We have a number of old gateway computers that came with Windows XP. We would like to make an image of one of these machines to speed up repairs on all the rest. Will running sysprep on windows XP strip the product key out before imaging so that each machine I put the image on will ask for the product key for that machine? Is the windows xp install cd, sysprep and clonezilla all the software that I need for this?


Sysprep does remove the product key, but you can use a generic one in your sysprep answer file, as long as you are using XP Professional OEM installations, see this article on TechNet.


That's basically what we used back when I was in IT a year or so ago. The only difference was Altiris for the imaging.

Another option, if you need it, would be Acronis True Image (which is pay for). Clonezilla has worked well for me personally across my machines.


There are many ways to deactivate your Windows XP. Here's one:

  1. Run "regedit".
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents directory in the registry.
  3. Right-click on the registry entry labeled "OOBETimer" and click "Modify."
  4. Change at least one digit of the value and click "OK".

Now your WinXP key is deactivated.

  • Can you give instructions? Remember, not everyone on this site is computer savvy – Canadian Luke Nov 5 '12 at 19:45
  • @Luke, Now I've modified my answer. This way is shorter. – Searush Nov 6 '12 at 12:10

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