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Windows Vista / 7 Sysprep Deactivates Image RRS feed

  • Question

  • Premise:

    My Company is a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner.  We are a school with at least 20 computer classrooms and at least 60 laptops which makeup portable classrooms.  We routinely image and re-image these several hundred computers routinely to provide software bases for the different classes we offer.  Our license keys are multiple activation friendly.

    Problem:

    In our attempts to broadcast windows to the different computers we have been using Sysprep among other tools to prepare the computer image for distribution.  With our Windows Vista and 7 images we are running into a wall when it comes to product activation.  In XP we could sysprep and image the machine after product activation and sysprep would not deactivate the software.  Now that we are attempting the same thing with Vista and 7 we are having problems. 

    We have referenced http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766514%28WS.10%29.aspx in order to get the sysprep answer file (sysprep.xml) to permit the image to remain activate with no success.  What is the trick?

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 6:41 PM

Answers

  • Hello Robacarp,
    There isn't a way to maintain the activation after reimaging. 
    Do the machines need to be activated?  You have 30 days of grace, are the classes longer than that?
    Are the machines on a network, if so you could setup a KMS host and all the clients would activate automatically against that machine.
    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 6:39 PM
  • Hello Robacarp,
    This is the link with the documentation.
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd197314.aspx 

    SkipRearm=1 doesn't reset the 30 day grace period.  You want to rearm the system which should be the default when you run sysprep /generalize.  This would start the 30 day period, when you deploy the image and boot it the first time.
    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Thursday, October 22, 2009 11:53 PM

All replies

  • Hello Robacarp,
    There isn't a way to maintain the activation after reimaging. 
    Do the machines need to be activated?  You have 30 days of grace, are the classes longer than that?
    Are the machines on a network, if so you could setup a KMS host and all the clients would activate automatically against that machine.
    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 6:39 PM
  • Darrell - Thanks for the tip about the KMS server.  I've done a bit of googling about that subject and all I can really come up with is pirate ways of bypassing the activation on illegitimate machines.  Can you link me to a technet article about setting up a KMS server on our network?  Thanks.

    Also, specifically about the 30 day grace period:

    A few of our classes last more than a week, but the problem we are running into is that the Activation countdown starts when we created the image.  To my understanding we should be able to restart this activation countdown via sysprep, under Component 3, SkipRearm=1 however, we have been unable to get a successful sysprep with that option working (sysprep fails before it quits).

    Thursday, October 22, 2009 9:43 PM
  • Hello Robacarp,
    This is the link with the documentation.
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd197314.aspx 

    SkipRearm=1 doesn't reset the 30 day grace period.  You want to rearm the system which should be the default when you run sysprep /generalize.  This would start the 30 day period, when you deploy the image and boot it the first time.
    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Thursday, October 22, 2009 11:53 PM
  • Darrell,

    Thanks for answering my questions so far.  These activation issues are confusing even for the experienced.

    I watched the video about the KMS and I don't think that system will work for us.  Our biggest classroom, by company policy, is going to be less than the number of computers required by KMS to do an activation.  It seems that would be a problem anyway: in an office the likelihood of there being an exact multiple of 25 workstations is small.

    Another tool mentioned on that page is the VAMT.  Watching the video titled "Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) Features and Capabilities " did not provide anything but a firewall config how-to for the VAMT, which is useful, but not really what I was expecting.  Is there a better overview of the Features and Capabilities out there?

    Nevertheless, In attempting to image our Vista computers we have the wrong idea about the skiprearm line item then.  I'm trying to test this now, thanks for clearing that up.
    Friday, October 23, 2009 10:12 PM
  • Hi Robacarp,

    I'm in a very similar situation, I need to deploy  Windows 7 in a good amount of computers, and I 'm trying to do it unattended with the help of sysprep, but I'm having troubles with the MAK activation.

    Did you solve your problem??

     

    Thanks

    Friday, April 9, 2010 5:13 PM
  • I am pretty sure that after you install the necessary software and setup your configurations ' you should be able to run sysprep and use the generalize option. this should allow you  to then activate windows normally.
    Wednesday, July 14, 2010 1:34 AM
  • Install your software and configure your build. Then run sysprep using the generalize option. Make sure that you tell the system to shutdown after the sysprep. then upload your image and deploy it. You should have windows just like it was out of the box, but all of your software and configuration will remain unchanged. 
    Wednesday, July 14, 2010 1:38 AM