Sysprep 2 and activation grace period

Posted on 2006-07-05
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
We have been using sysprep for some time now and when an image is downloaded the grace period is always reset to 30 days. I have now applied SP2 for WinXP to our new image and run sysprep and the imaging process in the same way as before; which is Use Mini and Reseal, but now my grace period for activation has ticked away each day.

I have tried running sysprep with the various switches but still get the same result. I am using Windows XP OEM software so the Key is entered at startup.

Am I missing something or should I use a different version of sysprep? Thanks for any help
Question by:CRPM
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Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 17041244
Its doing exactly what its supposed to? its OEM sysprep starts the WPA timer (period)
the only way around this is to build the image with a volume licenced copy of XP

Author Comment

ID: 17041402
This is not how it worked before though. Every image that was distributed always had 30 days. Has something changed?

Expert Comment

ID: 17042911
were you always using new pc's to make the images before and now you are possibly recreating the image on an existing pc?  if so, then that is why now the grace period is not 30 days.  
if it was a new pc you were making the image from then you would have full grace period.  However if you were updating an image and using an existing pc that had already been imaged, then this is why the grace period would be less than 30 days.  
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Expert Comment

ID: 17043493
If im not mistaken, the initial dell image is done with a VL key dell is authorized to use. Therefore, if you use the dell cd on a rebuild, you change from VL to OEM.

With sysprep, you have to use a VL cd or you will be required to register each time.

Author Comment

ID: 17043586
We send our own images to Dell to put onto all our PC/laptops we order. Prior to installing SP2 we always had 30 days to activate any PC. We would always have to enter the OEM CD Key during the sysprep startup process which I know is essential without a VL.

They have all been built with OEM software and the only modification on the old image is SP2 plus all security updates etc. The OS is the same.

Expert Comment

ID: 17043628
well if dell is doing it themselves, then it must be something with sp2 or with dell themselves.  it might be worth asking your rep from dell if they changed their policy.  

Author Comment

ID: 17043652
I do the sysprep and send them an image. I am busy updating it and have SP'd it etc and now it has begun decrementing the activation days. Nothing to do with dell really.

Am I correct in assuming that a sysprep'd image when used should always begin with a 30 day activation period?

Expert Comment

ID: 17044069
found this link that might help;en-us;302577

this is a clip from that link,

"• -activated - Do not reset the grace period for Windows product activation. Use this parameter only if you have activated the Windows installation in the factory.

Important The product key that you use to activate the Windows installation must match the product key that is located on the COA sticker that is attached to that particular computer. "

by that statement i would think that the grace period should actually be reset to 30 days unless you use that switch.  

Expert Comment

ID: 17044075
i believe i just found your answer

"Product Activation with Retail Media
Windows Product Activation is designed to work with drive imaging products that are available from third-party manufacturers. You can use the Sysprep utility that is included with Windows XP to reset activation up to three times.

Note The Sysprep.exe utility is located on the Windows XP distribution CD-ROM in the Support\Tools folder in the file.

After Windows XP is imaged and then deployed, Windows Product Activation initiates the activation timer, which resets the installation ID (and enables the full grace period) at first start after the installation of Windows XP is complete on the target computer. Unlike Volume Licensing, unique product keys are required for each of the target computers. However, a manual telephone call is not necessary as long as the target computers have Internet connectivity and the product keys are valid; in that case, the computer activates online automatically.

For additional information about how to use the AutoActivate parameter in an unattended installation, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: "

Accepted Solution

kkattfish earned 500 total points
ID: 17044087
sorry forgot the most important part

"Note On the fourth time that you run Sysprep.exe on the same media, you receive the following message:
Your grace period limit has been reached and will not be reset.";en-us;299840 

Author Comment

ID: 17044677
Thanks. I saw the message pop up but was not sure if it applied to XP or sysprep. Can this be reset?
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 24256542
I know this question is long-since closed, but additional information for those dealing with SysPrep and OEM installations of Windows XP please read this Microsoft TechNet Article:

You also seem to be able to ignore the "Your grace period limit has been reached..."  error if you use the OEM key listed in this TechNet article.

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