WIN10 activation of deployed image (Multiple PCs)


  1. Posts : 4
    Windows
       #1

    WIN10 activation of deployed image (Multiple PCs)


    Hello tenforums!

    After spending some 60 hours I taught myself how to image a hard disk, and spread it over the network using a switch and a master computer. My setup:

    • 1 master PC with win10 image
    • 1 switch
    • 1 router with TFTP/DHCP
    • 23 receiving PCs
    • Clonezilla DRBL software for image deploying


    I want my image to skip OOBE, as I already created an user account with the required software. I figured out how to skip OOBE with the unattend xml file, thanks to karis videos.

    Now that I will deploy it to multiple computers (23 to be exact) I was wondering, how do we activate all of the 23 computers windows 10? Surely there is an easier way to do that than to insert the keys manually each time we spread the image and start every computer up. Then there are also keys for visual studio, etc.

    What would be the best or easiest possible method to use?
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  2. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,010
    Windows10
       #2

    In the end, it will take probably take longer to work out how to automate it rather than just doing it manually.
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  3. Superfly's Avatar
    Posts : 3,325
       #3

    Well the idea behind Volume licensing is exactly this... One key for all installations (be they MAK or KMS) ... however as it appears you are using the OEM key upgrade , I agree with cereberus.. for a 1-time install to gain DL manual would be easier - I did a setupcomplete command post recently.. but can't find it right now.
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  4. Samuria's Avatar
    Posts : 6,030
    windows 10
       #4

    Do you have 23 activation keys or a vl key. did you Sysprep the image before you deploy if not every PC will have the same Id and disk signature which can be a problem
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  5. Posts : 4
    Windows
    Thread Starter
       #5

    cereberus said:
    In the end, it will take probably take longer to work out how to automate it rather than just doing it manually.
    It would, I agree. The images will have to be deployed again every 10 weeks to refresh the computers because they are used by students in a lab setting. I'm all for automation!
    Superfly said:
    Well the idea behind Volume licensing is exactly this... One key for all installations (be they MAK or KMS) ... however as it appears you are using the OEM key upgrade , I agree with cereberus.. for a 1-time install to gain DL manual would be easier - I did a setupcomplete command post recently.. but can't find it right now.
    I looked into into VL just now. My understanding of it is, that you setup a windows 2008 (or other specified server by windows) that can give keys to clients upon a request. The keys will have to be renewed every 180 days.

    KMS Source: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/.../ff793434.aspx
    Samuria said:
    Do you have 23 activation keys or a vl key. did you Sysprep the image before you deploy if not every PC will have the same Id and disk signature which can be a problem
    We have no keys yet.

    The image is sysprepped right before I captured it. Let's say I have 23 keys and activate them manually on all clients, and I redeploy the same image to every client again will windows automatically stay activated? As I heard the windows activation keys are bound to the motherboard.
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  6. Posts : 4
    Windows
    Thread Starter
       #6

    I did some more research.

    New plan:
    - Obtain VL key
    - Install clean win10 with VL key
    - Modify that install
    - Deploy image

    Activation will have te be done through MAK since we have 24 machines.


    Scenario 1:

    Install windows and all custom software on C drive. Image that disk. Deploy image every 10 weeks. I am guessing that with every deploy, a MAK key will be used. If not, this is a great solution.

    Scenario 2:

    Install windows on C drive. Partition disk and save all software and user data on partition D. Deploy C drive only once to all PC and activate windows once. Deploy partitioned D drive every 10 weeks.

    What do you guys think?
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  7. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,010
    Windows10
       #7

    Athylus said:
    I did some more research.

    New plan:
    - Obtain VL key
    - Install clean win10 with VL key
    - Modify that install
    - Deploy image

    Activation will have te be done through MAK since we have 24 machines.


    Scenario 1:

    Install windows and all custom software on C drive. Image that disk. Deploy image every 10 weeks. I am guessing that with every deploy, a MAK key will be used. If not, this is a great solution.

    Scenario 2:

    Install windows on C drive. Partition disk and save all software and user data on partition D. Deploy C drive only once to all PC and activate windows once. Deploy partitioned D drive every 10 weeks.

    What do you guys think?
    It all comes down to money. You only need to install separate keys on each device once. Subequent installs will automatically activate.

    Scenario 2 will not work as software will normally need to be reinstalled, as you would be throwing away important registry data each time you reinstalled C drive.

    At only 23 devices, I find it hard to believe it will be cheaper to use a volume licence deal, as these really only come into their own on large users. It gets harder to manage as as well. Still, you might get an attractive deal.
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  8. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 15,503
    Windows 10 Pro
       #8

    Set up and activate Windows 10 on each PC, using drive C: for everything. Make a drive d: on a second partition. Save a backup image of C: to the D: drive.

    When it comes time to reset the PC, just restore the image saved on D: drive.
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  9. Samuria's Avatar
    Posts : 6,030
    windows 10
       #9

    This is crazy why not do what everyone else does in this situation use deep freeze users can delete Windows file infect it anything and a reboot it's back to running again Instant Restore Software for Windows PCs, Mac and Servers | Deep Freeze
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  10. Posts : 4
    Windows
    Thread Starter
       #10

    cereberus said:
    It all comes down to money. You only need to install separate keys on each device once. Subequent installs will automatically activate.
    Scenario 2 will not work as software will normally need to be reinstalled, as you would be throwing away important registry data each time you reinstalled C drive.
    At only 23 devices, I find it hard to believe it will be cheaper to use a volume licence deal, as these really only come into their own on large users. It gets harder to manage as as well. Still, you might get an attractive deal.
    Will subsequent installs automatically activate when I do a sysprepped image-device copy to said machines?
    If volume licensing will be more expensive, then it is likely we will get separate windows keys. I looked up the price, and 840 euros for 24 licenses seems like a good deal.
    NavyLCDR said:
    Set up and activate Windows 10 on each PC, using drive C: for everything. Make a drive d: on a second partition. Save a backup image of C: to the D: drive.
    When it comes time to reset the PC, just restore the image saved on D: drive.
    Basically what I'm doing, but using PXE boot to deploy a reference image. Doing that restore on all 24 computers manually takes too long.


    Basically what I want to know now is:
    1. I make a reference image
    2. Sysprep that image
    3. PXE boot and spread image to 24 pcs
    4. activate windows 10 on 24 pcs
    5. Repeat step 3 every 10 weeks.


    My understanding is, that the windows key will be bound to the machine (CMID). Now when I respread the same sysprepped image to all 24 devices every 90 days they will still be activated under that same key (automatically). Is this correct?
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