Imaging and how it ties with Microsoft's Liscense Agreement.

matts5074matts5074 Member Posts: 148
I want to make sure what I plan to do is legal, so if anyone has any advice to help me I would appreciate it.

I plan to image DELL systems of the same make/model to save myself setup time. We do *not* have a VLK, each box is purchased from DELL with an OEM copy. Now, I've noticed the OS Re-Install discs for all the machines I've checked have the exact same key. Of course this doesn't match the COA sticker on the side of the boxes which is unique.

Are the COA stickers on the side of the box what Microsoft would care about in the event of an audit rather than the key in the registry?

I'm gussing the key on the OS Re-install disc is BIOS locked to keep it from being used on a non DELL system? I can't possibly imagine DELL making a unique image for every model.

To me it seems perfectly legal, but if anyone knows of any documentation on this I wouldn't mind reading it. My guess is Microsoft issues DELL a VLK to use and it's recognized as so when you run Windows update.

Thanks

Comments

  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    When you build a fair quanity of systems, many builders opt to use the Pre-installation kit. This allows you to create your desired uniform setup including slipstream SP2 if you want. When you start the system, you are then required to enter your COA for each system.

    If you are working with OEM's you may wish to review the MS documentation on them. OEM licenses are basically disposable - 1 use, by the OEM, this is why they are much cheaper.

    Volume licensing allows the license holder to install 'x' number of copies.

    You could contact MS to be certain, particularly if you are responsible for keeping your company (or client) legal.

    To my knowledge, your COA needs to match your registry number.

    I realize what you are saying, that you have the proof to show it, but I'm not certain how an audit goes. I think you'd send up some red flags in you didn't have matching Registry/COA even if they clear you in the end.


    *****

    That aside, if you have non-matching hardware you'll want a separate image for each configuration. You may want to investigate EasyRestore (I think they are with Symantec now, but a similar product if you don't care for Symantec's stuff) That was a great product when it was by PowerQuest - I haven't used it in a while.

    At the time, it worked out to be about $15 dollars per system additional cost - to create a complete image restore point. Save to disks like the large Computer companies or create a HDD partition.


    *****

    How many systems are you talking about? Why not just factory restore them using the Dell disks provided?
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
  • matts5074matts5074 Member Posts: 148
    I contacted Microsoft and they were very clear and happy to explain it. The key doesn't have to match what is on the COA sticker because it is BIOS locked to the particular model and thus doesn't require activation. <--- This explains why hundreds of the machines have the same key in the registry. However the holder of the volume key (in this case DELL) is the only party authorized to make images using that key. In other words, DELL can customize the machines for a fee. They said I can make them for backup proposes only (which I plan to do).

    They did give me some more useful infomation that others might like to know. The keys on the COA stickers on the side of all OEM machines made after Feb 05 have internet acitvation turned off. You have to call and they ask a few questions and they will issue you a new key. If you have a VLK of your own, you are free to use that as a replacement in the event the OEM key is lost.

    So, my question has been answered. :)
  • PlantwizPlantwiz Alligator wrestler Mod Posts: 5,057 Mod
    Glad you found your answer :)

    MS can be helpful sometimes. I had a pleasant conversation with one rep today regarding some of their new programs.
    Plantwiz
    _____
    "Grammar and spelling aren't everything, but this is a forum, not a chat room. You have plenty of time to spell out the word "you", and look just a little bit smarter." by Phaideaux

    ***I'll add you can Capitalize the word 'I' to show a little respect for yourself too.

    'i' before 'e' except after 'c'.... weird?
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