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Methodology to follow to clone a valid OEM copy of Windows 7 to other machines also entitled to W7

    Question

  • I am seeking a procedure to accomplish the following...

    Customer buys 100 computers from a major manufacturer, all properly running an OEM preload (final, real version) of Windows 7 Professional. All have a valid COA.

    The customer wants to take one of those machines, modify the image with additional software and settings, removing elements he/she does not like.

    He/she then wants a way to apply that image to the remaining 99 systems, so they will all be "perfect" with minimum repetitive work, using something like Ghost

    Previously, this was done under XP Pro by creating the master image, sysprepping it, and then cloning it over the other machines with a valid OEM product key from the knowledgebase article http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb457078.aspx

    Is there a way to do this with Windows 7?
    Saturday, September 05, 2009 7:59 PM

Answers

  • I think the answer lies with Dell. If you are purchasing 100 computers pre-loaded with Windows 7 work with the Dell sales rep to deploy your image for you before the computers leave the factory.

    Kerry Brown MS-MVP - Windows Desktop Experience
    Saturday, November 14, 2009 4:58 PM

All replies

  • With Windows 7 (as well as XP and Vista) you have re-imaging rights... that allows you deploy a volume license image (as long as its the same edition as the oem license) to your machines.

    Download the Re-imaging Rights (reimaging.docx) doc from
    http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/volume-licensing-briefs.aspx
    Saturday, September 05, 2009 10:39 PM
  • That does not answer the question...I am aware that the situation I describe would be "rights legal". The question is how to do it, not if it is legitimate or not. It is about the method.

    Clearly, copying an OEM copy of W7 on a machine that has the rights to an OEM copy of W7 is entirely legitimate. But how can it be done in a way that avoids activation issues, that enables a "sealed" type of procedure like sysprep does...what about product keys, like the single uniform one I mentioned for XP in the article http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb457078.aspx  ? What would the steps be to avoid a problem when the other 99 systems first boot?

     

    REVISION....I've now found the situation I described would not be rights legal...a change from the XP days....

    • Edited by RBK00 Sunday, July 04, 2010 3:37 PM
    Sunday, September 06, 2009 2:33 AM
  • That does not answer the question...I am aware that the situation I describe would be "rights legal". The question is how to do it, not if it is legitimate or not. It is about the method.

    Clearly, copying an OEM copy of W7 on a machine that has the rights to an OEM copy of W7 is entirely legitimate. But how can it be done in a way that avoids activation issues, that enables a "sealed" type of procedure like sysprep does...what about product keys, like the single uniform one I mentioned for XP in the article http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb457078.aspx  ? What would the steps be to avoid a problem when the other 99 systems first boot?


    This is close to the scenario I am working with, but have had no luck.  Here is what I need to do, and I believe you are working along the same lines.

    1.  Install Win 7
    2.  Install our enterprise wide applications
    3.  Standardize the default profile
    4.  SysPrep
    5.  Create a Ghost Image for our GhostCast Server
    6.  NEW MACHINE: Pull the image from the GhostCast Session (may be a different model, but ALL Dell)
    7.  PC Asks for Computer Name
    8.  Ready for deployment

    Here is the SysPrep.INF I have used quite successfully under Win XP Pro with VLK.

    If anyone can offer any assistance or advice, please feel free!

    [sysprep]

    [Unattended]
        OemSkipEula=Yes
        OemPreinstall=Yes
        InstallFilesPath=\sysprep\i386
        UpdateUPHAL="ACPIAPIC_UP,%WINDIR%\Inf\Hal.inf
        OemPnPDriversPath = **several paths here for some specialized drivers**
        DriverSigningPolicy=Ignore

    [GuiUnattended]
        AdminPassword="Not Telling the Forum  :)"
        EncryptedAdminPassword=NO
        OEMSkipRegional=1
        TimeZone=35
        OemSkipWelcome=1

    [UserData]
        ProductKey=12345-67890-ABCDE-FGHIJ-KLMNO
        OrgName="University of Kentucky"
        ComputerName=
        FullName="UKHCITS User"

    [Display]
        BitsPerPel=32
        Xresolution=1024
        YResolution=768

    [TapiLocation]
        CountryCode=1
        AreaCode=859

    [RegionalSettings]
        LanguageGroup=1

    [SetupMgr]
        DistFolder=\sysprep\i386
        DistShare=windist

    [Identification]
        JoinWorkgroup=UKHCITS

    [Networking]
        InstallDefaultComponents=Yes

    [sysprepcleanup]

    Thursday, September 10, 2009 2:28 PM
  • For deploying I recommend using the newly released MDT 2010... It's a great deployment solution that will handle all the imaging, driver, application assignment and setup settings.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/solutionaccelerators/dd407791.aspx

    / Johan

    Thursday, September 10, 2009 3:04 PM
  • Does this answer the original question in this post though?  How to avoid activation of Windows 7 OEM from a sysprep image on Dell machines?
    Saturday, November 14, 2009 4:46 AM
  • I think the answer lies with Dell. If you are purchasing 100 computers pre-loaded with Windows 7 work with the Dell sales rep to deploy your image for you before the computers leave the factory.

    Kerry Brown MS-MVP - Windows Desktop Experience
    Saturday, November 14, 2009 4:58 PM
  • I think the answer lies with Dell. If you are purchasing 100 computers pre-loaded with Windows 7 work with the Dell sales rep to deploy your image for you before the computers leave the factory.

    Kerry Brown MS-MVP - Windows Desktop Experience


    Good answer Kerry.  I mean, obviously they allready have the computers.

    KBK00 - Did you find the solution?
    Thursday, February 11, 2010 5:49 PM
  • Wednesday, March 31, 2010 12:26 PM
  • This is great question and one I am struggling with right now. This is what I am thinking of doing:

    1. Purchase through Microsoft a small number (like 30) Windows 7 licenses. For this I will get a MAK key and a KMS key

    2. Purchase 100 laptops from my OEM with Windows 7 professional already installed. This will already have been activated by my OEM.

    3. Format the hard drive on one machine and using my volume license media load Windows 7 Pro

    4. Install all the other software, tweak settings, sysprep, and grab an image

    5. Apply this image to other 99 machines and use KMS licensing. If Microsoft were to ever audit me I would have proof that the machines were bought with Win7 Pro. The KMS server does not check in with Microsoft so there is no way that it would ever show that 100 machines were activated and it appears that we only own 30 licenses.

    Working with the OEM to put the images is just unworkable. Between the coordination effort involved and the fact that we are tweaking our images right up to the point where we start applying the image makes it unworkable.

    • Proposed as answer by khdetwei Wednesday, January 12, 2011 10:31 PM
    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 6:56 PM
  • Hello HendersonD

    You have reimage rights with VL so as long as it's the same edition of Windows, you have 130 licenses (100 OEM plus the 30 Volume license) that you can install the volume license to.


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 11:49 PM
  • The question is how this plays out when using MAK activation.

    1. I purchase 30 licenses for Win7 Pro and are issued a MAK and KMS key

    2. I buy 100 computers and they come out of the box with Win7 Pro installed and activated by the OEM

    3. I format the hard drive on one of the machines and using volume license media, install Win7 Pro

    4. I install all my other applications, tweak settings, sysprep, and grab an image

    5. I apply that image to the other 99 machines and then use the MAK to activate all of them

    Microsoft's volume license site will show that I purchased 30 licenses but have 100 machines activated. It will appear that I am not in compliance with Microsoft's licensing agreement. This is why I suggested KMS activation instead. Is there something I am missing here? Certainly Microsoft's volume license site knows nothing of the 100 licenses of Win7 Pro that I legitimately own based on the purchase of the 100 computers.

    Thursday, April 01, 2010 12:19 AM
  • Bump
    Thursday, April 01, 2010 5:06 PM
  • I don't think you have to buy anything from Microsoft if you have access to the OEM W7 Factory preload...

     

    Note the whitepaper...

    Take the OEM image, strip it down to what you want, add what you need

    Copy the image up with a cloning tool like Ghost. DO NOT sysprep it yet, as there is a limit on the number of times you can sysprep the image if its W7. Consider this your "clean" image, make mods to it if necessary. DO NOT have it join to a domain.

    You can then sysprep it...but remember the sysprep limit...

    Apply this image to that family of systems. For example, if it was something like a Thinkpad T400, it would work on T400's. Don't use the image across different "families" of systems.

    (Note that Lenovo systems require a slight modification to the Master Boot Record of the factory image, or you will get a "Bad Signature File" or blinking cursor in the corner...this is easy to fix if necessary, and is caused because Ghost truncates the MBR to a single sector)

    Thursday, April 01, 2010 8:30 PM
  • Hello HendersonD,

    You would have to call the Volume Licensing Support and request more activations be added to your MAK key and give them the reason which in this case is the reimaging rights

     


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Friday, April 02, 2010 12:15 AM
  • Darrell, a question/clarification on the process of calling Volume Licensing Support. What is the process, what is required, when calling VLS to get the additional activations added? Do we need to provide COA keys? Do we need to provide Proof of Purchase? Will they just take our word for it? Do we need to sign over our first-born?

    We've already bought two seperate batches of computers and are now going to purchase a third larger [50] batch of OEM computers with a possible fourth. We currently have 50 volume licenses purchased separately for upgrade of systems already owned. If I use up all the activations on computers that already have OEM keys, then I will need to do as you say, acquire more activations. Which is why I wonder about the process of acquiring more activation keys and how much hassle/difficulty that might entail. Thanks!

    Saturday, May 01, 2010 12:18 AM
  • Hello IT Aardvark,

    This is part of the reimaging rights with Volume Licensing.

    See the document on reimaging rights from this link.

    http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/volume-licensing-briefs.aspx

    Look at the list of questions in the document, one of them covers the scenario and tells you waht to do.


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Sunday, May 02, 2010 8:27 PM
  • Hello HendersonD

    You have reimage rights with VL so as long as it's the same edition of Windows, you have 130 licenses (100 OEM plus the 30 Volume license) that you can install the volume license to.


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights


    So are you saying that if you buy 100 OEM Win7 PCs - you automatically have reimage rights?

    I can across the same situation - we are purchasing about 80 OEM PCs with win7 on them - but we would like to wipe the image clean and add our LOB apps, etc.. then reimage them back to each PC.   But if we do this, since each OEM lic. is different to each PC - this method would not work for us. correct?  The masterimage will only have that one PC specific OEM lic.

    We got a quote from dell on just getting VL(win7 and office 2010) with the PCs and it cost just around the same for 80PCs - so it was double to have the 80PC + VL..

    Wednesday, June 30, 2010 3:05 PM
  • I've now learned the answer to my own question....

     

    It turns out that with the new licensing requirements on W7, it is a violation of the license agreement to run sysprep or "clone" a factory image of W7 to other systems. Ugly, but true....even just RUNNING sysprep against a factory image is a violation...unless...

    If you have a Software Assurance agreement, and are doing this with W7 Enterprise, this is not an issue, or if an Enterprise Agreement is in place. The preferred method is to use W7 Enterprise, and that gives a lot of flexibility with the proper paperwork in place.

    I was surprised to learn that any attempt to reimage a factory system results in a license violation, even if the plan is to go from one factory image with a valid COA to another, exactly identical machine ALSO with a COA. This is different from the XP days.

    Microsoft wants the customer to have and SA or EA in place, otherwise you must live with the installed factory image. The only valid way to reimage such a system is with *factory* recovery media, or backup media made from that particular machine that is license compliant.

    Sunday, July 04, 2010 3:36 PM
  • It turns out that with the new licensing requirements on W7, it is a violation of the license agreement to run sysprep or "clone" a factory image of W7 to other systems. Ugly, but true....even just RUNNING sysprep against a factory image is a violation...

    RBK00 do you have a URL you could share detailing the violation?  I support public libraries and W7 Enterprise is not available to us via our educational pricing contract, and I have a library wanting to do this very thing in the next month.  I would like to be able to provide them with the official "word" on this.

    So, is this to say there is no "legal" way to clone 1 purchased system out of a group to the rest?

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 1:34 PM
  • Serious Bummer.  I checked with a PC mall rep who checked with Symantec and they told me it was okay to buy the 8 OEM machines with Win7pro and Ghost them.  But I noticed that no-where in the build process from Lenovo DVD's was there a point where we entered the MS Product Key, and that got me searching the web.  Hmph.
    Friday, July 30, 2010 7:50 PM
  • OEM installs use a special OEM key that is tied to them and doesn't need to be activated. It's usually locked to a particular BIOS siganture. This is why you need a volume license, so you have a key that can be used with standard deployment tools.

     


    Kerry Brown MS-MVP - Windows Desktop Experience
    Friday, July 30, 2010 9:09 PM
  • Right, but the OEM key is not the issue, it is just the result of a particular licensing scheme. The MDT link above shows a method where you can enter the OEM key.  Which if it were 'compliant' would suit me fine.  See the image for MDT 2010 Beta 2 here:

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/deploymentguys/archive/2009/03/30/deploying-windows-7-vl-with-mak-multiple-access-keys-using-mdt-2010.aspx

    Richie

    Sunday, August 08, 2010 2:43 AM
  • RBK00,

    can you share - as TechnobraryGeek already asked - a URL that we could use with our own customers?  That would be of great help.

    Thanks

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010 1:24 AM
  • educational  license experience

    installed 7 enterprise, other needed programs for labs, offices, etc..

    sysprep'd, imaged and mass cloned with Trinity Rescue Kit...

    on boot, Windows loads, starts services, and installs drivers....FOR HOURS!!!

    Next day, name each machine, finish domain info and good to go!

    Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:58 AM
  • I am seeking a procedure to accomplish the following...
    Customer buys 100 computers from a major manufacturer, all properly running an OEM preload (final, real version) of Windows 7 Professional. All have a valid COA.
    The customer wants to take one of those machines, modify the image with additional software and settings, removing elements he/she does not like.
    He/she then wants a way to apply that image to the remaining 99 systems, so they will all be "perfect" with minimum repetitive work, using something like Ghost

    In a small business environment I was able to clone OEM versions of MS Windows 7 Pro. 32-bit on identical hardware (HP Compaq 6005 Pro). The procedure was as follows:

    On the reference computer:

    • Customize the preinstalled Win7.
    • Remove some preinstalled software.
    • Install SP1 for Win7.
    • Install various free and/or open software (7-Zip, Adobe Reader, InfraRecorder, IrfanView, Java RE, LibreOffice, Firefox, Skype, VLC Media Player).
    • Install additional updates offered by MS Update.
    • Clean the temporary stuff with Disk Cleanup.
    • Run the following code to reset the Windows Update client and then shutdown the reference computer:
    net stop wuauserv
    rmdir /s /q %windir%\SoftwareDistribution
    del "%SystemRoot%\WindowsUpdate.log"
    reg delete HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate /v SusClientId /f
    reg delete HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate /v AccountDomainSid /f
    reg delete HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate /v PingID /f
    reg delete HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate /v SusClientIdValidation /f

    The disk of the reference computer was cloned to the rest of computers using Clonezilla.

    Additional work in Windows after imaging:
    • After Windows starts there is no need for reactivation :-)
    • Change the host name, restart, connect PC to network and join the machine to the Windows domain. Although all Windows installations on the cloned machines have the same machine SID, which is not a problem as per Microsoft, they join successfully to the Windows domain and get different SIDs on the domain:
    >psgetsid \\PC43
    SID for \\PC43:
    S-1-5-21-399335964-305235221-2206003951

    >psgetsid \\PC44
    SID for \\PC44:
    S-1-5-21-399335964-305235221-2206003951

    >psgetsid mydomain\PC43$
    SID for mydomain\PC43$:
    S-1-5-21-299502267-920026266-854245398-7702

    >psgetsid mydomain\PC44$
    SID for mydomain\PC44$:
    S-1-5-21-299502267-920026266-854245398-7703
    • Additional settings and software are applied through group policies defined on the domain.

    Hope this helps.

    -- rpr.

     

    • Proposed as answer by xenos1983 Wednesday, August 31, 2011 8:45 AM
    Thursday, March 24, 2011 2:29 PM
  • These are great instructions, but they are unfortunately violating the Microsoft OEM/Windows license agreement.... You are simply not allowed to modify the OEM image and clone the machine (sorry).

    OEM and imaging - The rules of the game
    http://www.deploymentresearch.com/Blog/tabid/62/EntryId/4/OEM-and-imaging-The-rules-of-the-game.aspx

    / Johan


    Regards / Johan Arwidmark Twitter: @jarwidmark Blog: http://www.deployvista.com
    Thursday, March 24, 2011 5:46 PM
  • official MS information on this: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff730914

    Don

    Saturday, June 09, 2012 7:14 AM
  • We're all criminals now.
    Wednesday, March 12, 2014 3:16 PM