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Windows 7 Deployment and Volume Licensing and Sysprep

We are about to purchase a batch of 100 PCs.  We have a volume license for Windows 7, utilizing MAK keys.  We do not have a KMS server. We want to preload one of the machines with all necessary software, sysprep and deploy it to the 99 others.  How does this work in regards to licensing, for future reimages? Also, i've been reading that sysprep is no longer necessary for Windows 7?  In know if we didn't sysprep or XP machines in our 2003 Active Directory environment, there would be all kinds of problems.  Has then been changes in Windows 7? Would I avoid any activation issues or duplications of key issuing if we host an KMS server?  Also, how about Office 2010 licenses...would reimaging these computer use up a license each time? We are currently using Acronis True Image to deploy, but would be open to other cheaper more affordable options for image deployment.  Thank you.
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fireguy1125
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fireguy1125
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2 Solutions
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
If you have a volume license, then that's all you need to be fully legal in re-imaging (building a custom image and deploying it).

What you've been reading has been people who don't understand what sysprep does.  Sysprep is ABSOLUTELY necessary for a variety of things.  Mark Russinovich did some research and determined that the aspect MOST people are most familiar with (resetting the SID) is not necessary... but that's not all sysprep does - you need to run it to ensure appropriate settings in other areas are reset and "prepared" for use in a new install.

As for cheaper/more affordable imaging options - you should check out Microsoft's solutions - they are all free or included with Windows Server (well, almost - SCCM isn't).  Specifically google "Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT)", "Windows Deployment Services (WDS)", and the "Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK or WAIK)".  I use WDS to capture and deploy the images and MDT can be used as well both for capture and deployment and for deployment of packages (applications).  The WAIK is important for pre-configuring the deployment (building the Answer file).

Licenses are not used by activating.  A License is used by deployment (having it on a machine).  I assume you are using a volume license version of Office 2010?
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fireguy1125Author Commented:
Do Microsoft's solutions allow for deployment of 3rd party apps, such as Adobe Reader, Flash, VNC, Citrix Online Plugin, and Symantec Endpoint Protection?

Yes we have volume license versions of Office 2010, however whenever we need to re-install or re-image a PC currently that has it installed, it requires reactivation and takes away a licenses from the VLSC.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You shouldn't be needing to deploy office all that often... but have you called Microsoft to find out what happens and how you get more activations if you have to repeatedly reinstall?  They should give you more.

Microsoft doesn't license third party apps.  

To customize an image, you need to be building the image using Volume License media.  Including third party apps is up to you and whatever the third party app's license agreement states.  (SEP is AWFUL.  A client of mind uses it and the hell we have to go through to get it deployed properly is insane... And then it doesn't even work (that is, it protects poorly and is frequently the cause of issues, regardless of deployment method).  I hate symantec products.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Which license do you have? Open Value with or without Software Assurance or Open License, you should have been offered one of these by your reseller since you are >5 and < 250 pc's
If you have SA then you have access to MDOP and SCCM.

You have 2 options (old way) set up one pc then sysprep the machine and then deploy that machine to your infastructure using WDS
(new way) use MDT with WDS or just MDT, MDT separates the OS, drivers, software, updates you basically just add tasks for each stage.this way you are not having to create new images every six months or more.

A KMS server (windows 7 can be used for this) will activate both the O/S and Office 2010
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wblunaCommented:
We use a free soultion in our school system to manage images/software deployment. It's called FOG.  http://www.fogproject.org/ .  It can manage images, as well as deploy "Snapins" or customized images  of almost any software you can imagine.  It can also "Multicast" so you could image all of the macines in under 30 minutes, all at one time!  Check it out if you have a small IT department like ours.  Saves us lots of time.  You will still likely have to sysprep though, so KMS would still be a good option to have as well.

FOG also has other features like bulit in PXE boot memtest, hard drive test, and some basic "Inventory" management..
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
WDS offers multicasting and to cut down on storage requirements, it essentially dedupes images when they are int he same groups.  I've deployed several systems using WDS multicasts in about 15 minutes.

And WDS is supported by Microsoft and a large community.
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shahzoorCommented:
We have more than 300 laptops with windows 7
And we are using Acronis true image to deploy the image
But we are using KMS. You will need it in the longer run since even the imaging would require entering the activation key and for other MS Office Products
Further we have a restriction that the key will be valid for 6 months from the last use over network, so if a person is no longer your employee his/her windows will expire after that time
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
shahzoor,

I'm curious... Acronis is not inexpensive... is there a reason you opted to spend thousands on it instead of using Microsoft's free solutions?
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Acronis and Ghost use an outdated technology that Microsoft has lept over with WDS and especially MDT
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fireguy1125Author Commented:
We have been using acronis for years it has been reliable for the most part - the exception is we use one computer and restore manually by booting with a cd and pointing to a shared folder with all the *.tib images. A new issue we've been having with the latest hardware is that it doesn't recognize the new sara 6 disks - on older dell models there would be an option in the bios to change the hard drives to llegacy mode, however this is no longer an option for new 790 models.

Going back to the original topic - I'm not looking for something to deploy step by step but rather continue using the preconfigured image file. All of our pc images are the same, and yet there may be some duplication of files and unnecessary space being used - storing the older pc model images on external USB drives alleviates our main file server space.

My primary concern still remains with the licensing and activation aspect of Windows 7 and Office 2010. We so far have been unsuccessful in performing a system of a machine. From what I take with everyone's posts is that we should transition into using a KMSsystem. Now with this system, does it keep track by say a hardware ID or something each time the OS and Office is activated on a PC? For example, a problematic employee that loves to infect their computer with spyware and we reimage a PC 5 times a year, does that use up 5 licenses?

Also on a question with WDS, from what I read this only supports Microsoft software? This doesn't fly since we have several other non-microsoft apps that are to be included with our images.

Thanks again and sorr for the delay
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
With MDT/WDS you can capture a system image of a working system but you must sysprep the system.
How much time and expense do you have with rebuilding images to add windows updates, or do you prefer to have the system start with an old base image and get updates by itself? This is inefficient and really a waste of time and resouces when WDS/MDT can do it for you.

you can sysprep a fully installed computer with all of your apps and then capture this image with wds/mdt and then deploy this image to your network.
or configure 'task sequences' to add the software after a base image install.

you can remove the problematic machines from the KMS and reuse their licenses.

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