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Licensing Questions Thread, Deploying a Windows7 image and licensing implications in Technical; Hello All, First time I have posted here, but have always found the site very informative, so thought I would ...
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    Deploying a Windows7 image and licensing implications

    Hello All,

    First time I have posted here, but have always found the site very informative, so thought I would put my question to the masses.

    I have recently starting working in the education sector, and have been tasked with upgrading an entire school infrastructure to Windows 7 (from XP). My predecessor purchased a large number of pre-installed Windows 7 PCs, which were then downgraded to Win XP until he was prepared to migrate the whole school. Each of the new PCs have a Win7 Pro license associated with it (stamped on the side). AFAIK, the school is no longer part of any EES\School Enrollment scheme. I plan to roll out a Win7 image to all the workstations when convenient.

    What I need to know is....If I create a Win7 image, then deploy it via WDS (for example) to all workstations, will I then need to walk around to each PC and update the license key within Windows to match the one stamped on the side of the machine? And also, using this method, will I be compliant within the licensing laws?

    Many Thanks.
    Last edited by Wrighty01; 11th January 2013 at 03:44 PM.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Wrighty01 (13th January 2013)

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Yes that should work but I hope you don't have too many machines to walk around entering licence keys to. I assume you already have Server 2008R2 on your domain controller and the pre-requisite 2008 CAL's for each machine? If not then I'd upgrade or introduce a 2008R2 DC first and buy any CAL's needed.

    If you are a mid to large high school then, personally, I'd have second thoughts on EES as this will make licencing a lot easier and you can use a volume license image and KMS keys which would mean you don't have to manually visit each machine. While we are talking licences, what are your plans for MS Office? If it's not the latest and you are upgrading the PC's to Win7 then it might be another advantage of looking at EES - you'll always have the correct licenses to run the latest office/windows combo.

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    Wrighty01 (13th January 2013)

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    This is for volume licenses and KMS keys. The OP is using the OEM licenses supplied with the machine

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    Wrighty01 (13th January 2013)

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    This is for volume licenses and KMS keys. The OP is using the OEM licenses supplied with the machine
    I thought you could chuck in lists of keys and allocate them out, I'm probably wrong though.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I've only ever seen/used it as a front end for the KMS server. Checking the link it does appear to use a list of MAK keys in an XML file for offline activation, but MAK keys (AFAIK) are volume license not OEM.

    I remember having this problem with Win XP a few years ago when I accidently imaged a room using the OEM copy instead of rebuilding with a VL copy. I ended up writing down the activation key from the side of one of the boxes and entering that same one into all the PC's. Still had to visit all of them individually though (only 30 in a suite).

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    My images for different machines are based on the same Win7 pro install disk. Most were upgrades to XP pro OEM licensed machines, but we had a few machines which came with Win 7 pro OEM which I'd previously downgraded to XP.

    Not sure whether this is supposed to happen, but when I installed Win 7 pro on those laptops, windows found the OEM licence key in the BIOS and was activated the first time it booted up with no intervention from me. I used FOG not WDS, but suggest the OP tries it with one machine - you might get a pleasant surprise...

    As for licensing - happy to be corrected, but either you've got a licence or not. AFAIK if your machines have a CoA sticker on the side with a licence key, you're good to go. Doesn't matter what media you used to install it.


    Edited cos bad syntax. I couldn't understand wot I wrote
    Last edited by jmak; 11th January 2013 at 05:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    I thought you could chuck in lists of keys and allocate them out, I'm probably wrong though.
    You're correct. Infact you previously directed me to VAMT and we are using it to do exactly what the OP asks.
    We upload the OEM key (it is a single key for each vendor) and chuck that out to the machines.

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    SYNACK (11th January 2013), Wrighty01 (13th January 2013)

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    Thanks for all the info gents, pretty much what I needed to know I think, and thanks for being so prompt.

    synack\cybernerd - I'll check out VAMT in relation to the type of licenses I have. If I can use it, that would be splendid.

    Pretty much all of the machines were purchased from the same vendor, so will the key be the same for all of them anyway?

    tmcd35 - I do have the relevant CALs, and plan to do exactly what you have suggested and install a 2008R2 DC before I do the Win7 roll out. Office wise, we have purchased a VLS key for 2010, so I assume I shouldn't have a problem rolling it out and activating it?

    Unfortunately, we are talking about a large number of machines, so if I can avoid manually updating keys, that would be ideal.

    In regards to re-considering using EES...I did consider this tbh, but due to the budget having been allocated elsewhere, I don't think its an option at this point, certainly not for this upgrade anyway. Definitely looking at it again long-term though.

    jmak - The scenario you describe is pretty much what I have. Machines purchased with Win7 licenses, downgraded to XP, and now ready to go back up to Win7. If they activate auto-magically once upgraded, that would be great.

    Someone else had also suggested what you mentioned about licensing (that it doesnt matter the origins of the license, as long as it been purchased, its legal) and if that is the case then that too is ideal. My main concern (as well as limiting the time it will take to roll out the upgrade) is ensuring im compliant once the new OS is out there.

    Thanks again for the posts, very much appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrighty01 View Post
    will I then need to walk around to each PC and update the license key within Windows to match the one stamped on the side of the machine?
    Just so you know, Microsoft disabled online activation for the product key located on the COA sticker over five years ago. If you decided to do this, you would have to choose the phone activation option, type out a 54 digit installation ID and then enter a corresponding 54 digit confirmation ID on each PC. This would take an eternity!


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    Quote Originally Posted by jmak View Post
    Doesn't matter what media you used to install it.
    It does. See page two of Microsoft's re-imaging rights document.

    Organizations do not have the right to reimage by using OEM media

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    Just to follow the last post, without a valid volume license (EES, SESP, Select, etc) you are not licensed to use the VL media and associated key either. So that basically leaves using the restore media supplies with each individual machine. Also, although 1 key would probably work on all OEM machines by the same manufacture, To be compliant I'm sure you are supposed to use the key of each individual machines CoA sticker.

    AFAIK to re-image machines using WDS/Ghost/FOG ect, you need to buy a volume license and use volume media. How else are we supposed to top up Bill Gates pension fund?

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    Thanks again for the input guys. Going by what you have said, and having read the imaging rights doc from MS several times, I think I have a handle on what I can and cannot do.
    To simplify my scenario I'll try and be a bit more specific. If any of this is wrong, then please do not hesitate to correct me. I need to know if i'm barking up the wrong tree here.

    I have (for example) 100 workstations. 70 purchased with OEM Win7 licenses, which have been downgraded to XP until ready for Win7. The other 30 are still boxed (also have OEM licenses), and just waiting to be installed.
    I have also purchased about 20 VLS Win7 upgrade licenses, which I may need for any workstations I have missed, and will need to be upgraded.
    According to this paragraph (if im reading it correctly) I can use the VLS key I will get with my 20 VLS licenses to create an image which I can then use on the 70 Win7 OEM machines as long as the OEM and VLS versions match (Win7 pro). I dont intend to use one of the OEM licenses to create the image, so I shouldnt be breaking any licensing laws.

    Volume Licensing customers who have licensed Microsoft software products from an OEM, through a retail source, or under any agreement other than their Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement may use copies made from Microsoft Volume Licensing media. Customers can use these copies from Microsoft media only if they are the same product and version, contain the same components, and are in the same language.
    Reimaging using Volume Licensing full version media requires that customers have licensed the Windows desktop operating system either preinstalled through the OEM or as an FPP retail product. Volume Licensing customers can use their Volume Licensing media to reimage their Windows desktop operating system from an OEM only if it is the same product and version as that on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) label that came with the PC.

    So, I think I should be good to go in regards to imaging the machines (numbers and compliance wise).
    What I need to nail down is the best way to activate the machines once installed, and it sounds like VAMT is the way to go.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Wrighty01; 14th January 2013 at 01:13 PM.

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    ^^ Correct regarding licensing
    As you are over the threshold, use KMS for activation?
    Last edited by sparkeh; 14th January 2013 at 01:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrighty01 View Post

    What I need to nail down is the best way to activate the machines once installed, and it sounds like VAMT is the way to go.
    This is pretty much where we are at. We us an OEM image, tweak it and then install it back onto the clients using FOG.
    We then activate it using the Lenovo public key either using VAMT or
    Code:
     slmgr /ipk 237XB-GDJ7B-MV8MH-98QJM-24367
    provided the BIOS knows it is a Lenovo the key works.

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