Windows Adtivation after imaging

cheesebugah
cheesebugah used Ask the Experts™
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Hello,

After imaging a Windows 7 machine with Clonezilla, we sent it out in the field and it worked fine for a few days and now all of a sudden it is throwing an activation error and we were required to put in the license key to fix the problem.  Is there something we should have done after cloning that would have prevented this behavior?  We don't want to send out another one and go through this again.

Thanks,
Mike
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Commented:
Yup. You need to sysprep the systems, you can't just clone Windows systems.

HTH,
Dan
Most Valuable Expert 2015
Commented:
It's not just sysprep you need. It also depends on the type of license you have. For example, you are only allowed to distribute Windows images to other PC's if you have a volume license, Besides that, of course every restored image will need to be activated on the new hardware, as every new PC will be regarded as different hardware so you need the proper license for it.

Sysprep really only ensures that you have unique PC accounts for each restored image.

Author

Commented:
The image was sysprepped before cloning.  Also, the license key was put into the clone before sending it on it's way.  We are using MS Volume license keys for the clones.  Any more thoughts?
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Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
The restored image still has to be activated. That isn't automatic.
Commented:
Are there any differences in hardware? Activation issues usually don't occur if all the hardware is bought from one series at the same time. If they're different (one has other CPU, the other has other hdd and memory, and the other has different GPU), I'm not surprised at all it's asking for re-activation.

Author

Commented:
I did activate the restored image with the correct MVLS license key.  The computers are the same model, Dell OptiPlex 790.  I did not check hardware differences though.  I will look into that.  But what gets me is that I put in the license key before sending it out?

Commented:
If you activated the machine before sending it and now it requires activation again, then I see 2 possibilities:
1. you activated using a KMS server that is not available in the new location
2. someone in the new location moved the hdd to another system, thus triggering re-activation.

Author

Commented:
Do any of you think a hardware issue would cause this behavior?  I am not 100% confident that the machine we restored the image to was okay to put back in circulation.  It seemed fine when we restored the image, but we are having some other software issues as well.

Commented:
Possible, but not likely.
A failing hard drive could corrupt the activation information, but the probability of a failed sector containing exactly that information is very low.

Author

Commented:
Okay, I didn't think so either, but it's getting to that point.  Anyway, I appreciate all of the great suggestions here and will divvy up points accordingly.  Thank you for all of your help.

Author

Commented:
Thanks again.

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