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Windows 11 installer source code just got dissected revealing secret OOBE shortcut

If you are one of those who like to know about the history of Windows or some of its underlying secrets, it is probably fair to say that this week has been a pretty good one for you, and if you are a regular Neowin reader, you are probably in that group.

A couple of days ago, we wrote about a fun experiment that shows the incredible backward compatibility of Windows. And earlier today, we published a story about a dive into the Windows 10 kernel that reveals why, despite Microsoft's claims, isn't slower or less performant than Windows 11.

Windows 11 promo

Following those, X (erstwhile Twitter) user Enderman who happens to be a security researcher, published their findings when they dug deep into the source code of Windows 11 OOBE (Out of Box Experience). The OOBE happens to be for the first Windows 11 24H2 build, 26052.

First up we have some OOBE shortcuts or hotkeys. While many Windows users may already be familiar with the Shift + F10 bypass trick for requirements, there are a few others too that are quite interesting. Here are a few more that most home users may not be aware of:

Audit mode:

Using the Ctrl + Shift + F3 hotkey, admins or users can access the Audit Mode inside the System Preparation Tool (Sysprep). Audit mode essentially allows making additional changes and customizations to the Windows image.

Windows Autopilot diagnostics:

Admins or users can also access the Diagnostics Page during OOBE using Ctrl + Shift + D. This page allows users to view troubleshooting details about the Autopilot provisioning process.

(A secret?) Developer Console hotkey:

While Microsoft documents the above two shortcuts on its website, it appears that Enderman managed to dig up one more that has not been publicly stated. Hence, one may say this is indeed a secret shortcut.

Similar to elsewhere, this JavaScript-based OOBE developer console can also be accessed by using "Ctrl + Shift + J" as revealed by a Global Event Listener in the code. The researcher decided to have a bit of fun here with the OOBE EULA (end-user license agreement).

Tweaking OOBE EULA using secret Dev console
Tweaking OOBE EULA using secret Dev console

You can view the full video that walks through various things at the source link below.

Source: Enderman (YouTube)

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