We are trying to install Windows SBS 2011 (Czech) on the new IBM x3200 M3 machine. The ServerGuide v9.0 finished correctly and asked for the Windows SBS instalation DVD (OEM). After asking the usual things (language, keyboard, time, ... -- passes correctly). Then it wants a Product Key. After entering the sequence and pressing the Next button, the "Invalid product key" message appears.

The procedure was repeated with two legal copies of the Windows SBS 2011 with the same result. The product key for the Windows was obtained from the official label from the OEM bought in the boxed form.

When the installation is done without the ServerGuide (only the neccessary disk drivers added manually in advance), the same Windows SBS installs correctly -- the product key is accepted. The problem is that there is plenty of drivers that must be installed manually in the case. As the server goes to our customer, we would like to avoid the problems related to overlooking some driver, you know.

Is this a well known problem? Was it observed also for the English version of the Windows SBS 2011? How can it be fixed?

  • Off Topic: This comment is solelly to associate my account with this my first question. I was not able to log-in using my own account used at StackOverflow. So, the aker is me unregistered, and this comment by myself registered. – pepr May 18 '12 at 7:37
  • So you've validated that the key works, just that it doesn't work with the IBM "serverguide" installer tool? I'd suggest this is a question for IBM; either their tool is bugged or has some very specific requirements about what installation media it will and will not work with. – Rob Moir May 18 '12 at 10:20
  • @DJPon3: Actually, the Windows SBS 2011 installer is the one that failed. Also, this is the first time we have observed the situation. We did use IBM servers (x3400) both with non SBS and SBS servers without the extreme problem. It can possibly be caused by more problem in combination. I just want to find if anyone else observed the same, and what can possibly be the reason for the failure. – pepr May 18 '12 at 21:06

Although SBS 2011 is nominally supported by ServerGuide 9.0, as of 2012-05-14, no edition of SBS 2011 appears in IBM's matrix of "ServerProven" operating systems. This may indicate that IBM has not done extensive in-house testing of ServerGuide with SBS 2011. If the product key is rejected when you use IBM ServerGuide 9.0 but is accepted when you boot directly from the SBS 2011 disc, then the problem is with ServerGuide. The only possible resolution is to work with IBM on this issue. Of course, large vendors are not known for being particularly quick in responding to non-critical bug reports.

If you are concerned about missing a step when installing drivers manually, use a checklist.


We have had the same issue, and found the solution:

Simply leave the "Product Key" field blank for now (don't enter anything), finish the installation, and enter it afterwards.

It is a known issue in SBS 2011.

From Microsoft:

The cause of this issue is that it is occasionally necessary to generate new blocks of product keys for a Windows SKU. When this occurs the code to validate the product keys is updated and distributed via Windows Update. However, it is impossible to update the product key validation code on install media that has already been distributed. This results in a situation where the install media for SBS 2011 will generate a false product key failure for a key that is indeed valid.

To work around this issue all that is needed is to skip entering the product key during Windows SBS 2011 install. Once the OS is installed follow the steps below to add the product key:

Click Start, right click on Computer and select Properties.
On the System Properties screen scroll to the bottom and click on the link labled "Change product key".
Enter your product key when prompted and continue. SBS 2011 should now be activated."

Source: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2761006

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