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Deploying Windows 7 Oem image

I have 15 new computers with Windows 7    ***   OEM   ***   on them.  I want to setup one notebook with the company applications, printers, utilities etc.  I hoped to then run "sysprep /oobe /generalize /shutdown" so I could create a usable image that I could then duplicate to the other 14 systems.  I expected to then start up and be asked to enter the product key and the rest of the normal setup.  Instead it never requests the product key.  The product is already activated with the original key.  How to I get the systems to have the right keys or because it is a major name brand is it not an issue because of the way they do their OEM licensing?
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consystech
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consystech
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2 Solutions
 
asdlkfCommented:
Just make SURE you have DOCUMENTATION that states which machine hardware ID's are using which windows liscences and your fine.

Your EULA for VLK's states that you may be audited and asked to provide proof that you are not violating the liscencing agreement.

However, that said, you can't use your VLK on an OEM edition. Not that its not legal to do so, its just not going to be accepted by windows to do so.

There are several types of OS's, each that need their own key:

Retail: Needs a retail key; one to five activations per key.
VLK: Needs a Volume Liscence Key; Theoreticly unlimited activations; is sold to organizations with a negotiated limit on activations in practicality;
OEM: Needs no key. the key is hard coded into the OS. Used by DELL/HP/ETC...
Others: there were a couple other activation types I saw while inside MS.


That said; the only way to "change" your key to use your VLK on your OEM OS install is to format/reinstall to a VLK software disk set. The OEM software will not accept a VLK and vice versa.

There are key changers that will allow you to change your key within the same "type" of os (you can hit [Windows Key]+[Pause Break] and click [change product key] at the bottom of the screen to change it, but you will only be able to enter a key from a different edition of windows, not an edition of windows using a different liscencing mechanic.

-- asd
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lucius_theCommented:
If all of your laptops are of the same brand, and they all have Win7 OEM stickers on them (of the same version, Professional for example) then this will work. You will have no activation issues, and you're not violating the licence in that case.
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consystechAuthor Commented:
So to clarify a couple of things and make sure I understand.  First I do not have VLK.  Only the OEM licenses that shipped with the systems (they are Lenovos).  If I activate one of the systems, prepare all of the applications, sysprep it, then clone that image to all the systems will I have problems with having the same activation on all the systems?
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consystechAuthor Commented:
I did a setup of one of the other systems to verify something and found that the license was the same on both systems.  I am presuming that since they are the same I will not have any problem deploying the completed sysprepped image to all the stations.
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grayeCommented:
Wait.... are you staying that the sticker on the bottom of the PC that contains the OEM license key is the same?   I find that hard to believe.   Recall that the "Product ID" value (in the Control Panel/System) is not the license key.
Here is a thought...   do your cloning operation, and then go to each PC and re-enter the original OEM key for each PC
I'm not a licensing expert, but that seems to be appropriate
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lucius_theCommented:
"So to clarify a couple of things and make sure I understand.  First I do not have VLK.  Only the OEM licenses that shipped with the systems (they are Lenovos).  If I activate one of the systems, prepare all of the applications, sysprep it, then clone that image to all the systems will I have problems with having the same activation on all the systems?"

No, you won't have problems. This is because the OEM licences that come preinstalled on brand computers all have the same key.
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lucius_theCommented:
The sticker is not the same. It's different on all computers. But the actual activation key, that is contained on the recovery disc OS that you get with a PC, is the same. The preinstalled versions of Windows have the same key for the whole series of computers of one brand.
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consystechAuthor Commented:
Lucius is correct.  The stickers are different but the activation key appears to be the same.  So I can simply clone after sysprep and everything should be legal and happy right?
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lucius_theCommented:
Yep :)
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grayeCommented:
But, but... I thought the information on the sticker *was* the activation key!    What other key are you guys talking about?
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consystechAuthor Commented:
We're talking about the key that you see when you run a belarc or look at the Product ID listed in properties for My Computer.  Thanks Lucius and asdlkf.  You both helped answer my question.  Hope this helps someone else!
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lucius_theCommented:
@graye: you are right actuallly. The OEM code on the sticker is different on any computer. But, since there are tons of PC-s that come with Windows preinstalled, it would be comlicated for OEM developers if they had to make sure that every single computer that comes out of the factory has a different activation code. That would mean that each PC needs a different (preinstalled) activation code and that means no simple cloning will do when shipping PC-s. Another problem is that OEM producers would have to provide a different recovery CD for each PC, and that complicates things. This is an arrangement that simplifies it for manufacturers - they use pre-activated Windows installations on a series of computers, all of them actually use the same Windows instalation, same key. To counterfight piracy, when such cloned installation boots on any computer it checks the special portion of the BIOS on the computer to determine if that computer is elligable for the pre-installed licence. That's why I asked if computers were of the same brand (and, possibly, series or model).

Anyway, you can choose to install Windows from a fresh Windows OEM media on any such PC and use the OEM code from the sticker, then online (or telephone) activation is needed. It will activate several times with the same key on same (on nearly the same) hardware, but after that you need to call support for activation. So you're right about OEM iof you think of it this way.

The procedure I explained first works in a different way, the activation servers are never contacted and Windows is, kind of, pre-activated.
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