6956
-- Beta --
Windows 7 7000
-- Pre-RC --
Windows 7 7022
Windows 7 7048
Windows 7 7055
Windows 7 7057
Windows 7 7068
-- RC Escrow --
Windows 7 7077
-- RC --
Windows 7 7106
Windows 7 7127
Windows 7 7137
Windows 7 7201
Windows 7 7225
Windows 7 7227
Windows 7 7229
Windows 7 7231
Windows 7 7232
-- RTM Escrow --
Windows 7 7260
Windows 7 7264
Windows 7 7600.16384


Windows 8
Code:
-- Milestone 1 --
Windows 7 7850 - September 23, 2010
-- Milestone 2 --
"Pre-Release Windows Operating System" 7927 - February 15, 2011
-- Pre-Milestone 3 --
"Pre-Release Windows Operating System" 7955 - March 1, 2011
-- Milestone 3 --
"Pre-Release Windows Operating System" 7989 - April 22, 2011
-- Developer Preview --
Windows Developer Preview 8102.101 - August 31, 2011
Windows Developer Preview 8112 - August 31, 2011
-- Consumer Preview --
Windows 8 8250 - February 18, 2012
-- Release Preview --
Windows 8 8400 - May 19, 2012


Windows 8.1
Code:
-- Milestone 1 --
Windows 8 Pro 9364
Windows 8 Pro 9369
-- Milestone 2 --
Windows 8.1 9374 -
Windows 8.1 9385 -
-- Milestone Preview --
Windows 8.1 9431 -


*Janus 068 is an incomplete/zombie build. It has been removed from the FTP for purposes of quality and completeness.

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Official, WIP] The Microsoft Grand Reference Guide        Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:31 pm 
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Differences between Free and Checked Builds
Original post by Daniel, posted in 2008

Two distinct builds of the NT-based operating systems are available:

The free build (or retail build)
The free build of Microsoft Windows is used in production environments. The free build of the operating system is built with full compiler optimizations. When the free build discovers correctable problems, it continues to run.

Distribution media containing the free build of the operating system do not have any special labels — in other words, the CD containing the free build will just be labeled with the Windows version name, and no reference to the type of build.

The checked build (or debug build)
The purpose of the checked build of Microsoft Windows is to make identifying and diagnosing operating-system-level problems easier. The checked build differs from the free build in the following ways:
    • Many compiler optimizations (such as stack frame elimination) are disabled in the checked build. Disabling such optimizations makes it easier to understand disassembled machine instructions, and therefore it is easier to trace the cause of problems in system software.
    • The checked build enables a large number of debugging checks in the operating system code and system-provided drivers. This helps the checked build identify internal inconsistencies and problems as soon as they occur.
Distribution media containing the checked build are clearly labeled "Debug/Checked Build." The checked build distribution medium contains the checked version of the operating system, plus checked versions of HALs, drivers, file systems, and even many user-mode components.

Because the checked build contains fewer optimizations and more debugging checks than the free build, the checked build is both larger in size and slower to execute than the free build. As a result, the free build is used in production environments unless it is necessary to use the checked build to identify serious problems.

Finally, here are some checked service packs:

Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 Checked Build

Windows XP Service Pack 1a Checked Build

Windows XP Service Pack 2 Checked Build

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Checked Build

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 PostPost subject: Re: [Official, WIP] The Microsoft Grand Reference Guide        Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:35 pm 
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Dissecting a Windows build tag
Original post by linuxlove. The original post has pictures, and is located here.

The casual user is likely never to know, or care about what version of Windows they’re running so long as they can browse Facebook and check email. For technical people or just Windows enthusiasts, we care about what version of Windows that’s being used – maybe it’s for software development, debugging, or just general “what version of Windows am I running?”

Compared to other operating systems such as Mac OS X or Linux, reading the full Windows build tag is quite easy. But why even have a build string at all? Why not simply have a major version and a minor version and be done with it? Because the full build tag gives a useful look into where and when a particular build of Windows was compiled. I presume that the primary reason it was created was to help NT developers keep track of who compiled what build, and when, but it is still useful to non-Microsoft developers to read.

A bit of (okay, a lot of) history
Back in the very beginning of the NT OS/2 project, the build tag was nowhere near as informative as it is now. In fact, the earliest release build of Windows NT, the COMDEX October 1991 pre-release, didn’t even have a build tag! Builds older and newer than the October 1991 Pre-release have build tags, but these tags are simply a major version, minor version and a build number – for example, 3.2.239 is Windows NT December 1991 pre-release. This simple versioning scheme worked for them at the time, especially since at the time the Windows NT team consisted of about 20 people.

The system was also quite simple; the build number was yesterday’s build + 1. The simple system of build numbers was used until Brian Valentine joined the Windows Team. When he joined, he brought a tradition from the Exchange team, where the shipping build number of a product was rounded up to something even. The Windows 9x team liked to jump build numbers too, but for a different reason – Windows 95′s RTM build was 4.00.950, Windows 98 First Edition’s RTM build was 4.10.1998; two nice plays on the product name.

Fast-forward to (very) late 1999 to early 2000. The Windows NT team has grown from around 20 developers to hundreds, if not the low thousands at that point (There were reportedly 2,000 developers working on Windows 7) and all the developers are making commits to the source tree. Without identifying marks, there’s no way to tell which team compiled which build. Enter Source Depot. At the time, Source Depot was a new way to keep track of who was doing what by adding build labs to the development team. When it was first introduced and up until the Longhorn reset, there were seven different labs:

Lab 01: Kernel
Lab 02: Networking
Lab 03: Server
Lab 04: Management/Terminal Services
[Lab 05]: Main
Lab 06: User Experience
Lab 07: IIS/COM+

These labs, also known as VBLs, or Virtual Build Labs, served their purpose until the Longhorn reset. Each lab would develop their code independently of one another, later checking in all they had done when it was time to test the next Main build. During development of Longhorn, each of the teams aside from Main had an _n lab, where they would integrate code from each lab into Main. The system worked through development of XP, but later got quite convoluted and messy during the M6-M7 period of Longhorn. The fact that each lab developed independently of one another also didn’t help matters.

So, when the Longhorn reset came, they got rid of the VBLs and moved to FBLs, or Feature Build Labs. Each of the FBLs were, and still are, kept in much tighter sync with winmain thereby avoiding the sync issues Longhorn had. Instead of having to fit in with one of the seven groups, FBLs are near limitless. There are hundreds labs and sub-labs each, all working on a part of Windows.

Yes, yes, but what about the build tags themselves?

You’re most likely to see the build tag when you run a pre-release of Windows, like the Windows 8 Release Preview. The evaluation notice sits just above the clock and in pre-release versions of Windows, cannot be disabled. The notice will also show itself if you’re using a non-genuine version of Windows, in which case it drops the “Evaluation copy” text, or you can force it enabled by setting this registry key:

Code:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\PaintDesktopVersion = 1


A simpler method is simply to open the Run dialog and type in “winver”, without quotes of course. Since the Longhorn reset, Private builds and pre-beta builds have always shown a near-full build tag on both the desktop and in winver, whereas beta builds shorten it down to just the build number. These public releases of Windows still have the full build string in them, they’re just not immediately visible. You can find the full string in the Registry:

Code:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\BuildLabEx


I have the full tag. What now?

Let’s start off with an example build tag. Here’s one from Windows 8 Developer Preview:
Code:
6.2.8102.101.x86fre.winmain_win8m3.110830-1739.92eb4451821f0730


The version number: 6.2
The first number, 6, is the major version and is changed only when major overhauls of the entire Windows operating system have been made. To date, there have been only four of these major overhauls: Windows NT 3, Windows NT 4, Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 (NT 5) and Windows Vista/7/8/RT (NT 6). Yes, in case you didn’t know, there was no Windows NT 1.0 or 2.0. Probably to coincide with the release of Windows 3.1…

The second number, 2, is the minor version and gets changed much more often. For example, Windows Server 2003 is NT 5.2 because there are differences between it and its client counterpart, Windows XP, but the differences are not so major it requires a bump up of the major version.

The build number: 8102

Build numbers show how many builds have been made in a project. Build numbers only go up, never down and as mentioned before, have a tendency to jump by a couple hundred in between milestones. There’s really nothing special about most build numbers as they’re just a mark to differentiate between builds.

Some build numbers are special for two reasons: One is the cutesy category, and the other is the RTM-in-NT6 category. Cutesy build numbers include 950 and 1998 because they referenced Windows 95′s and Windows 98′s release years, and 2600 in XP, because it referenced 2600 Magazine. The other category is for a practical purpose: Service Pack bits. When Vista was introduced, it alsointroduced a requirementthat the RTM build number must be evenly divisible by 16 so they can encode low-level things into system files. Windows 8′s RTM build was going to be 8888 and a build was actually compiled with that number, only to find that 8888 is not evenly divisible by 16. When they noticed this, it was too late to go back to 8800, so they jumped to 9200 instead.

The build lab: winmain_win8m3

This section of the tag identifies which lab compiled the build. As mentioned previously, there are hundreds of FBLs inside Microsoft so it would be foolish trying to list every single one of them. Essentially, think of FBLs as smaller and more focused versions of the old VBLs.

The most common lab out there is the winmain lab, where code from all the FBLs gets stitched together. Recently, Microsoft has started tacking on a milestone marker to the end of winmain, just to keep track of which milestone the build belongs to. Here’s a list of the winmain milestone markers you’ll likely see:

winmain_winXmX indicates the build belongs to a certain milestone – win8m3 means Windows 8, Milestone 3.
winmain_winXbeta indicates the build is a Beta build
winmain_winXrc indicates the build is a Release Candidate build
winmain_winXrtm indicates the build is a Release to Manufacturing build
winmain_winXgdr indicates a GDR (General Distribution Release) build, seen when Windows Updates are applied.

The revision, or delta: 101
Just a number to keep track of how many times the build has been tweaked. In private builds of Windows prior to Vista, this number always sat at 1 for some reason. In Vista, they bumped it down to 0. When Microsoft pushes for a release, such as the RTM, this delta is very high as they push to fix as many bugs as possible before shipping.

The CPU architecture and build type: x86fre
This part tracks what CPU architecture the build uses. Today, Windows runs on three platforms: 32-bit (x86), 64-bit (AMD64) and ARMv7A. The architecture part changes depending on what CPU the build was compiled for. You may see x86fre, amd64 or armfre.

The second part, fre, does not notate the build is French as so many seem to think. In the Windows world, there are two build types: Retail and Debug. Microsoft, being Microsoft, calls these two types Free and Checked. The Free build is most likely what you’re using right now. It contains all compiler optimizations and if an error occurs, the OS traps it.

The Checked build lacks these optimizations and depends on a debugger to be attached to the system at all times. Because it lacks these optimizations, the Checked build is much slower, but it is much easier to debug when there’s a problem going on.

The date code: 110830
This date code is printed in YY-MM-DD, so it means that the Windows 8 Developer Preview was compiled on August 30th, 2011.

The time code: 1739
This is the time of compilation printed in 24-hour time. In 12-hour time, the build was compiled at 5:39 PM.

The Rights Account Certificate GUID: 92eb4451821f0730
This final part of the build tag was introduced in Windows 8 Milestone 2. It is a hash generated as part of system licensing and can be used to trace builds if the default key was not used. The hash is also used to enable hidden features on a per-employee basis, so each individual employee gets a different hash.

That’s the end of the dissection. Yes, I realize I wrote what is essentially an entire essay on nothing more than an identifying mark. But so what? I write in hopes someone will learn from it.

Thanks to everyone in the original thread who pointed out flaws, suggested things and added things. It really helps.

Special thanks to linuxlove and beige-box for providing this updated lesson! Again, find the original post by linuxlove here!

_________________
James *~*~* BA Moderator | Alternate History writer


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Official, WIP] The Microsoft Grand Reference Guide        Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:41 pm 
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Microsoft Licensing Info and FAQ
Original posts by Vista Ultimate R2 and casey_boy, September 2008

Retail (full):
    * Comes with the full box, manual, holographic discs and licence, usually for one computer. This is obtained by buying the product on its own (without bundled hardware) from a shop or online retailer.
    * Can be activated as many times as required as long as it is not installed on more computers than the licence allows at the same time. The first activation can normally be done using the online service while subsequent ones require you to call the telephone activation service and confirm that you are not activating on a second PC without having removed it from the first.
    * Windows Vista: the same retail key can be used for both x86 and x64 editions. Ultimate is supplied with both DVDs in the box while the other editions come with x86 and the x64 DVD can be ordered from here for the cost of shipping/handling
    * Any retail disc/download will work with any product key for the retail edition of the same product.

Retail (upgrade):
    * Same as retail (full), except that a qualifying previous version of the product must be owned for the licence to be valid. The qualifying products will be outlined on the packaging of the upgrade. The older version may not be used at the same time as the product that the upgrade is for, the two licences together make one full licence for the new product.
    * Supplied in the same packaging with the same manual and disc as the retail (full) editions, except with "upgrade" branding
    * No proof of ownership is required for purchase, but the installation will usually require the disc of the older product for checking during the installation. This is different in Windows Vista, where the upgrade must instead be initiated from within a running copy of Windows rather than being able to be installed by booting from the DVD. However, you may still perform a clean installation by starting the installation from here but then installing to a different partition, it does not have to be an "upgrade" installation.
    * The upgrade Vista disc is identical to the retail disc, it is the key that enforce the restriction of not being able to install while booted from the DVD, so it is possible to circumvent this restriction by booting and installing without entering a key, then starting the installation again from within the newly-installed version of Vista and entering the upgrade key, as Vista is deemed to qualify for an upgrade to Vista (even the same edition). However, it is only legal to do this if you do own a copy of Windows 2000 or XP that qualifies for the upgrade licence.

OEM:
    * These should only be sold bundled with a new PC; however you can usually buy them separately or with a nominal piece of hardware from most online computer parts stores. They cost significantly less than retail editions.
    * Unlike retail editions, these are only to be used on the PC with which they were originally supplied (ie they should only allow you to activate them on the first PC on which they were activated). However, the telephone activation service will sometimes allow activation on a different PC although this does break the licence - you will need to tell them that you have replaced most/all of the parts in the original PC including motherboard, hard drive and graphics card. However, be aware that they can tell that you are activating it on a different PC to the one(s) on which you have previously activated it. The product key is on a COA which must be stuck to the PC for it to be valid; this is also aimed at tying the licence to the original PC. It is legal to re-activate with a different motherboard if the motherboard in the original PC needs to be replaced; normally the motherboard is what they use to identify a PC though ie you can upgrade everything except this without it becoming a different PC that needs a new licence (otherwise there would be nothing to stop you effectively replacing the PC gradually but using the same licence).
    * OEM editions are supplied on Microsoft holographic discs (for Vista these are identical to the retail DVDs and all the DVDs take both OEM and retail keys) if you buy them yourself or they are supplied by a small "system builder", on OEM-branded discs (which range from being the same as the MS ones with just a few OEM branding customisations to BIOS-locked "recovery discs" which will only install on the PC that they came with and contain a lot of non-MS crapware) from larger OEMs (MS only allows the larger OEMs to distribute these now whereas they used to be able to offer either), or simply as "recovery partitions" on new PCs. If you only have a recovery disc/partition, the holographic OEM disc can be used with your key to reinstall the product, while with Vista the retail disc can also be used. The versions that you buy normally come in a standard DVD case rather than the full box of the retail edition.
    * OEM Windows versions are supplied as either x86 or x64. However, Vista keys will work with both editions if you can obtain the disc/download, though your OEM or MS will not supply you with that disc. Windows XP professional x64 Edition uses its own set of keys.
    * Most new PCs are installed with Windows by the manufacturer from one image to thousands of machines and therefore have a "multiple activation key" in them. This is a pre-activated key locked to that OEM and the recovery discs will also often include this key. The key on the COA is therefore just proof of licence, or you can use it if you reinstall from a different disc or from an MS holographic one that has no keys integrated. As this is a "virgin" (never activated) key, it should be possible to activate on any other PC at least once, as MS will have no way of knowing that it is not the PC that it originally came with.
    * The COA is the proof of licence and must be supplied with any OEM copy of Windows, even if no disc is included.

Volume Licensing:
    * Available to organisations which need five or more licences for a product.
    * One product key is used for all of the installations.
    * Usually supplied as a download or on Volume Licensing-branded discs.
    * Identical to the retail versions except that the set of keys taken is different and they do not usually need activation with Microsoft. Sometimes the disc is the same disc and the key determines the installation type, while with other eg Windows XP a different disc is required and will only accept VLKs.
    * Windows Vista uses VLK 2.0 which does require activation. This can be done online in the same way as the retail version of the product or against a Key management Server (KMS), usually located on the organisation's network. A KMS must first be activated itself with Microsoft, then PCs can activate with it rather than MS. VLK copies of Vista need to check in with the KMS at least every 180 days to remain activated. Vista Business and Vista Enterprise are available as VLK versions and separate discs are required for the installation; Enterprise is only available as VLK. A common way that Vista has been pirated is to install Vista Enterprise and then activate it with KMSes that have been set up in China (KMS activation can also take place via the internet as well as on the local network).
    * Software Assurance is a subscription-based scheme where large organisations can subscribe and always receive the latest versions of Windows etc.

MSDN/TechNet/Partner Action Pack:
    * These subscriptions provide the subscriber with most of Microsoft's software, although most of it is only for "evaluation" (ie non-commercial) use, albeit not time-restricted like a trial. It is many times cheaper to buy the software this way than as retail or OEM.
    * Usually supplied as a download or on non-holographic discs branded with the type of subscription.

Trial:
    * Similar to subscription licences, except a time limit is hard-coded into the software. Evaluation software is usually identical to the full product except for the time limit, and can usually be upgraded to the full version by purchasing and entering a retail product key.
    * Some evaluation editions eg Windows Server 2008 are identical to the retail DVD and are simply installed without a product key, using the grace period for activation as the trial period. A retail key can then be entered and activated as normal.
    * Generally not for commercial use other than for evaluation purposes.

Not for resale:
    * You will sometimes see discs that are "genuine" but say something like "not for retail or OEM distribution" or "unlicensed software: illegal without separate licence from Microsoft" on them - these are "fulfilment" discs that contain the full version of the product and often include a product key for installation, but they are to provide discs for customers such as those with VL agreements and so they should not be sold or used without such a licence. Likewise, discs to provide other editions of the same product eg the CD and 64-bit versions of Vista are marked as not for resale as they should not be used as a separate copy of the product, they belong with the original disc and licence that they were ordered with.
    * Promotional copies given out at Microsoft events will also be marked as "not for resale" - these are usually the full retail product and may or may not be licences for commercial use, but do not usually have the full packaging.

Academic Retail

*Academic licenses can be bought for Full or Upgrades. Sometimes academic licenses entitle users to less functionality or more specific functionality then the regular product (such as Microsoft Office), or they can be exactly the same product as the usual retail version (such as Microsoft Vista).
*Academic licenses are considerably cheaper than the usual retail versions.
*Academic licenses are only available to Students studying at primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. The license also applies to parents/guardians of qualifying students and, in some circumstances, teachers and academic staff.

Have fun and stay legal! :)

Please check before purchasing licenses that they are suitable for your needs; this information is intended as a guide only. Some of this information may be inaccurate as of 2013, so please make sure you read your license before use!

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James *~*~* BA Moderator | Alternate History writer


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Official, WIP] The Microsoft Grand Reference Guide        Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:50 pm 
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Beta Keys
Original topic by Beta Freak, January 21, 2007, but contributions have been made by many BA members, such as Rob Jansen, namronia, hounsell, Alexis, etc... Thank you!

Windows 95 (Windows 4.00)
    58s (alpha)
    Beta Site ID: 990036
    Password: 7dfc2af1d


    81 (Alpha)
    Beta Site ID: 140743
    Password: d8f20fe0a


    Beta 1:
    Beta Site ID: 101907
    Password: 999b70c9e


    Beta 2:
    Beta Site ID: 186349
    Password: 94730fb34


    Beta 3 + RC1:
    808-6188192

Windows 98 (Windows 4.01/4.10)
    Windows 95 OSR3 build 1132:
    30195-OEM-0005315-51142

    1650, 1658, 1676, 1681:
    111-1111111

    1691 (RC0):
    11111-11111-11111-11111-11111

    1702 (RC1):
    HGBRM-RBK3V-M9FXV-YCXDK-V38J4

    1708-1723:
    BBH2G - D2VK9 - QD4M9 - F63XB - 43C33
    HGBRM - RBK3V - M9FXV - YCXDK - V38J4


    1720-1998:
    HGBRM-RBK3V-M9FXV-YCXDK-V38J4
    320DD-23GW3-2H9CJ-39FNE-3E3IS
    K4HVD-Q9TJ9-6CRX9-C9G68-RQ2D3


    OEM SR1 Beta 1, OSR Beta Refresh, OSR1 2106, OSR1 2126, OSR1 2131, OSR1 2150, OSR1 Beta 2
    C9TCH-G72Y6-G4DQK-QCQRM-K7XFQ

Windows Millenium (Windows 4.90)
    Millennium 2348:
    RBDC9-VTRC8-D7972-J97JY-PRVMG

    Millennium 2363:
    RBDC9-VTRC8-D7972-J97JY-PRVMG
    B6BYC-6T7C3-4PXRW-2XKWB-GYV33
    FJG8K-TH8KW-JRV8V-M82BM-HK28Y
    MRG7K-KT77F-KWBQR-GU29W-QYY99


    Millennium 2380 (Beta 1):
    RBDC9-VTRC8-D7972-J97JY-PRVMG

Windows 2000/2003/XP/Whistler (NT 5.x)
    Codename: Neptune 5111:
    W7XTC-2YWFB-K6BPT-GMHMV-B6FDY

    Whistler 2296:
    QB2BW - 8PJ2D - 9X7JK - BCCRT - D233Y

    Whistler 2410:
    F6PGG - 4YYDJ - 3FF3T - R328P - 3BXTG

    Whistler 2462-2465:
    DW3CF - D7KYR - KMR6C - 3X7FX - T8CVM
    QB2BW - 8PJ2D - 9X7JK - BCCRT - D233Y


    Whistler 2468:
    VXKC4 - 2B3YF - W9MFK - QB3DB - 9Y7MB

    Whistler 2469:
    Q3R8Y - MP9KD - 3M6KB - 383YB - 7PK9Q

    Whistler 2474 - 2499:
    DTWB2 - VX8WY - FG8R3 - X696T - 66Y46

    Whistler 2486:
    BJXGH - 4TG7P - F9PRP - K6FJD - JQMPM

    Whistler 2502-2504:
    JJWKH - 7M9R8 - 26VM4 - FX8CC - GDPD8

    Whistler 2505-2509:
    BJXGH - 4TG7P - F9PRP - K6FJD - JQMPM

    Whistler 2505 & 2526 (RC1 + RC2):
    F6PGG - 4YYDJ - 3FF3T - R328P - 3BXTG
    BFB47 - 3C7FY - WHR6H - G9X4D - 7TTFJ
    RK7J8 - 2PGYQ - P47VV - V6PMB - F6XPQ


    Whistler 2542:
    Personal : BQJG2 - 2MJT7 - H7F6K - XW98B - 4HQRQ
    Professional : BX6HT - MDJKW - H2J4X - BX67W - TVVFG


    .NET Server build 3718:
    K4RBR-F3K42-M9RXG-48TPR-H6BPB
    C4C24-QDY9P-GQJ4F-2DB6G-PFQ9W


    Home Server Beta 2 (Build 1301):
    XT84R-G4HDQ-F68KH-2PTX2-H3M7Y
    RV6Q6-KV4BC-FF27H-2VJ29-XM7MM

Windows Vista (NT 6.0)
    3683: CKY24-Q8QRH-X3KMR-C6BCY-T847Y

    3705: FGQQD-FDFWC-P276Q-GXHGW-4JPJM

    3706: FGQQD-FDFWC-P276Q-GXHGW-4JPJM

    3718, 4008, 4015, 4029, 4051: CKY24-Q8QRH-X3KMR-C6BCY-T847Y

    4074, 4093, 5048: TCP8W-T8PQJ-WWRRH-QH76C-99FBW

    5112: TCP8W-T8PQJ-WWRRH-QH76C-99FBW
    Q8WDJ-TR4KJ-X8WHM-GVGV3-H74C3


    5219: GKFV7-F2D9H-QKYXY-777P3-4M73W

    5231: TGX39-HB48W-R29DH-6BVKB-3XFDW
    GKFV7-F2D9H-QKYXY-777P3-4M73W


    5259: TGX39-HB48W-R29DH-6BVKB-3XFDW

    5270:
    Client: R4HB8-QGQK4-79X38-QH3HK-Q3PJ6
    Server: WBVG8-4JPQB-6HJ6H-XH7YY-D2GQY

    5384, 5600, 5744: 3YFJ7-3486F-7488V-3VDMF-2PJMW
    PQ3WY-TTRJG-677GJ-8K2CT-C8XJV
    VP3W6-62WBD-FRV8T-XV3R2-CCH6P

Windows 7 (NT 6.1)
    [None yet]

Windows 8/8.1 (NT 6.2 and NT 6.3)
    [None yet]


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 PostPost subject: Re: [Official, WIP] The Microsoft Grand Reference Guide        Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:46 pm 
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Useful Links

How to change the BIOS Date/Time on Virtual PC and VMWare.
How to change the BIOS Date/Time on VirtualBox
How to decode Microsoft ISO labels
Enable Start Button and Menu on Chicago 73g
How to install Nashville 999
Fix NDIS Windows Protection Errors on Windows 98/Memphis Betas.
Enable stable DWM on Longhorn 5048

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