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Windows Imaging / License Keys

Posted on 2016-08-15
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Last Modified: 2016-09-25
We currently purchase all workstations with Windows OEM licenses installed.  What is the best way to be able to reimage these computers via ghost in a school environment so that the OEM product key doesn't have to be re-entered on a computer by computer basis without needing to purchase Volume licenses.
A number of years ago, we purchased computers without Windows installed and purchased MS Volume licenses and use sysprep and that worked fine.  It appears that isn't available with OEM licenses.
Any suggestions would be appreicated.
Thanks in advance
Art W
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Question by:ajwellman
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6 Comments
 

Accepted Solution

by:
g3l33m earned 168 total points
ID: 41756848
Build one and clone it, as long as you have the proper OEM sticker licenses for the same version it shouldn't matter that they all show the same license within the OS..
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Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 166 total points
ID: 41756899
You can only reimage PC's when you have a volume license. Anything else is not allowed and a breach of the m$ EULA.

The only exception would be if you have all the PC's from the same manufacturer, for example HP. They have a service where you can setup a PC with all the applications setup the way you want. Then you can send them the PC or disk or image back, and then they will preconfigure all the coming PC's in that way for you.
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Expert Comment

by:g3l33m
ID: 41756916
I built 1 image with the HP restore disks and cloned it on my HP workstations. MS didn't care as long as I had the OEM stickers for each during my last MS audit..
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 41756950
That always depends on the m$ person you happen to get across. Usually it's probably something they won't look too closely at, but if they wanted to they can sue you if you distribute their OS to different systems via a "golden image". Officially you aren't allowed to do this if you don't have a volume license. Besides that a volume license for a school is no big deal and it isn't worth risking any problems with m$ by not getting one.
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LVL 96

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 166 total points
ID: 41757104
It's foolish to do things in an unsupported manner.  Not just so you can call and get support, but also because Microsoft does, in fact, TEST updates and patches... when you do things in an unsupported manner, you run the risk that a conflict develops at a later date because it was never tested in the same configuration you are using.  DON'T DO IT.  

Imaging is *ONLY* supported when machines have had sysprep run.  PERIOD.  

The options (as I believe Rindi has stated) are:
1. Build a master machine and send it back to Dell/HP to have them customize your image for future machines ordered.  Most large vendors offer this service, though there may be some cost involved.
2. Buy a SINGLE volume License and re-image your workstations using it.  Volume licenses can be used to re-image systems that came with that OS edition and less.  For more information, see reimaging rights - https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Licensing/learn-more/brief-reimaging-rights.aspx
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