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Windows Thread, XP SP3 Sysprep causing invalid product key in Technical; Hi all, My name's Will and I'm the ICT Manager at a school in Birmingham. I've run into a problem ...
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    machin05's Avatar
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    XP SP3 Sysprep causing invalid product key

    Hi all,

    My name's Will and I'm the ICT Manager at a school in Birmingham. I've run into a problem that I'm having trouble resolving and I was hoping some of you guys could help out.

    I've created a spanking new image for some newlaptops that we've received and I'm about to Ghost it onto the other laptops.
    I always install XP Pro with SP2 from scratch using our Volume Licencing CD and Product Key which I've used for the 3 or so years. I've done the same this time around but to keep the image up to date I downloaded and installed SP3 along with the SP3 sysprep tools.

    The problem comes during mini-setup when I come to enter the Product Key. It's saying that the Product Key is invalid despite the fact I'm using the same product key that is a) on every XP pro pc in our entire network, and b) I used to install the image from scratch. I can proceed through mini-setup if I leave the product key blank, but then I have a 25 day activation limit. Obviously any attempt to activate Windows using my VLK is thwarted!

    Has anyone else come across this error?

    Incidently (or not as the case may be), I installed SP3 on our most recent desktops before sysprepping them, but the difference being I (inadvertently) used the SP2 version of sysprep. This worked without a problem.

    Is my image knackered?

    Any input will be gratefully received and if you need any more info, fire away...

    Cheers,
    Will

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Sorry... prob just me, but 1, why are you using Ghost not RIS (WDS whatever it is now) and 2 why are you using SYSPrep

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Are you using the latest version of sysprep?

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...playlang=en&tm

    Ben

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Not long after XP SP3 was released, it was reported that if you created a slipstreamed disc on Windows Vista, this corrupted the disc (similar to the symptoms you're experiencing).

    By the sounds of things though, you haven't done this, but installed XP SP3 onto an existing XP SP2 install which should be fine.

    I would recommend you either follow this guide and slipstream XP SP3 (on either Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 only) or you can download an ISO from Microsoft and burn it directly to disc.

    I would also highly recommend you look at creating an answer file as you have a VLK. This will save you typing it in 50 times (or whatever number of machines you're imaging). I usually completely automate the sysprep procedure (apart from the computer name) which I specify manually. It saves a lot of time and effort.

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    User3204's Avatar
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    Are you sure you're using the right key ?

    Which sounds like a stupid question.. but when I check on the Microsoft site, and check on our Select (?) agreements, they all have different codes with them, I have about four codes I can use.

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    if you have or use WSUS could you not for the sake of getting it to work just get it as far as SP2 with whatever else you need on it excluding SP3 and get WSUS to update them to SP3 ?

    Try it on one or two to start with and see if it breaks anything and if not then do the rest ?

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    machin05's Avatar
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    Hi guys,

    Cheers for all your reponses. I was out of work at 4pm so have only just read your replies.

    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Sorry... prob just me, but 1, why are you using Ghost not RIS (WDS whatever it is now) and 2 why are you using SYSPrep
    Hi Matt.

    Ghost is just how I'm used to doing it and I've never felt or seen the need to change. Our server etup is woefully outdated (win2000) and running to near capacity so I don't really have the resources to trial a RIS setup. Ghost isn't causing the problem, it's the mini-setup that runs after sysprep, which I use to strip the image of it's security identifiers, computername etc.
    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I was under the assumption (and years of trouble free image cloning) that running sysprep before duplicating was a necessity.

    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    Are you using the latest version of sysprep?

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...playlang=en&tm

    Ben
    Hi Ben,
    Yeah, I downloaded the SP3 syprep tools after I'd installed Service Pack 3. As I mentioned earlier, I had run the older sysprep on a previous image that had SP3 installed and that worked out fine. It has only been since using the latest sysprep that the problem has occured.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I would recommend you either follow this guide and slipstream XP SP3 (on either Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 only) or you can download an ISO from Microsoft and burn it directly to disc.

    I would also highly recommend you look at creating an answer file as you have a VLK. This will save you typing it in 50 times (or whatever number of machines you're imaging). I usually completely automate the sysprep procedure (apart from the computer name) which I specify manually. It saves a lot of time and effort.
    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for your suggestions, I'll have a look into an answer file before my next big install. As far as slipstreaming SP3 onto the install I'm not sure how this would affect my situation. I have a feeling that the problem is with the latest sysprep. It's as if it alters the version of Windows XP so that it no longer is a Volume Licencing version and that it now needs activating.

    Quote Originally Posted by User3204 View Post
    Are you sure you're using the right key ?

    Which sounds like a stupid question.. but when I check on the Microsoft site, and check on our Select (?) agreements, they all have different codes with them, I have about four codes I can use.
    Hi,

    Yeah, I'm 100% sure it's the right key. It's the same one I've been using for about 3 years (maybe more) and as I don't use unattended setup I've typed it in hundreds and hundreds of times! I've also looked on our Microsoft Licencing site and used the Product on there (which is different) but it still doesn't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by mac_shinobi View Post
    if you have or use WSUS could you not for the sake of getting it to work just get it as far as SP2 with whatever else you need on it excluding SP3 and get WSUS to update them to SP3 ?

    Try it on one or two to start with and see if it breaks anything and if not then do the rest ?
    Cheers for your suggestion. I'll end up redoing the image, but without SP3. I'll have a look into WSUS (never heard of it before) for rolling out SP3

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    ricki's Avatar
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    hi

    I dont know if this helps but download a program called newsid

    knock the machine off the domain and run delprof.

    Ghost the machine.

    Place the image on the new computer

    Now run newsid.

    You dont have to enter a key.

    Join the machine to the domain and then use a script to reset the wsus id.

    Just an idea.

    Richard
    Last edited by ricki; 18th September 2008 at 02:04 PM.

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by machin05 View Post
    Hi guys,
    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I was under the assumption (and years of trouble free image cloning) that running sysprep before duplicating was a necessity.
    You are correct, you must sysprep images before duplicating them.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    It's not if you use something like newsid to change the security identifier.

    Ben

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    Face-Man's Avatar
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    If you are using Ghostcast you can tick a box to generate a new SID when you ghost the computer and there is then no need to run sysprep I've done it like that for at least 6 years.
    This however is not recommended by Microsoft but it does defiantly work
    [edit]
    This does mean one image per hardware spec as Powdarrmonkey points out things can go really wrong if you do this on a different set of hardware
    [edit]
    Last edited by Face-Man; 18th September 2008 at 03:03 PM. Reason: update

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    Sysprep does a lot of other things besides just clearing the SID, particularly if you are changing hardware.

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    machin05's Avatar
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    Success!!

    Cheers for you help and advice peeps. What I ended up doing was running through mini-setup without entering a Product ID, uninstalling SP3, using my VL XP cd to install Windows XP over the top of itself, then reinstall SP3 and run sysprep again.

    Not sure what caused the problem in the first place, but this has resolved it.

    Phew!

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    machin05 -

    I loaded Windows XP SP2 VL onto a laptop and then I fully patched it and put SP3 along with all of our applications.

    I then captured an image with Microsoft imagex.exe.

    I think sysprepped it with the SP3 version and could not get in with the normal key.

    So I will be rolling back to the captured image and using SP2 sysprep on the SP3 image as you did successfully. I'll let you know if it works.

    Thanks for all of the details.



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