Windows Not Activating After Imaging


  • Hello,

    I’ve been using FOG for about a half year without issues. We use Dell laptops at my work. We changed to a new model of laptop (still Dell) and the new models, when imaged, copy over the product key from the image it would seem.

    I tested an older laptop and freshly imaged it, there are no activation issues. Just the new latitudes we have. We had another series of latitudes that also imaged no problem it’s just these new Latitude 5xxx series.

    If I wipe the imaged laptop and reinstall Windows it retains this product key from the imaging and the activation error persists. They all seem to have OEM keys (new and old).

    Any ideas on how to resolve this? Thanks.


  • @tom-elliott Thank you very much for your assistance and time!


  • @sebastian-roth The firmware activation aught to work, but you’re absolutely correct that from a legal standpoint, you cannot image OEM images unless the image is the exact same image that the machine came with.

    What does this mean?
    If you have a Dell Latitude 1100 (Just using a very simple example not real models or anything - to prove a point) that came from Dell with a specific image, you can give all of the Dell Latitude 1100’s that came with that image the same image. You cannot modify that image in anyway (according to the legal jargon). That image, technically, can only go on the machines that came with the same image.

    What does this mean?
    If you have 1 Dell Latitude 1100 that came with Software A and 1 Dell Latitude 1100 that came with Software B. Only the Dell Latitude 1100s that came with Software A can get the image with Software A, and only the Dell Latitude 1100s that came with Software B can get the image with Software B. You, from a legal standpoint, cannot put the image with Software A on the machine that came with Software B, and vice versa.

    Basically what it boils down to. You can only put the image that came with the machine on the machine.

    Will FOG be able to distinguish this? Absolutely not. FOG doesn’t care about the image in the least. This does not mean FOG is in anyway responsible for maintaining the Legal value of your contract between your vendor and Microsoft. FOG is just a tool. You shouldn’t use a soldering iron on any part of the motherboard of your laptops, but there’s technically nothing keeping you from doing it. You absolutely could put a soldering iron on the laptop, but it’s not the people who created the Soldering Iron fault if you void your warranty.

  • Senior Developer

    @jlev_wayside said in Windows Not Activating After Imaging:

    If I wipe the imaged laptop and reinstall Windows it retains this product key from the imaging and the activation error persists.

    Sounds like the key is held in the firmware of those laptops. As well I wonder if there is a legal issue with imaging OEM machines. Though I have to admit that I don’t know much about the activation stuff. @george1421 or @Tom-Elliott might know more.

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