Windows 10 setup has failed to validate the product key

Other options apart, installing and upgrading Windows 10 using ISO files has its own importance. The ISO file can be used for a clean install, repair upgrade, or edition upgrade. In case of the latter two, users have reported an issue where the setup initiates fine but after the “We’re getting some things ready” screen, they get the following error:

Setup has failed to validate the product key

Windows 10 setup has failed to validate the product key

Now we cannot do anything this stage other than a clean install, though the system could be restarted with its original settings again.

Windows 10 setup has failed to validate the product key

If you are facing this issue, restart the system and try the following preliminary checks:

1] Verify that the latest Windows Updates are installed on the system.

2] Run the SFC scan on the system. System File Checker helps detect and repair damaged system files.

3] Delete the temporary files. To do so, press Win + R and open the Run window and type temp. Press Enter to open the temporary files window and delete all the files.

Repeat the process with the Run commands %temp% and prefetch.

4] If it is for the edition upgrade, we could perform it using Windows Update instead of the ISO. Though if you were considering the ISO file in the first place, you must have known your reason right.

5] For domain-joined systems, remove them from the domain temporarily. A good reference to help with the same could be checked on Microsoft’s website here.

6] Remove all third-party anti-virus software of the system temporarily to isolate the possibility of their interference.

If all of the above-mentioned attempts don’t work, we could try the following fix. However, doing so involves a clean install of the system so it is advisable to backup your data well in advance.

1] Extract the ISO file using Ashampoo ZIP free decompression software.

2] Open a Notepad file and copy-paste the following content in it:


Windows 10 setup has failed to validate the product key

3] Save this Notepad file by the name ei.cfg to the Sources folder inside the setup ISO file.

4] Run the setup.exe file to start the installation wizard. You could also try making a bootable USB out of the file and run that USB for a repair or re-install.

Let us know if this helps you!

Posted by on , in Category General with Tags
Karan Khanna is a passionate Windows 10 user who loves troubleshooting Windows problems in specific and writing about Microsoft technologies in general.


  1. Drtirder

    I just want to say of all the online guide this one seems to be working! Thanks for creating and posting!

  2. Adam Harvey

    Thank you good sir. You are a life saver. The ei.cfg worked like a charm.

  3. Gurmeet Singh

    Thanks man, its working great.

  4. cvernon

    I had a Lenovo T450s with Windows 7 Professional OEM version. I tried a lot of things but what finally worked was to burn an ISO image to DVD then add the ei.cfg file with the following to that DVD. That was the only file I had to add and I had to do nothing other than that. The contents were:

  5. jack sparrow


  6. Jason Pepper


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