"Windows cannot read the <ProductKey> setting from the unattended answer file." W10 install error


Got this "Windows cannot read the <ProductKey> setting from the unattended answer file." when installing Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 32-bit/64-bit English USB on a freshly built Intel/ASRock computer. I have the printed product key but am never given a chance to enter it.

Just built the computer. Starts at BIOS as expected.

Just took the Windows 10 USB out of the shrink wrapped package purchased last week at Micro Center. Booted the new hardware on the Windows !0 USB. The computer boots on the Microsoft USB stick and displays the Windows 10 logo with the expected rotating dots. But then the "Windows cannot read the <ProductKey> setting from the unattended answer file." error appears.

The same Microsoft supplied USB stick offers a "Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool" which works as expected.

Tried different USB ports anyway and got the same result.

Any ideas about what the next step should be? M$ isn't particularly forthcoming about things like this.


Best Answer

  • ADO
    First Comment
    Answer ✓

    Thanks TSMike. You put me on the right track!

    Here's the back story:

    First of all the computer is composed of entirely new hardware -- everything but the case, New Intel i7, 2 x 16gig of new Ballistic RAM, new Intel M.2 drives on a new ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6e MoBo -- all from MicroCenter. Even the power supply from PC Power is new.

    i was puzzling over how to set the boot priorities on the ASRock There seems to b be no way to do that although the BIOS appears to recognize the two 2TB Intel 600 M.2 SSDs. The only other drives are two CD/DVD burner/readers (new Plextors). There are no other mechanical drives installed.

    Before trying to load Windows 10 I put the ASRock motherboard drivers and utilities CD in one of the CD/DVD burner/readers on the grounds that it might be self-booting and contain he answer to why the BIOS was "seeing" the M.2 SSD drives but not offering them in the boot sequence . The CD turned out to not be self=booting but *I forgot about it and left the CD in the drive*.

    That CD was why the Microsoft Windows 10 install USB stick produced the "Windows cannot read the <ProductKey> setting from the unattended answer file." error.

    Remove the CD, as you suggested ("most likely..reading ... from another location"), and the Windows 10 install USB stick ceased to error out.

    Nice catch TSMike!



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