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<SkipRearm> usage for Imaging Windows 7

Dean_C used Ask the Experts™
Sorry for the confussion I must seem to ooze but I am trying to grasp the use of <SkipRearm> and it's impact on my imaging.

I am attempting to image in the same manner as I did with XP...  One 'master' image which can be installed on any computer that the image was intened for and be updated over time (normally 3 or 4 times a year).

From what I have read elsewhere my understanding is that once I have created an installation from scratch I need to set <SkipRearm> to 1.  This would prevent the 'master' image created from the sysprepped Windows install from rearming and using up one of 3 rearms.  If this 'master' image was used to create an 'master' image there would be no issue with rearming.

I have problems understanding the following:
     1.  Does <SkipRearm> need to be set to 0 for a 'production' image?  If so do I need to keep 2 images, one 'master' (skiprearm = 1) that can be updated and one 'production' (skiprearm = 0) that is actually used to image other computers?

     2.  If the 'production' image needs to use SkipRearm = 0 then is it possible to manually rearm the 'master' image when installed on a computer?  This would leave me with a single image that can either be updated or used.

I currently support about 40 computers and the computers are imaged for users.  We use MAK volume licencing with Windows Ent SP1 x64.
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You may be able to avoid updating the image by deploying and then re-capturing by using the Dism tool. It allows you to apply hotfixes, patches, driver adds and updates etc.

In answer to your question, if you wanted to skip the rearm then you may need two images if you aren't using something like WDS to deploy as with WDS you can just change the unattend XML when you wanted to. Also, to manually rearm you just need to open an elevated command prompt and type:

slmgr -rearm
Adam LeinssSystems Administrator

Bring your image into a virtual machine and then snapshot it before your sysprep it: problem solved.  Or switch to KMS licensing and you get unlimited rearms.  Just need 25 or more computers for KMS to work.


One other thing that I do has me wondering if it is in conflict with what  I am trying to do.  

I use FirstLoginCommands in oobeSystem section of unattend.xml what issues commands to slmgr /ipk XXX and then slmgr /ato.  

Since these are a MAK volume licence and they are authenticating, do they negate the need to rearm? Or is this going to cause problems down the road?
Adam LeinssSystems Administrator

You need to rearm regardless of using MAK or KMS.

Here's why: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929829

What if your company says: "Hey, we want to use KMS, go do it".  At that point you have 200 PCs in your company.  Now you have to run around and run sysprep /generalize on each of them to get unique CMIDs.

Or you can do it right to begin with and generalize your base image.

Also, if you have any software that relies on PCs having unique CMIDs: well, that could be another problem you will run into.