Vista Ent. MAK activation / image problems RRS feed

  • Question

  • Maybe someone can help me (Senior techs only please)...? Here's my setup scenario:

    We have 20+ new HP DC7900 computers (all the same model and hardware spec) that will be simple surf stations at a school.
    Vista Enterprise Volume lic.
    MAK individual online activation (our MAK count is 100+, so it's all good)
    Standard installation, SP1, latest MS updates, latest HP drivers, Office 2003
    Syspreped image using Imagex

    Here is what we do and what sometimes is a problem:

    We finish the master image on one of the HP machines and activate Windows using the GUI (Change Product key under Control Panel / System) with our MAK key, works fine.
    We make a sysprep file with Windows AIK, just a few options for keyboard, admin account etc, nothing advanced.
    Finally we run: sysprep /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:sysprep.xml to wrap it up ready to be imaged.
    We start up with a USB stick with WinPe boot, run imagex to capture the installation. imagex /capture /compress fast
    After that we apply the image to the other computers using USB sticks. Really basic stuff. Works like a charm.
    On the client computers we activate Vista either through the GUI or with the built in vb script, slmgr.vbs, always works, nada problemo.

    1. All computers activate ok and run fine, until out of the blue, randomly (half a day, 2 days or sometimes later), some machines
    get a pop-up message that the hardware has changed and windows has deactivated. It's possible to reactivate and it might work
    ok again forever or for a while again until the deactivation strikes again. Can happen to any computer we install on, it's so random
    it's almost spooky.

    2. Event log shows "hardware has changed" several times on the machines that deactivate. Why? What? NOTHING has changed,
    some of the machines haven't even been rebooted!

    Before you answer:

    We have checked that the MAK key, lic count etc is ok with MS. Latest HP bios upgrade. We have checked and rechecked the sysprep file, made completely
    new image, even a "bare bone" one without any apps, and KMS key is not an option for us, we want and should use MAK key. We have
    NOT changed any hardware, all clients are exactly the same (brand new). Checked and rechecked master computer with Antivirus, Malwarebytes etc, nothing, clean.

    1. Does anyone with Senior experience of Vista deployment/Sysprep and MAK volume lic knowledge have any clue what is going on with our machines/Vista installations?
    2. Is this something that occurs local on each machine or is some Microsoft License server involved responsible for deactivating some machines at random?

    Really need help with this!


    Friday, June 26, 2009 9:11 PM


  • Hello Luke,

    Can you download and run this tool?



    Can you send me the output in email


    Do not use the online portion of the address when sending.

    What is the mass storage driver on this machine?

    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Sunday, June 28, 2009 12:22 AM