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Sysprep on Windows 7 Product Key Duplication

Hey,
I work for a small company at the minute and we got 20 new Dell laptops each with their own unique Product key, the company doesnt want me using their volume license for this rollout.

There is a lot of software to be deployed on each laptop so I configured one laptop as my image source.  I then ran sysprep(which on Win 7 only seems to have the /generalize and /oobe features).  I used my cloning tool on reboot and captured an image, then transfered the image to one of the new laptops, it worked but the new laptop did not prompt me to enter its product key, I assume it duplicated off the first laptop.  I tried manually changing it but Windows 7 Ultimate wont activate with it now, this being the key stamped on the laptop.

The Laptops are Dell e6400 ATG, all with equal spec.

So basically I am wondering of how to create a simple answer file or whatever to prompt me for the Product ID on startup and not activate.

Would it be better to remove the Product ID of the original laptop used for cloning or is there a method to prompt for the Product ID on first startup?

Thanks in Advance!!
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TDC_LuCiFeR
Asked:
TDC_LuCiFeR
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2 Solutions
 
arixsinCommented:
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arixsinCommented:
Also, you can change the key during the activation process. If you choose the "activate by phone" option, there will be a button for "change product key". Enter the new key there, click ok, and then click back. You can then pick the activate online option.
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TDC_LuCiFeRAuthor Commented:
Hey, Sorry its Windows 7 64 bit also, just incase it matters.
Also if i restore the image to a few machines the Product ID on each machine changes and they are activated once the out of box experience startup finishes.
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TDC_LuCiFeRAuthor Commented:
Ok this is bizzare,
I used a keyfinder to find the key on the cloned laptop and its not the same as the cloned laptop but weirdly its not the same as the product key on the laptop i cloned from!!
I have no idea lol
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arixsinCommented:
Did you try changing the key like I suggested? Enter the OEM key on the machine and then activate it.
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TDC_LuCiFeRAuthor Commented:
Do the Dell DVDs that come with each Laptop have to be used to recover each one? Or is the license key etc stored in the recovery partition?
Confusing!
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TDC_LuCiFeRAuthor Commented:
In activation by phone on Windows 7 Ultimate, there is no option to change th key.  I used slmgr.vbs to change the key and it did,  but when i try and activate it says the key is invalid for activation, whatever that means!
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arixsinCommented:
Looks like you'll have to do it with sysprep using the link I included in my first post.
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TDC_LuCiFeRAuthor Commented:
Well I am confused by that,  What I basically want is an answer or "unattend.xml" file, something like that for Windows 7 Ultimate that will allow me to enter my product key when the newly cloned machine boots up, as I said my sysprep at the minute with the /generalize and /oobe applied does not do this, instead it copies everything over from the old laptop onto the new one.
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arixsinCommented:
Do you have a key entered in your sysprep.inf file? If so, it should be blank instead.
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TDC_LuCiFeRAuthor Commented:
I was looking into this yes!  I will get back to you on Monday when I'm in work and will definatly reward you with points.  Any other suggestions will be apperciated also.
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TDC_LuCiFeRAuthor Commented:
In Windows 7 this is now an XML file, e.g. unattend.xml,  I am unsure where to create this now though.
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TDC_LuCiFeRAuthor Commented:
No solution offered
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TDC_LuCiFeRAuthor Commented:
no solution
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sparskterCommented:
As far as I know, dell hard write the windows 7 licenses in the hard disks themselves.

So, you have the following:
- they are all dell
- they use OEM licenses
- you used: sysprep /oobe /generalize

When you restore the IMsge on the next laptop, windows 7 will find the license and activates by itself.
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