Windows 7 Licensing
I'm trying to get my head around Windows 7 Licensing. Here is my sitution:
Recently we have purchased 32 new DELL machines. They all have Windows 7 OEM licences. We have re-imaged the machines with Windows XP, which uses a Volume Licence Key. We have no problems with this. However, I would like to build a Window 7 image on one machine and re-image the remaining 31 with this image.
Obviously the machines are licensed for Windows 7, but Iím not sure how the product activation will work here. My understanding is that we need to activate Windows 7 either directly with Microsoft (using MAK activation) or with a configured server onsite (using KMS activation).
But how do I use the OEM keys that come with the machines if I reimage them? Also, would I activate the Windows 7 machine before I take an image of it? Also, when I reimage the machines a second time (in say six months), how are they activated again?
Is there anybody else out there who has done the same?
with oem as far as im aware you will just have to activate them individually every time you rebuild and usually with the oem stickers ive needed to do it over the phone as online system just says no (you are supposed to use the manufacturers image only i believe and once had a snotty woman from ms tell me that even though i had an ms code and an ms disk i would have to get a restore disk from manufacturer(turns out i tried to activate it with no code whoops))
With the so-called 'royalty' OEMs, which include big manufatuers like Dell, the OEM-provided reinstall disks do NOT require activation in the same way that the generic OEM disks do. They instead check the ACPI_SLIC table in the BIOS to against a digital licence embedded into the install source to locally validate that the machine is eligible. This is done completely transparently without any action by the user.
Therefore, if you build your image using an install from a Dell-branded Windows 7 install DVD, you can apply that image to any of the machines that have the correct licence information in the BIOS.
As you have already figured out, if you use a Volume Licence key to install Windows 7, you will need to activate via KMS or MAK. You do not activate before creating the image.
Sorry to resurrect this old(ish) thread but we're having problems with hardware that we purchased with OEM windows versions and KMS keys. Basically these machines are reporting that the information held in the BIOS ACPI_SLIC table doesn't exist and therefore we can't activate Windows 7. These PCs are not 'big brand' ones but are from a supplier much lauded on this site in the past.
The error is:
"The software licences service reported that the computer could not be activated with a volume licence product key. Volume licenced systems require upgrading from a qualified OS."
As far as I'm concerned we do have a qualifying OS since we purchased the PCs with the OS installed. Is there any way around this apart from using MAK keys (which we will soon run out of)?
Are you trying to install with OEM media? I haven't done much with OEM, but if you're using OEM media I don't think it works with KMS or MAK keys, only the individual OEM Key attached to the PC?
To use KMS or MAK I think you need Volume licensing media.
No - we're using the Windows 7 Enterprise media as provided by our Schools Agreement. It's only affecting one manufacturer of PCs as far as I'm aware and short of cracking the BIOS we're a bit stuck. Since we have more than a hundred of these machines it's a bit of a headache and because we've been using MAK keys to get around the problem and have had to re-image a few times due to issues we've run out of activations. MS have upped our limit once already but seem reluctant to do so again (understandably).
HBJB: If you have a schools agreement then you will have enough licenses to cover all your PCs.
As you're using the the win 7 ent that comes with the schools agreement, why not just use a KMS server? You won't need to do anything then.
If you speak to MS, they should increase your activations limit as you have a valid reason for it.
There is a work around for stanadlone ugrades that have a similar problem:
I doubt it will work, but the 'registry hack' might be worth a punt.