Product Identification (PID)
The PID (Product Identification) is used to install classic Windows and Server products and get rid of the timebomb in Windows Embedded products.
PID for Classic and Server Systems
On all classic license stickers (COA), the PID is printed on the label:
For older operating systems like Windows 2000, it is possible for an Embedded OEM customer to clone and deploy the images without changing the PID. So every system has the same PID and the PID is not corresponding with the one on the license sticker. This easy deployment is an advantage of the embedded OEM Channel.
With the launch of XP Professional and Server 2003, the products must be activated and every system needs an unique PID code in the system for the activation. Consequently, the Embedded OEM has to change all system PIDs to the unique PIDs from the license sticker (COA). Only exception are OEM customers with SLP (System Lockup Preinstallation) for higher quantities to preactivate the images via a system BIOS-String.
There is a PID Key provided in the OPK Kits (OEM Preinstallation Kits) as well. This PID id is used for installation and creation of a golden master image and can not be used for activation. Intention is to remove the key with sysprep after configuring the whole image.
PID for Embedded Systems
On the real Embedded runtime licenses (Embedded Thumb COAs), there is no PID printed on the label any more.
One PID Key is now printed on a separate flyer and is enclosed in the runtime license envelope. There is only one PID per envelope and the Embedded OEM can use this single PID number to enter it into XP-Embedded target Designer or Windows CE Platform Builder to unlock the image. (120/180 day timebomb). For WePOS system, the OEM customer can use only one PID key to install all systems. So every system must have the same PID and the PID does not correspond with the one on the license sticker. This easy deployment is an advantage of the embedded OEM channel. For Windows Embedded Standard 7, the OEM must request the PID per E-mail. Follow the instruction on the WES7 PID page.
PID Flyer in a Embedded license envelope: