OS imaging / licensing

Just looking for advice on this.  Called Microsoft and they want to charge for support.  We have desktops with Windows 7 already on.  I want to apply an image with already installed programs to those desktops.  My concern is I don't want to loose the OEM license the new computer came with.  My thoughts are if I can first get the product ID of the new pc using a script we have, I could apply the image and re-enter the product key.  My understanding is that product key is tied to the hardware so it should not be an issue, but I'm not 100% sure.

Is this an issue or is there a better way to do the same task?
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Zac HarrisSystems Administrator Commented:
If you intend to image a system you will need to sysprep the image before you deploy it to the other machines.

Microsoft licensing does not allow you to image an OEM machine unless you are the owner of the machine or will be selling the machine. It sounds like these are machines you own, so you should be OK there.

Make sure that you write down the 25 Character Activation code, if these are OEM licenses, chances are they are already on a sticker on the chasis of the machine.
Zac HarrisSystems Administrator Commented:
Sorry, I clicked submit too soon...

Once you have the image syspreped, you can then use an imaging software of your choice to apply the image to the machines.

You should use the OOBE switch when you run sysprep so that it will take you through giving the machine a new name. If you already have a user account(s) on the machine, you can create your own unattend file to skip the username creation part as well as setup various other options so you don't have to do it after imaging.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
What is the licence type you are imaging?
Just as an example if you have a volume licence your OEM key won't work but you can add OEM machines to the total of your VL by applying Reimaging Rights through Microsoft, it's effectively a free swap from the OEM to a bonus volume licence. There's a requirement to hold a minimum number of VL licences to do this.

Sysprep is not supported for OEM Windows 7. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/828287
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ctaddeoAuthor Commented:
So yup, I plan to use sysprep oobe, and apply the image with imageX.   There is no product ID on the tower itself......which I am surprised by.  

My company does have volume licenses. However, we also have new desktops with Windows 7 already installed "and OEM licenses", which is what I am working with. Again, I would attempt to apply the image and then use the same product key that was originally on.  The way I would get the key is prior to applying the image I was going to run a script that extracts the key from the registry, apply the image and type in the key hoping it takes.  Just my first time and I dont want to waste a license for the company if there is an issue.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Depends on your OEM manufacturer but with any of the big ones the key you extract won't be the one on the sticker. It's just a generic activation key that applies to that manufacturer's Image, the exceptions are the System Builder licences and those the smaller OEMs use.

Not sure what you mean by  "waste a licence for the company" as that's what Reimaging Rights licencing is designed to prevent. You just add the OEMs to the numbers on your VL at no cost.

Again Sysprep and OEM really don't get on well together.
Scott SilvaNetwork AdministratorCommented:
I sysprep OEM systems from HP all the time... Legally you are supposed to own at least one volume license. It is easier to do when the machine is new and not activated the first time.
ctaddeoAuthor Commented:
Maybe I am off on my thinking because I am new with licensing, but the reason I say waste a license is because if I try to reuse the same key I extracted and cant put it back on the same hardware after applying the image, then I would need to use one of our other licenses we have on a list.  On the other hand, if it works, then I don't need to use one of our other licenses.  So an extra VL can then be used elsewhere.   btw....this is a dell desktop.

So is that true that the OEM license can just be added to our total VL's?  Like is that pretty standard, or is reimaging rights licensing something my company may not have?
Scott SilvaNetwork AdministratorCommented:
When I checked our OEM's were licensed by the bios, and have a default key. I usually image the original setup for the eventual day the PC goes to the recycler, then I boot up and [CTRL] [SHIFT] [F3] to get it into audit mode. I clean up the OEM's crapware, install my stuff, and reseal with generalize.... I can then image a final deployable image, and use it on the entire lot...
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Using Re-imaging you can create a single image that can be used across the enterprise not just the OEMs.
Like Scott says the big OEMs lock their licencing to the BIOS (SLP2) and you're not meant to create an OEM based image unless you're licenced as an OEM distributor but that doesn't mean it doesn't work.

The Reimaging "Rules" are here:

Once you have a VL your company is eligible to use this - you don't have to get Software Assurance or any other additional levels of support (obviously you can't migrate an OEM system to a VL and then continue use the OEM as well ...)

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