Hi all,

I'm hoping you can help me out with a quandary I'm facing. We purchase our Dell systems with OS licenses (as opposed to owning our own VLK) but when performing a manual installation from the Dell-provided OS DVD (or CD for XP), no Windows serial needs to be entered. When running through a scripted installation though, it seems to require that a serial number be entered during the process. How do you generally handle that? There doesn't seem to be a way to wildcard the serial and using the same Windows license over and over just seems like it could backfire. Any ideas?

Cheers,
Noah Krohn
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What i do is install the OS manaully using the dell cd.

Then you can use a key finder program to see what license the CD is using. (Here's one i like from nirsoft)

You should be able to use that for your scripted installs as long as you upload the same media.
Answered 02/15/2012 by: dchristian
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We also buy Dells with the OS license. What I did was upload my OEM media as a source and used the scripted install wizard to build the basic unattended answer file. As for the key, I used the KMS license key for Windows 7 Professional and then later on went in to the answer file and manually removed the license key so it was blank and would use the OEM license key that is embedded with the Dell hardware.

As an extra note, I originally had an issue that my default setup language during the OS install was defaulting to Russian. I had to manually edit the answer file to make english the default language also. I did this quite a while ago, so I am not sure if this is still an issue or not.
Answered 02/15/2012 by: asanchez
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Between the two of you, you've managed to solve my issues for both Windows XP and now Windows 7. Thanks very much both of you!
Answered 02/16/2012 by: monkeyninja
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Technically you're seeing Bulgarian, because it's alphabetically the first languauge in the media :)
It was resolved in 3.3 with the addition of the language selection box in the UI, but I still see it on rare occasions. It's not a bad habit to check your XML; if you see anything in language that is bg-bg simply change it to en-US and you're good to roll.

On using the KMS key then reverting to OEM, are you ever seeing any systems that ton't activate properly? In many cases where I've seen this attempted the key just reverts to null and eventually the OS is bricked. the dell hardware doesn't contain a key, it's their factory image that has they key built in, so reformatting the drives and reinstalling the OS with a scripted install loses the key. Or did I miss a step in your process?

Heads up- Tecnically you're supposed to use the key on the sticker when reinstalling OS if you want to be all legal; not a harvested OEM key or some other method. I'm no auditor, and they generally aren't too particular about such things as long as you hold the proper licenses, but they have the right to be particular about such variations. Fair warning?
Answered 02/16/2012 by: cblake
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Maybe I missed something then. Let's say you remove the K2000 from the equation and just install from the Dell-provided media. At no time during the installation are you asked to enter a license and when the installation completes, the OS has already been activated. So it's either pulling license information from hardware or there's a hard-coded serial that it uses, unless I'm missing a third option here.
Answered 02/16/2012 by: monkeyninja
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The media probably has it's own XML file in it. I don't have a Dell CD ironically so I can't say with certainty. When it's coming from K2 or another scripted install method it is likely overriding the included XML.
Answered 02/16/2012 by: cblake
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Hey Chris,

I'm going to contact my Dell account rep and inquire about the OEM licensing. I definitely want to make sure this is a kosher practice.

As far as using the KMS and reverting to OEM, I'm not really even doing that. I'm basically removing all license key info from the answer file created by the KBOX and only telling it that it should be installing Win 7 Professional. I'm just picking the KMS key so it can generate the file with basic information. I then usually take this file and then edit with some specific custom settings and use this for my builds. We've had zero issues with this.

If I try to install Windows 7 with this answer file on older Dells that do NOT have a Windows 7 OEM license, I have to manually activate Windows with one of our volume license MAK keys after the install.

If I use any machine that shipped with a Dell OEM Windows 7 Professional license, Windows automatically activates with an OEM product ID.
Answered 02/16/2012 by: asanchez
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I would tend to agree with your logic; I've seen a few illogical software providers in my day... not mentioning any names.... worth a double check. There's a lot of different licensing programs out there for Windows. Understanding the one you're using is important.
Answered 02/16/2012 by: cblake
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We purchased a single Windows 7 VLK and use that for all of our scripted installations. The VLK gives us rights to reimage an unlimited number of Dells, so long as they have their own OEM Windows 7 COA. As for the scripted install, we removed the <ProductKey>xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx</ProductKey> line from the xml and created a post install task to handle the activation. When our key gets close to the activation limit, we contact MS and they add more activations to our key in 48-72 hrs. It essentially works on the honor system. They're trusting that you're only using the key to reimage machines that have their own OEM licensing. If you get audited and you've been activating machines without an OEM license, obviously you're in trouble.

Post install task
cscript C:\Windows\System32\slmgr.vbs /IPK xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
cscript C:\Windows\System32\slmgr.vbs /ato

Here's a whitepaper on reimage rights
Reimage Rights
Answered 02/20/2012 by: andibogard
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