Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have about 40 new Lenovo desktop and what I need is to generate an image (model) and clone it into the other 39. Simple task. I'm using acronis trueimage home 2009.

I did my clean image but each time I load the image in a new PC, I have to reactivate Windows 7 and Office 2010.

Windows 7 and Office 2010 were been activated with my MAK keys in the "model" PC.

Anyone know how to avoid to enter the keys in each clone?

share|improve this question
Did you clone an OEM version? Should not happen with that imo. (At least I did the exact same thing with CloneZilla and it worked) – slhck May 12 '11 at 8:26
The PC was formatted and we have reinstalled win 7 Professional with our Multiple Activation Key. – Irukandji May 12 '11 at 8:31
Did you SysPrep the systems before cloning? Perhaps check out what is sysprep? how is it useful? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 May 12 '11 at 19:05

The answer could be as simple as that, but I don't know how that really works:

Periodically, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 check the hardware configuration of the computer on which the operating system is installed. If the operating system detects that the hardware has changed substantially, reactivation is required.

You can always activate MAK clients using other methods than entering the keys in each clone. See this Microsoft Technet Document for more information, especially VAMT, which can be used to remotely activate clients. You can download it here.

share|improve this answer
+1 for VAMT Very handy tool for smaller deployments. And free! – Dave M May 12 '11 at 12:58

Lenovo typically sells OEM copies of Windows 7 and "retail" copies of Office 2010. To image across new systems and have the activation stay in place involves preserving OEM pre-activation for Windows 7 and is impossible to do directly with "retail" licenses of office.

For the OS you need three ingredients: the Lenovo BIOS, the generic Lenovo OEM product key, and the file lenovo.xrm-ms. Google how to permanently active OEM Windows with the ingredients.

For Office: VAMT 2.0 can perform proxy activations for "retail" Office and can re-apply a CIL offline to reactive Office without using up an activation count for retail.

Alternatively, a single volume license of Office 2010 should be able to be used in the image and will not un-activate when moved to new hardware. This is probably what you want.

Complicated enough to makes for a sad day for America.

I have done this countless times in the past, and didn't even realize until recently that the process inherently relied upon the correct license keys for Office and Windows, namely a volume key, not retail, or MAK/KMS.

share|improve this answer

Windows activation uses unique identifiers of the underlying hardware. This is why if you change the system board, hard drive, etc. you may be required to reactivate Windows. This prohibits activating Windows once and then cloning it to several other computers when you only have one valid key. It is by design. Circumventing it is circumventing Windows activation.

I would use slmgr.vbs for Windows 7 and ospp.vbs for Office 2010 to create a batch file that will activate the software. An alternative is Volume Activation Management tool (VAMT).

Another alternative is by using Windows Deployment Services. You can use ImageX to specify a MAK for Windows 7, although you'd have to write an installer for Office 2010 that would then activate with ospp.vbs.

share|improve this answer
In my case (PC aren't in a network) the batch file works well! I noticed that during lunch time Win7 is activated automatically, but not Office. It seems the periodic check has accepted the new HW as told by @slhck. – Irukandji May 12 '11 at 12:09

I have no experience with MAK, but from reading the doc at Converting KMS Clients to MAK Activation, it seems to me that you have perhaps installed the MAK key on the reference computer by simply entering it via Control Panel -> System -> Change your product key.

According to the doc, the client will then activate itself over the Internet one time. If you have then taken the image and transplanted it on another computer, then in effect you have transplanted an activated system into different hardware, therefore requiring a second activation.

The simplest possibility might be to enter the MAK key on an unactivated reference computer while it is disconnected from the Internet. In that case when the image is installed, it will activate itself once connected to the Internet.

Another solution might be to activate the reference computer using the second method :

slmgr.vbs /ipk <MultipleActivationKey>

The MAK client then does not try to activate itself automatically, so you can then take an unactivated image. Hopefully, after installation the image will activate itself sometimes later, but the documentation doesn't specify when and if, so a little doubt still remains whether the activation will have to be done manually.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.