Q

Hitting licensing wall with Win XP OEM installations

My company bought 20 Dell machines, Optiplex 14 GX260 and 6 GX 270s. According to corporation standards, I have to make a lot of changes to the registry, Windows settings, Office settings and custom programs need to be installed. I though I'd do everything on a master machine and then sysprep, and then image and distribute to the other machines. I don't want the management to buy the volume license as we have already paid for the OEM...

version that came with the PCs. Will it be a problem to use the OEM version with sysprep? How can I automatically put the Dell serial tag as the computer name once the setup runs after the re-image?

This is a somewhat complicated issue, but after speaking with Microsoft directly I was able to get a solid answer. Microsoft allows XP Professional OEM installations to be imaged and redistributed for all machines for which there is a license. However, they do not allow this for Windows XP Home.

I suspect you are using XP Professional, but one way to get around any possible issues with licensing with Home is to create MSI packages for each set of changes to be applied, and then push those out to each system individually. Less convenient, certainly, but you won't run into a possible licensing wall.

This was first published in May 2004

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