clone and move an xp drive to another computer

A non-profit just got 5 lenovo desktops without drives, but each has the xp pro sticker on the side. Can I setup 1 of the 5, and then clone it to the other 4 by entering their sticker number?  Can it be that easy?
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
If you have the Lenovo OEM installer for XP then you can use that, OEM installs shouldn't be imaged though.
you can but you should sysprep the first image and the clone it to the others. If you want to directly clone them avoid the machines to be in the same network (as the unique ID will be the same)
XP with SP3 install discs can install XP without entering a key. So if you have a XP Pro SP3 OEM disc, you can install it on one laptop without entering a key, clone the drive, then enter the COA key and activate them on each laptop.

Note that if the laptops are going to connect to a domain, you should sysprep the drive before imaging/cloning.
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Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
Microsoft OEM licences are NOT transferable. Once an OEM license has been installed/accepted/used you may NOT use it again in a different organisation/legal entity.

You should be using a new copy of windows.

That isn't true. OEM licenses are tied to the hardware. You can transfer the license with the hardware.

From the XP Pro OEM EULA:
The SOFTWARE is licensed with the HARDWARE as a single integrated product and may only be used with the HARDWARE... You may permanently transfer all of your rights under this EULA only as part of a permanent sale or transfer of the HARDWARE, provided you retain no copies, if you transfer all of the SOFTWARE (including all component parts, the media and printed materials, any upgrades, this EULA and the Certificate of Authenticity), and the recipient agrees to the terms of this EULA.

Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
I know exactly what it says and in about 07 out of 100 cases where this is attempted and you say "Do you have every piece of paper, every disk, every manual that was suplied with the laptop" the answer is no.

The exact legal definition includes ALL of those. If they are not included then the license can not be transfered.

It is far easier to offer advise that is correct and legal 97% of the time than to offer advise that is misleading and illegal 3% of the time.
jtabakmanAuthor Commented:
I think (I don't know) that the time it would take to do a sysprep / clone when balanced against just installing via CD's would be basically equal.  I can fire up all 5 once I have the drives installed with their own XP CD's, and just it via a KVM.  Am I close to being correct?  

You were still wrong in your original post, as you flat out stated that an OEM license couldn't be transferred, when it can, but perhaps with difficulty or with exceptions.

More info on transferring OEM licenses, from a 2008 blog post by Microsoft US Senior Manager Eric Ligman :
The original OEM Windows licenses that ships with the PC is bound to that PC. So, if you buy a Dell PC with an OEM Windows license, that OEM Windows license stays with that PC. If you sell the PC, you have sold the OEM Windows license with it. If you donate the PC, you donate the OEM Windows license with it. If you burn and destroy the PC, you burn and destroy the OEM Windows license with it. So just because you wipe the information clean off the hard drive before transferring the PC, it doesn't change the fact that the OEM Windows license stays with it. Because of this, yes, you certainly can reload the original OEM Dell Windows CD back onto the PC since the OEM Windows license is tied to it anyway. Just be sure that when you transfer the PC to the new owner that you also transfer all of the OEM Proof of license components with it as well.

That blog post linked to another page for "Proof of license components". Here's that archive page:
Pre-installed (OEM) Software
In order to establish and prove license ownership you should retain:

The End User License Agreement (EULA)—this is the agreement between the PC manufacturer and the purchaser.
The Certificate of Authenticity (COA)
Original media and manuals (if applicable)
Your purchase invoice and/or receipt

The EULA is included in the installer; you have to agree to it to re-install Windows. The COA is on the side of the PC. Most laptops of the past few years don't ship with media or print manuals for Windows anymore, so that's not applicable in this case.

Further info on OEM license transfer:
PC Transfer to Another End User
The entire PC, however, may be transferred to another end user, along with the software license rights. When transferring the PC to the new end user, the following must be included:

Original software media
Manuals (if applicable)
Certificate of Authenticity (COA)
It is also advisable to include the original purchase invoice or receipt. The original end user cannot keep any copies of the software.

Note that it says that it is "advisable" to have the original purchase invoice or receipt. So that's not necessarily needed either.

You can also check this site and associated PDF for transferring OEM licenses with a "refurbished" PC:

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Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
Refurb is a completely different matter, these were without a harddrive! No harddrive will NORMALY, again not always, mean no original install media as almost all ship preloaded. Therefore again invalidating the license transfer. You can NOT use any old CD and use the OEM key from the COA.

It is such a grey area that has more exceptions than a Windows App on a pc with dodgy memory that it is very very rare that a "Legal" transfer happens.  So I stand by my advice. You should go out and buy a new copy of windows.

Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
"I can fire up all 5 once I have the drives installed with their own XP CD's"

Do you mean the CD's that came with the laptops or the 'non-profits' own cd's that they have already?
jtabakmanAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for both your time, and expertise.  I think I'll do the install with the XP CD's and close this inquiry.
Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
Just to be clear, If the COA sticker is for an OEM install you MUST have the OEM CD for XP that was suplied with the machines.

Using the COA code with NONE OEM cd's will not work.
jtabakmanAuthor Commented:
Thanks....will do....
jtabakmanAuthor Commented:
Just wanted to see if the process could be done.  Although the original "clone" issue seemed to have some specific legal considerations, it appears to me that we are within our rights to reinstall the Operating system with the "activation" code given on the side of the individual PC's provided they are done so individually, and not from a clone.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Just going back to my original post, this is why you're being asked to use the Lenovo installation CD's
Nielsr must have shares in Microsoft  :o)

Got to throw in my 2 cents worth here.

I don't believe that Microsoft would prohibit the donation of these computers to a non-profit organization because a corporation wanted the original hard drives destroyed (shredded) for security purposes, especially if the OEM media (if it was even supplied) was donated as well.  More often than not, there is NO media, and you must make your own from pre-installed software.  If you didn't make your own, you can order it from the OEM (should it still be available).  These computers without the original hard drives is no different than a hard drive dying a natural death and ending up in the recycle scrap heap.

Microsoft understands security issues and also donates computers themselves.  If what Neilsr says is true, corporations would have to shred the entire laptop, not just the hard drive.  Microsoft claims to be Eco "Green" friendly, so this would inherently be against or contrary to MS company policy, would it not?

Can you imagine the embarrassment on MS's PR face should they be publicly involved in suing a non-profit organization over this "minor technicality" involving an operating system they are on the road to abandoning / supporting as soon as possible?  Really?  "Give me a break", as John Stossel would say.

Replacing a hard drive is not a problem to the OEM license.  Hard drives fail and get replaced all the time without issue.  If and when reactivation should become an issue, (which it probably will not) a phone call to MS will result in questions being asked, but when they find that simply the hard drive was replaced and the OS is installed on ONE computer and the original laptop only, they will allow the reactivation of the license.  More times than not, this isn't even a problem since replacing the hard drive doesn't change the hardware's signature enough to invalidate the license.

In another question, someone posted a link to a site that suggests MODIFYING Microsoft's original ISO so that any version of Win 7 could be installed.  Even when attention was drawn to this, the post was allowed.  If there is going to be an objection from MS about anything to do with one of their OS, I'm pretty certain this modification to their OS would draw it.  There's nothing "grey" about modifying / reverse engineering Microsoft's OS.  Its specifically not permitted.
Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
Nope my money is invested in far more profitable companies!!

I am however kept very upto date on licensing issues and current stance by the big corp software houses.  While you are quite correct that microsoft will almost certainly not come sue a not for profit org for installing software on donated equipment, it does not make it legal or correct.

My sole aim was to point out that there are 1001 issues when it comes to second user equipment and licensing and that the only real safe way to be legal is to buy a copy of windows and install it.

Furthermore i did not say that the lack of a hard drive was an issue other that to say that if no CD's were provided with the laptops then the lack of the hard disk meant a lack of the install media and therefore was a breach of the transfer of license yet again.

As to your point of A question about modifying was allowed and that wasnt objected to by MS.....  I did 105MPH on the motorway last week and wasnt arrested, does that mean its now legal??


Regarding, MASQUERAID suggesting acquiring original Lenovo recovery media, this MS article appears to agree that would be a legit way to make a legal transfered license.
If the original recovery media is not present, an end user can contact the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the PC to obtain the appropriate recovery media for a fee—subject to availability.

If what Neilsr says is true, corporations would have to shred the entire laptop, not just the hard drive.

This isn't strictly true. If the license is invalid, one could use an alternative OS, or obtain another license of Windows for use on the laptop instead of shredding it. Also, if the donating company had replaced the drives and placed the original disc image on the drive (including recovery partition), that would've been valid.

In fact, MS provides a licensing program for refurbishers to make sure refurbished PCs are properly licensed:

Alternatively, if it's decided that a new license is needed by the end user, volume licenses could be purchased, and potentially at a significant discount for a non-profit:
@ Neilsr:
As to your point of A question about modifying was allowed and that wasnt objected to by MS.....  I did 105MPH on the motorway last week and wasnt arrested, does that mean its now legal??

I was referring to Experts Exchange rules regarding illegal activity, not MS objecting.

I've seen even mentioning certain CD's here censored, yet the modification post was allowed.

BTW, now that you've openly admitted on line you broke the law, you could be arrested.  LOL


The alternate OS sort of goes without saying, but the situation here was for the use of XP.  I was simply attempting to point out the absurdity of the situation.  It's not like the donating corporation is going to reuse the XP OS after retiring  and donating the computers and this is what MS would be primarily concerned about.  The laptops came with XP, so when they were transferred with the COA sticker intact, as far as the next party is concerned, the OS came with them.  The OS is now illegal for the original owner to use anyway, so what is the point of donating hardware without it?

In articles found on the net, "original everything" is ideal for donations, but when this isn't possible I understand acquiring Recovery Disk sets from the OEM is a valid alternative for which the cost is not very high.

Thank you for the links on the MS refurbishing.  Sheds a nice light on this topic.
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