Activate XP with Sysprep Installations

Posted on January 7, 2009 by Daniel Petri in Windows Client OS with 0 Comments

How to use Sysprep with Windows Product Activation or Volume License Media to deploy Windows XP/2003?

If you are planning a large deployment of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, obtain Volume License (VL) media and use Volume Licensing. Activation is not required when you use Volume License media (VL versions of Windows XP/2003) in conjunction with the VL product keys.

Microsoft Volume Licensing customers can enter their unique VL product keys into the unattended answer file. With Sysprep, you enter this key in your Sysprep.inf file under the “UserData” section by using the “ProductKey=” entry, for example:

(Where XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX is your product key)

This enables Windows XP/2003 to install successfully.

Note: If you use Volume License product keys with VL media, you are only required to enter the VL product key in the “UserData” section by using the ProductKey parameter as shown above. If you use Sysprep you need to edit the unattended answer file (Sysprep.inf).

Windows Product Activation is designed to work with drive imaging products that are available from third-party manufacturers. You can use the Sysprep utility that is included with Windows XP to reset activation up to three times. The Sysprep.exe utility is located on the Windows XP distribution CD-ROM in the Support\Tools folder in the file.

After Windows XP/2003 is imaged and then deployed, Windows Product Activation initiates the activation timer, which resets the installation ID (and enables the full grace period) at first start after the installation of Windows XP/2003 is complete on the target computer. Unlike Volume Licensing, unique product keys are required for each of the target computers. However, a manual telephone call is not necessary as long as the target computers have Internet connectivity and the product keys are valid; in that case, the computer activates online automatically.

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