Cloning Windows 8.1 HP OEM machines with Office 2013

mlmslex used Ask the Experts™
We have 8 new (identical) HP machines which will need identical (and painful) software loadouts.

Machines are Windows 8.0 and need the 8.1 update applied.  I can't find anywhere how to download that ~3GB update except through the MS store (for EACH PC).

Also, these machines will have Office Home & Biz 2013.

It would be wonderful to be able to update one of these machines to 8.1, get the Office 2013 and all of their crazy software on it, then clone it to the other 7.  We did this for years on earlier OS's but it looks like Win 8.1 and/or Office 2013 may be a problem from what I've found in research so far.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
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If the machines have Windows 8 OEM, you need to download and apply Windows 8.1 from the Microsoft Store. You have more flexibility if you have Enterprise-type licensing for Windows 8 / 8.1 (which it does not appear to be the case here).  

Similarly for Office 2013. If you have the retail Office, you did it by downloading it. Again, the Enterprise-type of licensing has more flexibility.
You can indeed update one PC (as MS Store is the only option), and clone to the others (provided it's the correct Windows version, as in, preinstalled by HP, or from the official HP CD).
Windows will be automatically activated once you start it up again. Office activation will need more time though (if Volume License, it will activate with just one command line).
Start cloning after you've gone through several update cycles though, as 8.1 takes time, but 8.1 update 1 also! Better have it ready in your image.
I'm not guessing by the way (as in answer by theory). I have new HP desktops, I've gone through several cycles already (began image with clean win8. While deploying, 8.1 was released, imaged again. While deploying some more, 8.1 update1 was released, imaged again). All no problems.


Thank you Kimputer for your answer to my question.  When others comment on how much easier things are with Enterprise licensing, they clearly do not understand ACTUAL "small" business computing.  It makes zero financial sense for a 10 person firm to attempt to use Enterprise licensing from MS for Windows (desktops) or Office (unless you want to subject them to the mess that Office365 is) - it typically cost twice as much as gets them very little benefit.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013


You clearly do not understand Enterprise licensing.  Or licensing.  And being willing to blatantly violate licensing puts your company and you at tremendous liability.

You need a SINGLE Volume License for Windows to create the image - then you must create using that volume license media and install.  As for office, you cannot image that across unless it's a volume license.

You're imaging to save you time from setting up 10 different systems right?  Microsoft recognizes this is a time savings technique and has chosen to charge for the right to do that - you never buy software - you buy the rights to use software and some rights are reserved.  I don't necessarily agree with their policy on this but that doesn't make it less true.


Lee W. MVP

OK - point taken that I'm willing to clone Windows computers from one to another that were all sold with OEM Windows licenses all at the same time to save my client $100/hr setup charges.

In no way am I trying to circumvent selling my client the proper number of licenses for the software which they use.  I, as all Microsoft partners should do, understand and MAKE EVERY ATTEMPT to comply with their licenses - I resent any implication that I don't.

It's one thing for MS to dictate HOW MANY and what type of license to buy, it's completely another to dictate HOW I get it installed.  Insisting that a customer who buys a pre-installed Windows 8.0 machine pay someone to download a >3GB file to upload EACH AND EVERY machine is not ok.

It's also crazy for a customer who buys (and only HAS) 10 computers from HP for their business to go - "no thanks, we don't want Windows installed...we're going to buy 10 more seats (YES, WITH A SINGLE KEY CODE) of Windows just so my guy can legally "clone" them".  And we don't like our money, so we'll pay 2x as much for Office so we can have a single key-code too!

I appreciate the clarification on the licensing but please REFRAIN FROM MAKING ACCUSATIONS about one's ethics on these posts.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

I'm sorry you disagree - Microsoft has made it pretty clear if you take the time to read what you do and do not have the right to do.  

I'll repeat - this is a RIGHTS issue - just because YOU disagree with how Microsoft has chosen to exercise their rights does not mean you can chose to do otherwise.  I explain to my clients that this is what I can do for them and why.  A good client doesn't ask you to put yourself in a bad position as a Microsoft Partner... A bad client who does is no longer my client because they will doubtlessly find other ways to take advantage of me.

Please reference:

Office is a quick install - do several at once.

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