xp sysprep on machine with vista coa

Posted on 2009-12-29
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
I have 20 dell latitudes that came preloaded with a xp pro downgrade but have vista coa sticker on them. I setup one computer with the xp pro configuration I wanted to image to all the other computers. I followed microsofts instructions on using sysprep to get the machine ready to clone. The problem is when the computer starts up it is asking for the xp product key and when I enter the vista key on the sticker it says it is not correct and only gives me the option of re-entering or shutting down. I would call the microsoft activation line but their support site explains how to get into the activation wizard and select activate by phone to get a regional number. I do not have the option on the sysprep computer to activate by phone. Does someone have the activation number wriiten down or is there another way around this. I really do not want to format this machine and start over.
Question by:kfallsrob
    LVL 62

    Expert Comment

    by:☠ MASQ ☠
    Assuming these are Vista Business, Ultimate or Enterprise OEM CoAs then strictly you'll need to activate them all separately by 'phone giving an unused Vista Activation Key for each one.
    Try opening a Run box on the machine and typing:
    slui 04
    to get the telephone activation process (and so the regional numbers)
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    But why do you enter VISTA's product key into XP? That would definetly NOT work. You need to have a valid Windows XP key, which of course we can't post here into this forum due to laws.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Another method: Make an image which you DON't sysprep. This way, it will not ask you for the product key, but you have to have identical hardware on all of the computers. After you deploy the image on the computers, you have to walk around and make a new SID to the computer by using the newSID utility.

    You can download it here:

    This way, you will do what sysprep does, but the difference is that sysprep clears out the product key and you not! :) You can try this. If the hardware is the same I think this will solve your problem.

    Accepted Solution

    Just got off the phone with dell and got the answer. Here is the link

    Expert Comment

    Below is a sample of a sysprep answer file, assuming "xxxx" is your valid XP key thats why mkrisz has a valid point Vista key on a XP machine?

       ProfilesDir="d:\Documents and Settings"



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