Imaged disk - "windows is not genuine"

At my organization we have a lot of HP3500 boxes. We made a disk image with our standard installs and setup on it. We use that master to clone drives for new deployments, as well as reimaging boxes. It's been working fine for months, until the other day we booted up one of the boxes with a newly cloned drive and we get stopped at a light blue screen and the message

"Windows 7
Build 7601
This copy of Windows is not genuine"

Full stop.

We have a volume license, but I think this image was from the OEM Win7 install. I don't mind getting in there and validating our license, but I am stuck at this screen with no way to advance forward and do anything about the license. I'd like to avoid creating a whole new image master, but I'd also like to avoid this happening again in the future. This is the first time I've ever seen this.

Any and all help appreciated.

ps - after creating the image master we validated Windows with our MAK, so I figured it'd all be fine.
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Brian PringleSystems Analyst II, SCM, ERPCommented:
You need to sysprep them before cloning them.  Then, when you clone it and insert it into the computer, Windows will perform the OOBE steps and allow you to type the product key.

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Microsoft ONLY permits end users to create images from Volume License media and to deploy volume license media.  Anything else is unsupported - and in your case, it's possible MS made a subtle change to the activation server or issued a patch that ends up causing problems with unsupported configurations.  You need to properly construct your images to ensure this doesn't happen AND to ensure you can get help if it does.
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
If you do not install VL version of Windows then you will not have any guarantee that you avoid this problem in future.
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ctpctpctpAuthor Commented:
Follow up question - if I do a build from scratch with the VL version of Win7 will the cloning be okay into the future, or do I still need to use sysprep? (I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of sysprep)
Brian PringleSystems Analyst II, SCM, ERPCommented:
You still need to use sysprep.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Sysprep is required for ANY method of imaging short of workstation backup/restore.  It ensures the machine is unique in EVERY aspect (not just the popular myth that it only changes SIDs - it does far more than that to ENSURE the machine continues to function properly on the domain.  MS developers develop patches and updates with the BELIEF that any deployed machine has gone through the proper "resets" that sysprep does - FAILING to do that on your end has the potential to break your systems.  I can't be certain, but your genuine issue MAY be because something doesn't work properly with non-sysprep'd machines.
ctpctpctpAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for the information. Now setting off to bone up on sysprep. Any suggestions for good tutorials, or tools for sysprep are greatly appreciated. Thanks again!
ctpctpctpAuthor Commented:
It appears that I have now figured out enough of the ins-and-outs of Sysprep to make this all happen the way it is supposed to. Many thanks again for everyone's help.
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