windows 7 oem deployment

my company has just purchased 250 dell optiplex 360 desktop computers. these all come with windows 7 pre-installed.  i want to install ms office, adobe reader, and a small number of other applications.  what is the best way to create an image and deploy this to all the computers?  does the version of windows 7 installed need to be activated?

we currently deploy out xp systems using wds.  the image was created by running sysprep on a machine i configured and capturing this to the wds server? will the same process not work with windows 7?
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iepaulAuthor Commented:
problem was with the wds server.  I attached a unattend.xml to the image and it now works
Yes. Windows Deployment Services works the same with Windows 7.  

When users first launch Windows, they will be required to enter the time zone information as well as the product id for activation.  I would suggest doing a couple in a test environment before deploying in production.
Are these systems coming with Windows 7 Enterprise?  If so and you have a Windows 2003 or higher server running, you could call your OEM and ask about volume activation.  Under volume activation, called KMS, you type a single volume license key into your Win 2003 or higher server then all your Win7 Enterprise clients activate against that.  In this case you wouldn't worry about supplying product keys to your builds anymore.
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iepaulAuthor Commented:
I am not making much progress with this.  I keep getting an error on the specalize section of the unattend.xml file.

I even took the instal.wim from the Dell Windows 7 disc and it gave the same error.
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