Windows 10: WIN10 activation of deployed image (Multiple PCs)

Discus and support WIN10 activation of deployed image (Multiple PCs) in Windows 10 Updates and Activation to solve the problem; 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... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Updates and Activation' started by Athylus, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. Athylus Win User

    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?

    Athylus, Aug 20, 2017

  2. For my business is there a special version of Windows 10/8/7 that has unlimited installs?

    You'd probably want Enterprise version with Mass Activation Keys or Volume Licensing Keys.

    In any case you'll want to inquire about it at our sister forums for business
    Technet forums
    . They can also explain how to deploy an image to multiple PC's.
    Greg Carmack - Windows MVP, Aug 20, 2017
  3. CJLuce Win User
    Windows 10 Media Creation Tool upgradenow feature bug

    Quick Backinfo: Win10 reservered, win8.1 activated 64bit. Month ago I download the media creation tool and, like many people, created the ISO image without using the "upgrade this PC now". Win10 installs correctly via ISO after formatting and receive
    the temporary win10 product key (the one that will not activate). After 3 weeks of using win10 my key never activated. After browsing online topics I see that I missed the part where you're supposed to use the "upgrade this PC now" feature.

    Fast forward to yesterday. Reinstall win8 and updates, win8.1 and updates and make sure win8.1 is activated. Download Media Creation Tool (64bit) and run it, I select "upgrade this PC now". The tool downloads win10 to 100%, verifies download to 100% and
    then creates win10 image to 100%. Here's the issue I'm running into.

    After the "creating win10 image" gets to 100% the window closes. No prompt of success, no background processes running--nothing. I let it sit for a day just to make sure and have restarted multiple times to ensure it wasn't waiting a restart.

    Troubleshooting done thus far:

    -Downloaded media creation tool on both IE and chrome

    -Ran the tool on different admin/user accouns

    -Downloaded/ran the tool on both a wired and wireless connection.

    I've also contacted the microsoft phone support and have spoken with 3 different techs, the poor girl I just got off the phone with was reading from her prompt for troubleshooting and just didn't quite understand the issue. She did provide excellent troubleshooting
    on how to download the win10 ISO though.
    CJLuce, Aug 20, 2017
  4. cereberus Win User

    WIN10 activation of deployed image (Multiple PCs)

    In the end, it will take probably take longer to work out how to automate it rather than just doing it manually.
    cereberus, Aug 20, 2017
  5. Superfly Win User
    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.
    Superfly, Aug 20, 2017
  6. Samuria Win User
    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
    Samuria, Aug 20, 2017
  7. Athylus Win User
    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!
    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:
    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.
    Athylus, Aug 21, 2017
  8. Athylus Win User

    WIN10 activation of deployed image (Multiple PCs)

    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?
    Athylus, Aug 22, 2017
  9. cereberus Win User
    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.
    cereberus, Aug 22, 2017
  10. NavyLCDR New Member
    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.
    NavyLCDR, Aug 22, 2017
  11. Samuria Win User
    Samuria, Aug 22, 2017
  12. Athylus Win User
    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.
    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:
    • I make a reference image
    • Sysprep that image
    • PXE boot and spread image to 24 pcs
    • activate windows 10 on 24 pcs
    • 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?
    Athylus, Apr 5, 2018

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