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Question about OEM builds

by Steven Haninger / November 30, 2004 11:56 PM PST

When I build my own PCs and install the OS, early in the process, I must type in the product ID code. I occasionally configure new OEM builds for a local school. These come with the OS fully installed, drivers loaded, etc. But, I still have to install the product ID code on the first boot. Of course with XP, I must activate afterwards. Does anyone know how OEMs do a complete OS installation without the product ID?

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Re: Question about OEM builds
by Yew / December 1, 2004 2:49 AM PST

Basically they use what's known as a corporate edition of Windows. It's a special volume license key that allows you to bypass the activation.

Some OEMs will modify the installer program to run a special program that does the activation if it detects you're running a system from that OEM. Dell does that, since I once accidentally used a laptop OS CD to install XP onto a desktop system that wasn't Dell. Didn't really notice until it kept rejecting my activation attempts, which made me look a bit more closely.

But you're not going to be able to get permission to do this unless you're a multi-million dollar client. If you're going to roll out a bunch of systems with identical configurations, consider investing in a copy of Norton Ghost or a similar program. If you have a valid license for each system, there's nothing wrong with you creating an image of one system, and then using that to roll out say a lab full of systems in a matter of hours instead of days.

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Thanks. That partially explains it
by Steven Haninger / December 1, 2004 4:39 AM PST

The particular builder we use for the school my wife is tech coordinator specializes in small business and school needs. When we have them build several systems at a time, we still get a full OEM copy of Windows, driver disks for the MB and other components, etc. This is how I like it done. We select the individual configurations and have them custom built so these are not "package" offerings where the OEM makes an image disk of some sort. And, as I stated, when we start these for the first time, I still need to enter the product ID key from the OEM disk package and then go through the activation process for each machine. This is not done by the builder. Now, because I often blow away their installation and do one from scratch myself, I wanted to recreate the ability to not plug in the product ID early on. In this way, I could create an image of a fully configured PC and just load that on all the others we bought at the same time of that hardware configuration. I would still need to enter the unique product ID for each machine but could do it after deploying the image. But, sounds like this is not easy for the average guy on the street. Thanks for that info.

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