Windows 7 and imaging

Hello everyone,

I am about to image a large number of Lenovo laptops that have Windows 7 installed. They are installed using the OEM COA because we do not currently have volume license for Win 7 yet. I have heard issues with people trying to image using software like Clonezilla and Acronis. I have always used CLonezilla with no issues but never on Win7. I know that sysprep is the "by the book" method. But I have to add a new user and license key that always fails, even if it's the one the came with the laptop. Does anyone have any ideas or have a successful way of imaging machines in Win 7?

Thanks!
WindhamSDAsked:
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Adam LeinssConnect With a Mentor Senior Desktop EngineerCommented:
Yes, you should always use sysprep, otherwise you will have issues with KMS, WSUS, SCCM, etc. down the road.
Take a look here for instructions: http://blog.brianleejackson.com/sysprep-a-windows-7-machine-%E2%80%93-start-to-finish-v2
The Windows 7 on that comes with the Lenovo's should be SLP or "BIOS Locked".  You don't activate them online and you don't use the key on the bottom of the laptop.  The copies should stay activated as long as the SMBIOS string matchs up to what it needs to be (i.e. Lenovo BIOS).
Basically, it's SYSPREP->Capture Image with ImageX
Then, when deplyoing, Wipe Disk (diskpart or other utility)-> ImageX
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Christopher MartinezCommented:
I ran into this problem with imaging windows 7 andactivating the key. Even with a site license it was still a pain. Generally after a image you still have to manually go in and activate the key.  Good Luck
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WindhamSDAuthor Commented:
Hmm...That's disheartening, Hopefully someine has a way?!
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Adam LeinssSenior Desktop EngineerCommented:
Also see: http://www.leinss.com/blog/?p=173
I used this disc with Dell laptops and Windows 7 Home Premium (OEM).   I just left the boot loader code alone, used MBRWiz to wipe the disk and then GImageX to deploy the WIM.
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WindhamSDAuthor Commented:
That's worth a shot! Thank you aleinss, I will get on that and update you on what I've found.
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Kody-BurgCommented:
At the college that I work for, I setup what is called the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 and Windows Deployment Services. Using this, you can deploy customized images, automate the installation of software, and change the product key whenever you want with the push of a button. This is Microsoft's recommended way of imaging, and best of all, it's free!

I also highly recommend this because it has a simple, easy to use interface, and it's a legal way(according to Microsoft's license agreement) to change product keys and deploy OS's.

Best of luck,

Kody
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WindhamSDAuthor Commented:
I am assuming I can use any imaging software after I get the base image ready. Or do I have no choice but to use ImageX?
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WindhamSDAuthor Commented:
OK, I was able to go through the steps but I still have to put in the product key and call MS. I also can't keep the base Lenovo image, by policy, we wipe and load a clean OS without all the bloatware which usually causes issues for the end-user. Does anyone out there know how to make it so I don't have to call Microsoft, especially on COA keys that have never been used before?
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WindhamSDAuthor Commented:
I would like to award points, please do not cancel this question.
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