Sysprep required?



  • I understand most of the guides here show that sysprep is required to help prevent future hardware conflicts.
    My question is about Licencing…everytime a client is deployed with a sysprep image it requires activation.
    In my lab I require different client machines to be able to use different images at any time, i.e. Windows 7 64x, 86x, Windows XP, Vista…etc.
    I’m looking for a way to images the machines without having to activate each time I deploy, this would be costly.



  • I think you have a valid argument for your boss to change his opinion about volume licenses. 125 images per computer must be hard to manage no matter where you store them.



  • So your recommendation is to upload each O/S ghost image from each machine. I’m looking currently at 20 “localized” images 32bit and 64bit for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP, (forget about Vista) no one uses that crap anymore ;), Windows 2K only 2 images. Potentially looking at roughly 125 images for 50 computers = 6250 images!:eek: (not including 25 laptops, and handful of Mac’s)
    Now that would be worst case possible. I wouldn’t load 125 images on EACH system.:) But this might be my best solution. Everytime I load an O/S is to upload it to FOG and align it to that specific system.
    Now I have to figure out an easy numbering or letter system for these “educated” testers to follow :rolleyes:



  • Basically, your license and activation challenges are the same whether you use FOG or Ghost. There is nothing stopping you from replicating what you do with Ghost on FOG, you could have all those images that are now located on local disks, stored on your FOG server instead. If you have 5 images stored on 50 computers, that would give you 250 images stored on a FOG server. Totally doable. You could get rid of your second partition on your computers, and secure your images on proper storage.

    Going from there to using one image for several computers is a challenge that are the same no matter what imaging system you choose.



  • Thanks Bjorn for your time,

    What happens here is not like a school environment where all systems are equal and imaged the same. Different hardware specs throughout the lab. I’m in an environment for testing peripheral devices i.e. keyboards, mice. Testing is done not only for USA but for other countries as well…hence “localized images”, along with Win XP, Vista, and even Win 2000 o_O , I’m currently installing Windows 8.

    The current set up is each system has 2 partitions with different HDD sizes. 1st partition has the current O/S, the 2nd Partition saves the Ghost images where testers can select which O/S the desire then load it onto the 1st partition. I have to go to each system and install, update and save images.

    They are all from the same Windows DVD install disk. When I install Windows I am given a activation key provided to me for about 10 licences then I have to request a new licence from my employer.

    Would it be a good idea to use a program such as nlite to create an installation with drivers and activation then upload FOG for deployment?



  • buckITall,

    Let me see if I understand you correct. You have ghost images stored locally on every machine that are machine specific? Or are they the same image for all machines? If the latter is the case, you could just use FOG with the same disk images (well, image the disk with ghost, go straight to upload in FOG, to convert from ghost to FOG images). There are no difference in how disk images behave after imaging, when you compare FOG and ghost, except the fact that FOG will change the computer name for you.

    Assuming worst case, you have machine specific, locally made ghost images with computer names and all. Are your machines in a domain? If not, you could use the same preactivated image for all machines without sysprep, as FOG changes the computer name after imaging. I do think the activation will survive the name change, although I haven’t tried it.

    One image for all machines in such a case would mean one image for every computer make and model.

    Perhaps I confused you more than helped you now? :)



  • Thank you Bjorn, I’ll have to read a bit more on that, that might answer my problems.

    I think my question was misunderstood.
    I have currently 50 machines mostly custom built here. Each machine has to be able to load localized images as well as different O/S. Different images are loaded several times a day. Sometimes testers will switch back and forth between Windows XP and back to Windows 7, eventually to Windows 8.
    Currently We are using an older Ghost boot CD. to copy the 1st parition (current O/S) to the 2nd partition.
    The 2nd partition holds all the validated O/S images.

    From what little I understand each time I load the image from FOG after sysprep, it requires validation.
    Please excuse my ignorance since I am still learning o_O

    What can I do to preserve the licence for the “machine” and not the image?
    Is there something else I am missing other than using FOG server, ie…WAIK, or VAMT 2.0?

    Thanks for your time and I really enjoy and learning more about FOG. It really is a great tool for administrating Windows.
    I’m hoping to get this running soon then I can start imaging the handful of Mac’s in here.



  • Windows XP: [url]http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb457078.aspx[/url]
    Windows Vista/7: [url]http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=5114[/url]

    Both documents describe how to preserve OEM Activation in Windows during imaging. No Volume license needed.

    However, there are some manufacturers that ship their computers without preactivation. They only supply the activation key on a sticker. For these machines, a volume license is needed to prevent activation.


  • Developer

    Yes sysprep is required. No if, ands or buts.



  • Ok since my boss doesn’t want to use VLK or SLP is there something else out there that I can move from Old Ghost program that uses OEM keys? Something preferably PXE boot from remote station. Or should I try and upload each system image?



  • For Windows XP you need either a VLK license (site license) or use an oem image with a royalty key (SLP key).

    You can’t image and deploy a standard oem key based image to a lab, it’s against the licensing.


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