Where are Windows 7 activation file stored?
1. Copy and save or backup the following activation-related files to external storage medium such as USB flash drive or portable hard disk drive:
Note: For 64-bit (x64) OS,
%SystemDrive%\Windows\SysWOW64\spp\tokens\pkeyconfig\pkeyconfig.xrm-mshave to be backed up too.
2. Retrieve and record the product key used to install and activate the current Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.
Tip: If you can’t remember the product key used, there is plenty of product key viewers available to help.
3. Reinstall Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. When installation wizard prompts for a product key for activation, leave it blank (do not enter anything).
4. In the newly installed Windows operating system, stop the Software Protection Service in Services.msc or with the following command (run in elevated command prompt):
5. Navigate to the following folder:
net stop sppsvc
Note: In 64-bit (x64) operating system, also perform the action in
6. Take ownership and give user full control permissions (alternatively add grant full control right click menu item) to pkeyconfig.xrm-ms file.
7. Delete the original default pkeyconfig.xrm-ms file, and replace with the backup copy.
8. Navigate to the following folder:
9. Take ownership and give user full control permissions (alternatively add grant full control right click menu item) to tokens.dat file.
10. Delete the original default tokens.dat file, and replace with the backup copy.
11. Restart the Software Protection Service in Services.msc or with the following command (run in elevated command prompt):
12. Register the product key for Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 with the following command (run in elevated command prompt):
net start sppsvc
Replace xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx with the actual product key.
slmgr.vbs -ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
13. Windows will activated instantly, off-line. To check activation status, uses of of the following commands:
The accepted answer here does not seem to work as written and involves taking ownership of, and changing permissions on, several system files, which does not seem like a good idea (and also appears to be unnecessary). Additionally, it incorrectly answers the base question of "Where are the activation files stored?".
As for the core question, the activation token can be found at this path:
On a typical installation,
%WinDir%expands to C:\Windows:
The steps found in the post Windows 7 Activation Backup/Restore by Jonathan Vasquez describe how to backup the activation and restore it after a new install. They are simpler and do not require changing permissions (
tokens.datalready has full permission for everyone). I have verified these steps work on a Windows 7 Pro installation.
- Make a copy of the
tokens.datfile from the path listed above
- Make sure you know your Windows 7 product key. If you have lost it, you can find tools to retrieve it from the registry on Google.
- Reinstall Windows 7 and skip the product key entry
- On the new Windows installation, launch the Command Prompt as Administrator
- Run the command
slmgr -ipk <your Windows 7 product key>using the previous Windows 7 product key
net stop sppsvc
- Change into the folder where your backup of
tokens.datis and run
copy /Y tokens.dat
net start sppsvc
Windows 7 should now be fully activated using your previous key and activation token.
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