Retail XP Licences and Sysprep - No Site Licence


I have recently started a new job.
One of my tasks is to deploy 10-20 laptops.

From past experience I figured Sysprep and Ghost would be the way forward.

Each laptop has been purchased with a 'retail' copy of XP and a 'retail' copy of office.

I loaded XP onto one of the machines, plus any additional bits and pieces.
I sealed the sysprep and ghosted the image, not supplying the licence key as the onces I have are all seperate.

When trying to restore the image to a 'new' machine, the mini setup asks me for a PID, as expected.
When I try and enter the PID, as per the individual machine's licence, it returns an error telling me that I've entered the wrong key.

After some reading, I have kind of got the impression I should have built the image from a multiple licence disk??

Is there a way around this????

If I can borrow an OLA disk, can I then build the image from that and use my individual licences???

Sorry if the question isnt clear !


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When you went about creating your sysprep.inf file, how did you do so?   If you did it by hand, try doing it once by running the setupmgr.exe

When going through the program don't enter in a license key.  That way it will force you to enter one during setup.  If you attempted to specify a license key in your sysprep.inf you should remove it and rebuild your image.

Here is a bunch of good information on sysprep

I would also recommend partnering with microsoft, which is free, and just getting a volume license media kit from them.  They have programs for small companies as well as large ones.  It could save you some money in the long run.
equentinAuthor Commented:

Thanks for your reply.

I did use setup manager to create the file, I also left the license key blank.

When I load the image onto a machine, the only key that it will accept is the one that was used to build XP.

Does your image include SP2?  Are you using the new version of sysprep?  If you make a slipstreamed XP SP2 cd the file on it will have the newest version of sysprep.  

Also what options are you selecting when you run sysprep?  Usually I only check the options for mini-setup and pre-activated

Then I run a reseal operation.  Sometimes you might want to run the PnP during mini setup, but I usually don't.  Depends on how hardware independent your image is.  You definitely do NOT want to check NoSIDGen if you're planning on imaging.
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equentinAuthor Commented:
Yes the image has SP2 and all the latest windows update patches.

The version of sysprep I'm using is taken from the XP cd I used to build the machine, so probably a bit older.

How do I create a Slipstreamed XP SP2 CD / and what is one? :)

I tick 'Use mini-setup' and hit reseal.

A slipstreamed SP2 CD is basically a windows XP CD with SP2 already installed on it.

They're pretty easy to make if you follow these directions here

You'll need the SP2 installer file, an XP cd and a copy of ISO Buster (free).  You'll also need a burning program such as nero or easy cd creator.  The page has instructions for both.

For now, though, just download the new version of sysprep from Microsoft.

The slipstream CD will come in handy, so I'd recommend making one, but it takes a while to do.  Basically you can do a CD installation of XP and then not have to go through and apply any service packs to it.  Saves a lot of time.
equentinAuthor Commented:
I'll download the latest Sysprep and give that a try!

Thanks for your help, I'll be back with the outcome tomorrow!
equentinAuthor Commented:
I did sypreped the machine with the latest version.
Sent the image to another machine, booted, entered the mini setup, put the product key (from the bottom of the new laptop) in and it then returns the error saying i've entered the wrong product key.
The only key that will work is the one used to build the pre sysprep image.

Is this happening because the original CD is a retail copy and not a mupliple licence one?

Honestly I've never tried building an image from  a retail copy.  I'm almost positive that I can remember putting in retail keys into the volume license minisetup, though.

You can purchase volume license media from microsoft for not too much money.  I would recommend that over borrowing a copy as there are legal issues there.

Everything I'm reading says that you should be able to use a retail CD and retail keys in the sysprep process, though.
equentinAuthor Commented:
I'm retrying the whole setup procedure by running winnt32.exe and inputting the correct licence key for the machine and registering XP before I do the sysprep, so I'm hoping this may solve the problem, as the previous images were build from an unregistered that may explain why it kept asking for the original key !

Its not exactly clear !
equentinAuthor Commented:
OK Problem solved !!!!

The reason for it not working was because I was building the image from a 'un-registered' version of windows.
I activated online, syspreped, ghosted, fired the image at a new machine, entered a new PID and it went straight through !

I'm happy :)

Thanks everyone for all your help !

I should have picked up on that what you said you weren't checking the box for activation in the sysprep screen.  Yes, XP needs to be activated, and you're better off pre-activating each copy with sys-prep as it's one less thing you have to do.

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equentinAuthor Commented:
Easy mistake to make!

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