Dell Windows 10 Activation after Cloning

LockDown32
LockDown32 used Ask the Experts™
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It use to be, with Windows 8, 7 and XP, that I could clone a computer to and identical Dell computer and the newly cloned computer would sense it was still on a Dell and not bother to activate. I am sure this is because the OS was installed with a Dell OEM SLP media.

   Now, with Windows 10, it looks like Dell no longer has OEM SLP media. It uses the retail media (TH2)  which basically does the same thing. When installing from ground zero it will look in to the BIOS to find the product and install accordingly. The difference being that now when I clone a computer the new computer will lose it's activation and demand a product key. It is still in the BIOS but I guess it isn't looking.

   Does anyone have any experience cloning Windows 10 on a Dell and getting by the activation?
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Senior Engineer
Commented:
You shouldn't have to "get by" the activation.  Asking this type of question on this forum goes against the rules.

If you are trying to do something legitimate, you may want to re-phrase your question, if not, you may want to delete it.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
Does anyone have any experience cloning Windows 10 on a Dell and getting by the activation?  <--- You have to do it legally. And Windows 10 now has licensing stored in the Microsoft Licensing Server.
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Cloning may be legal, based on what licenses you have.
You would need to gather the license of the computer you clone to yourself. This could be done by the tool rweverything. Then input that key and activate.
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
What you describe is known as "re-imaging " and only volume licenses had re-imaging rights. OEM licenses never legally allowed this, even if it technically worked. If you want to be legal, you'll need volume licenses and they will have their own activation keys.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Cliff, it's not that black and white. Look at http://www.aidanfinn.com/?p=14534
LockDown32Owner
Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
It isn't black and white. For the record I am legal on both computers. I have purchased Professional on both. "Getting around activation" was probably not the term I should have used. Anyway...

   I did find the solution. I used OEMKey to pull the product key out of the BIOS on the new computer. Went in to Control Panel and "Activate Windows". Plugged in the Product Key from the BIOS and it activated.

   I am going to guess now that this computer has been registered with Microsoft I could clone it a second time and it won't ask. I am just not that bored today :)
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Once it has been registered in the Licensing Servers, you can reinstall as many times as you like (but not get the reinstall from a different computer). Just reinstall with the Media Creation Link.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
@McKnif: while I don't disagree, given the circumstances described at the time (and now later) it is pretty black and white. You can never use OEM media to build an image. While not every machine needs to have a VL license assigned, VL media (and keys) must always be used. The original post was clearly using OEM media, and the follow-up reaffirms this.

@lockdown: my interpretation right now is that you are NOT legal. Yes, both machines are OEM. But the way you cloned is still illegal and even a basic audit will catch this. The fines can be enormous. Fair warning.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
As to the register with MS and no getting prompted, you will. Hardware is part of the registration process, and installing an activated clone OS on new hardware will not match what is registered. That is why win10 remains unchanged regarding re-imaging and requiring the use of VL keys which CAN be properly automated
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Yes, you cannot copy one Windows 10 machine to another different machine . This will now be caught instantly and will not activate. Rules have changed substantially.
LockDown32Owner
Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
Cliff I am going to have to point out that no where in my original question or anywhere there after did I say I was using OEM media. I actually said just the opposite. That Dell no longer has OEM SLP media for Windows 10 and I had to install with Retail TH2.

   I am also going to guess I won't be prompted because this is what you had to do with the initial release of Windows 10. You first had to install Windows 7 or 8 and then do an online upgrade. This would register the hardware and Windows 10 with Microsoft. Than I could put in the Retail Windows 10 CD and skip entering a product key. During the install it would communicate with Microsoft's Server and see that the hardware and Windows 10 were already registered on this computer and I would never have to put in a product key.

   In response to John comment each computer has its own individual product key. After copying one Windows 10 to the other I than put in the correct product key that belonged to the destination computer.

   For grins I might try re-cloning it and see but my main concern has been addressed to it might be a while until I get around to it.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Let us know after reimaging.

Dell does not supply OEM media because there is no need.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
I could go into details about how Microsoft has changed windows deployments over the years. How WIM files *are* images. How windows 10 now has "provisioning packages" for OEM and IT Pro customization options. And how Dell can now ship "generic" media because of this, but the media is still considered OEM. It is *not* retail nor is it VL. And how licensing is still a legal document, and a legal contract.  But instead of writing a paragraph on each of those, I suppose you've made up your mind. I still strongly believe what you are doing is illegal and it will bite you.

There is no benefit to "cloning" unless you are customizing an image. And if you are customizing, that requires volume licensing rights. That's the point. Because of how windows is deployed these days, a "standard" image is exactly that, still an image, so cloning without customization has zero benefit. Zip. Nada. So the only reason to clone is to take advantage of VL rights (customization) or to break the law. IT really is that simple froma  legal perspective.
>Dell does not supply OEM media because there is no need.
No,it's because M$ discourages it.
If you ask ,they will relent(sometimes for a fee)(this includes using your downgrade rights to 7 or 8).

Best way to do Dell rollouts is to create a master image ,upload it to Dell via their website .

http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/555/services/imageassist
LockDown32Owner
Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
There are several advantages to cloning (BTW I do not use WMI). The two biggest being drivers and updates. Windows 7 now has upwards of 200 updates from the original installation. Then you throw in drivers, Acrobat Reader, Java, etc. cloning can save you hours just on a generic installation let alone a custom installation. Dell doesn't ship any media with their computers any more. I shouldn't really say that but the Windows 10 media they do ship isn't really describable.

   I am sure what you say has a lot of merit but the only way to be sure would be to hire a lawyer and I am sure even than it would go in to years and years of litigation. Here is the way I look at it. I paid Microsoft (actually Dell) for Windows 10 Professional. I paid them what they asked. I am not trying to beat them out of their money. Not only did I pay them for Windows 10 Professional but I activated it with the Product Key that came with the computer. I could not be any more legit nor should Microsoft expect me to be. How Windows 10 Professional physically got on that computer, in my opinion, is moot.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
The two biggest being.....   <-- I certainly understand that (350 Windows updates beyond SP1) but you need volume licensing for that to work properly and legally.

Follow up note: Microsoft is trying desperately to get rid of Windows 8.1 and everything older. With Windows 10, new builds are not service packs but new installs.

So change is happening.
M$ is no longer under a consent decree and are back to the practices that got them sued as a monopoly by the government in the first place.

M$ has changed the licensing for the large OEMs repeatedly.(just try and but ANY 32 bit M$ OS preinstalled).
But on the app side ,they still recommend 32 bit office?

The Aesop fable I often refer to as an allegory is the one of the scorpion and frog.

When a scorpion asks a frog to carry him on its back across the lake ,the frog says no,you'll sting me.

The scorpion says ,no if I did that we'd both die.

As they are crossing the lake ,the scorpion stings the frog and the frog asks why.

It answers because its my nature.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
"There are several advantages to cloning (BTW I do not use WMI). The two biggest being drivers and updates. Windows 7 now has upwards of 200 updates from the original installation."

We are discussing win10, not 7. That has different ramifications (and rebuttals.) Neither the driver nor update excuse applies to win10. And neither will provide legal justification.
LockDown32Owner
Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
OK. Than let's continue this discussion in a year when there will be 200 updates to Window 10. Sound like a plan?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Windows 10 will be different in that Rollups have returned along with complete new builds. Nothing like the old.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
There will never be more that two updates for windows 10. One cumulative update. (which can always be applies to the media install) and in some rare vases, an out of band security update that came out after the last CU. And will be rolled into the next CU.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Commented:
Let me be clear on this - Microsoft's licensing and reimaging rights DO NOT PERMIT end users to create customized images from OEM or Retail media - ONLY - repeat ONLY from Volume License Media.  If you were using Volume License media, you wouldn't be asking about keys - since volume license installs ALL use the same key assigned to you.  In fact, that's part of the reason VL media is REQUIRED.

You only need a SINGLE volume license that matches the edition of the license sold with the system (meaning, if you have 100 Windows 10 Pro new systems and you want to image, you only need ONE copy of Windows 10 Pro Volume and you can redeploy that one copy to all systems that were purchased with Windows 10 Pro) so before you start thinking you have to go buy 100 copies and there's no way your going to do that, stop.  You don't.  You only need to buy ONE copy (and 4 Rental Rights (at about $5 each) *IF* you don't have an preexisting active VL Agreement to piggyback on to).

So doing this legally - and properly - for 100 systems costs at most $200 in licensing fees.  And heck, you even get a license that will upgrade a pre-existing Windows 7 or 8 system to 10!

Further, you cannot clone (or as you've described, the proper term is image) a system and have it in a supportable state unless UNLESS you sysprep it PRIOR to sealing the image and capturing it.  It doesn't matter if you overpay for the process with Acronis, Ghost, or any other third party - or if you use Windows Deployment Services/Server.  You MUST sysprep BEFORE copying the reference system.

I don't know what you're doing, but from the comments you made it sounds VERY MUCH like you not doing this properly and potentially putting yourself and your company in a precarious legal situation.

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