We currently buy all computers with XP OEM through CDW or HP. All of our computers are Compaq/HP. We probably have around 20 models. Each computer comes with a preinstall of XP (OEM). It also comes with a OEM product key and an XP CD.

I have created a RIS flat image using one of the HP CDs we obtained with one of the computers. I then RIPreped 3 images based off the HAL method for all computers in our company.

Since I am not using the XP OEM preinstall, I have to enter the OEM product key and activate each unit by phone method. It's quite annoying and I don't enjoy it. But it seems the most cost effective way.

Here's where my questions ly -

1) Should I scrap RIS and use Ghost? Using Ghost, could I create an image of the preinstall (not requiring activation) for each HP model, modify it with our company customizations, and deploy it? If I strip the sids, will it screw up the OEM preinstall and rerequire reactavtion.

2) If I opt not to use the OEM preinstall and opt to use the product key with CD, does that mean I HAVE to use the CD that came with the unit to be legal? I was curious if my method with RIS is legal. I mean, I do use a unique product key that comes with each unit but I don't actually use the CD that came with the unit as I only use one flat image. That flat image is all based off one CD, which is indeed created by HP though and all my computers are HP. Hope that makes sense. I am just curious if this is a valid method.

I'd love to go volume licensing and make this easy but it seems expensive compared to going the OEM route.

Thank you
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I'm not sure if your legal or not but I can't see why not if each is licensed and you're using the correct product key.

The question about cost comes down to

1. How much time do you spend doing it your current way
2. How much time would you save using volume licensing (I really like not having to bother with individual keys, using one set of media and using BDD and Deploy Center)

I think if you try to run Ghost/sysprep, you're going to run into issues. I've attempted to put back the original factory image ghosted/sysprep'd from one Dell onto the same models and had to go thru Microsoft Tech support to activate. Took a lot of time per unit. This was for units we had depreciated and were getting rid of. There is something about the licensing key Dell originally used and sysprep. They are setup not to work together somehow.

If you google it, you'll come up with a few hits about the issue. However, i found this article which may help you, http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/deploy/oempreac.mspx
Answered 07/31/2006 by: Rhys
Orange Belt

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Thank you for your reply.

The whole RIS deal actually works out very well. I guess the thing that bugs me is the question that the Microsoft activator asks, "how many computers is this software installed on?". Well the software is installed on all my computers as I'm using the flat image but it has a unique serial key for each unit. So I'm not sure if he's asking that as in the CD or the product key. Suppose I could ask but I normally just say "the product key is only used on this machine".

I also called HP about this once and told them how I am doing this and they acted like that was perfectly legit. It was a guy from their technical service team and may not really know but I guess I'll take his word for it.
Answered 08/01/2006 by: snoops
Senior Yellow Belt

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Not that it'd fit your scenario, but to make you aware of that:
some of the PC makers (specifically the ones ending with "ell" [8D]), offer the service where they take customer's base image and place it on their hardware instead of the standard junkload. They inject the drivers, sysprep it, etc. At the time we were doing business with them, they offered such service for about $5 per PC - which was reasonable considering our moderate volumes...
Answered 08/02/2006 by: revizor
Third Degree Blue Belt

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I don't remember what they quoted us but it was alot higher than $5. I want to say around $25-50.
Answered 08/02/2006 by: Rhys
Orange Belt

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