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I am planning to make a Windows installation in some laptops. I ve planned to make installations, new settings etc in one laptop, take an imageof the disk and mount the image to the other machines. The questions is, what can I do if Windows are already activated? It's a bit illegal I think. Any ideas?

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Are these going to be in a corporate environment in a domain? If so, you need to get an SSID changer too. – KCotreau Jun 17 '11 at 20:15
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you are not using a Volume Licence Key to be legal you will need to enter in a new key for each machine after you load the image. (at the bottom of the 2nd link there is a command line version so you could script it to make the action of loading the image faster.)

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Seems a good solution. Thank you :) – py_script Jun 17 '11 at 18:07

Before you capture your image, run sysprep. I prefer the OOBE, Generalize, and Shutdown options. These will prepare your image to handle some operations on firstboot.

OOBE: Will ask for computer name, reset SSIDs, initial admin user creation, and a new license key for activation.

Generalize: Will make changes to the HAL to accommodate any driver/hardware differences between the machines.

Shutdown: Boot to your imaging software CD after shutdown and capture the image.

If the computers are all a single brand and came with Windows 7 installed already, you will most likely not have to enter a license key because it will be pulled in from the BIOS/SLIC. This is the case atleast with imaging Dell machines that had OEM Windows 7 installed at the factory.

Sysprep can be found at c:\windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe and you can either choose these options from the GUI or specify them on the command line.

c:\windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /generalize /shutdown
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