Silent packaged install of MSDN Expression Web 2 requires activation

AdoBeebo
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I've got a copy of MSDN Expression Web 2. If I install it normally it doesn't request activation as I expect. But when I package it and roll it out to a user across the network it prompts for activation on first launch. Is this something anyone else has experienced? I have tried exporting the activation registry key from a normal installation and pushing that with the network installation but it still requests activation.

It's a .exe and there is no supress switch for the activation wizard.
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I think the answer is in volume licensing, http://www.microsoft.com/expression/volume-licensing . I can't say for sure how it works with this product, but with other Microsoft products, such as Windows, there's retail copy that has to be activated by the user, and there's volume licensing copy with slightly different code, that does not require activation. Of course, volume licensing media is not as easily available.

Commented:

Are you launching the install silently when you package it up and roll it out?  There could be a difference (either intended or not) where the install is hitting different logic (custom actions or whatever) during a silent install.  As mentioned above, there are usually other versions available for this type of distribution.

Since it's not your install that is missing the activation, there's not going to be much we can do to 'fix' Microsoft's behavior.  Try rolling it out without it being silent and see if it activates then.  (it's not a solution, but it could at least be a diagnosis of the issue).
I guess Microsoft took some steps to make breaking their activation not this easy :-) Not to mention that this is most likely illegal.
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Commented:
Packaging an application for distribution illegal??? I'm intrigued as to why MS would then include silent install switches in their MSI file format designed for mass deployment? Moving on ...

The point is that the downloaded files don't need activation and there are multiple users with an MSDN subscription in the organisation. We manage other MSDN apps without this problem. It's only when packaged that they require activation.

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Commented:
jmcmunn

I'll give it a whirl in Full mode, thx
Please explain why volume licensing was not of any use.
I'm pretty sure that the answer is in ID:24899577 .

======================
http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/mpa.aspx

Product Activation Facts
...
Customers who acquire licenses for most products through one of Microsoft's volume licensing programs will not be required to activate those licenses.
======================

For the newest products like Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft has created so called volume activation, performed by the administrator - hence "for most".

Commented:

I would also say that the answer is likely relevant to ID:24899577.  However, the original question was how to make it not require activation when installed silently.  I think contacting the vendor through the page linked in this post would likely get a definitive answer.

Also, as stated in my original reply, you can check a log file during install in verbose mode or else verify if full UI mode has the desired result....and then contact the vendor regarding the possibility of getting it to work silently.  I do feel there were at least two answers here relevant to the solution, even if the answer was not what the original question 'wanted to hear'.
and to answer asker's question: "Packaging an application for distribution illegal??? " - packaging is not, but reverse engineering in order to change the way activation works, most likely, is. Including changing when it is required and when it's not.

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Commented:
I don't think anyone answered the question as I specifically mentioned MSDN, not Volume Licensing and as this isn't my first time at the fair, I know the difference and the restrictions. Of course VL would be the way forward, but I'm explaining that a prepaid MSDN download which doesn't need activation when installed from media, does all of a sudden once issued from a network share via a software deployment solution that dumps the software and an install script and runs it on the local client. Who in my company would take me seriously when I suggest we VL for the 50 users who already have a MSDN developer license because I can't make it install silently?
However, this is all moot now as Expression 3 is out, the user's have moved on, and it deploys silently. No offence, but nobody answered the question, just offered alternatives which in this case couldn't be considered.
vadimrapp1 - Reverse engineering?? You're getting carried away, you should certainly be more careful when saying things like that. Or at least bone up on what reverse engineering is.
coolleomod - if you're going to insist on giving the points to someone then give them to jmcmunn as he suggested useful diagnositc steps. But the question wasn't answered and so it shouldn't be entered into the site as a solution.
Sorry, I did not realize that you downloaded this product from MSDN subscription, i.e. that "MSDN Expression Web" means "Expression Web obtained by MSDN subscription" - thougt you wanted to deploy retail product and suppress activation. Of course, then this is simply a bug in the Microsoft installation, specifically in the place where it detects its origin and decides about the activation.
Commented:
Question PAQ'd, 500 points refunded, and stored in the solution database.

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