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creating a standard windows image

Hi,
I used to work in IT support of a large bank and when we had new PC's delivered for our users we installed a windows image which contained the OS, Office, other apps, policy settings etc.
I now run my own IT support company looking after small to medium sized businesses and would like to create a similar standard build with an OS, apps etc. The clients dont have volume licensing, we just buy PC's with OEM builds on them already - trouble is these OEM builds generally come with loads of bloatware which you dont need and slow the machine down. So what I am after if its possible is a way of making a build that will accept the OEM product key during installation and would be able to be installed on a variety of hardware - required drivers being installed after as nessecary. I dont know if this is possible but was wondering if anyone out there had done something like this?
Thanks, Andy
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activateahsd
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activateahsd
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Jackie ManCommented:
You do not have reimaging rights for OEM licences.

You must purchase at least one license of the Microsoft software that you want to reimage under your Open License authorization number or Open Value, Open Value Subscription agreement number. This purchase is required to obtain the media and necessary Volume Licensing Keys (VLK(s)) .

Source: http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/d/4/3d42bdc2-6725-4b29-b75a-a5b04179958b/reimaging.docx

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Jackie ManCommented:
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noxchoCommented:
Go on and buy Microsoft Volume License for Windows. You will save lots of nerves and money if you avoid reimaging OEM licensed Windows.
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activateahsdAuthor Commented:
So does that mean that if I buy one Windows 7 license through Volume Licensing then I could use that software to create a system image for multiple computers? Would the imaged PC's still need a product key and if so would that be the OEM one they came with?

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Jackie ManCommented:
According to leew, it says:-

"To create an image, you are NOT required to purchase a volume license for all systems - a single copy (or single order of the minimum) gets you the necessary Win7 Pro volume license media for which to build the image which you can then deploy to all systems that have Win7 Pro on it.

Alternatively, you can purchase Software Assurance (SA) for the new systems within 90 days which then, if I'm not mistaken, permits you to use Win7 Enterprise instead of Pro and you can create an Enterprise image and deploy that.  SA costs, I believe about $100 per system and provides some additional benefits including "free" future upgrades.

You can also look at deploying via or in conjunction with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit - which would allow you to deploy applications without necessarily being part of the image.

finally, you CAN image OEM versions for redeployment to the same make/model system AND without modification to that image (meaning, the system comes in, complete the out-of-box setup, sysprep, re-image; you CANNOT do so much as add a shortcut or favorite but it was uncertain as to whether you could apply Windows Updates (as discussed in a meeting with some MS licensing folks I attended at the beginning of the month).

DISCLAIMER: Licensing advice offered here is a "best effort" and based on the understanding of the respondents. Licenses can change and we may not be aware of these changes or may misunderstand them. Further, licenses can differ by country and/or region and what we understand to be true in our region could be false in your region. "they told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid defense in a software audit.  All licensing questions should be confirmed with the appropriate licensing authority (the maker of the software/issuer of the license). "

Source: http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/Q_26917579.html

In short, it is just in theory that at least you buy one licence for VL, but in practical, the minimum order is 5 licence for VL.
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Jackie ManCommented:
Would the imaged PC's still need a product key and if so would that be the OEM one they came with?

YES and in order to use the key from VL, your OS for VL purchase must be at least Windows 7 professional (i.e. the bundled OS of your new computers should be Windows 7 professional or above as there is no VL for Windows 7 Home Premium or below)
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noxchoCommented:
I assume you would need to restore the created image as well. Especially if you are considering about deployment then yes, volume license should cover this.
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