Moving XP around - and back to it's original hardware RRS feed

  • Question

  • We are a small company who make real time control systems. Part of the system is a real time operating system on non pc hardware, but we also supply pc's as an integral part of the system. Without them, the control sysytem is useless. The hardware usually gets shipped to the customer well before we have finished working on the software. There is nothing we can do to get round this.

    The pc's all have removable drives. All our pc's have identical hardware. We go to great lengths to ensure this. We do not buy the "flavour of the month" from a local shop. We build them ourselves and use long life components such as motherboards, etc.
    When we used Win2K, we used to keep the drives, and put them in another pc. The hardware was identical, so we could continue working. When it was time to commission the control system (sometimes months from the shipping date) our engineer would take the discs with him, put them back in the original hardware and carry on as usual. Everything worked.

    Now with XP, we can't do this. I have created images (they are all different) for our pc's, and used sysprep to create a base image. This image is used to create a new pc, and gets a valid key during installation. We buy XP from an authorized MS distributor. Now, if we move the discs to another supposedly identical pc, XP will detect the hardware change (see here for an interesting paper on this http://www.licenturion.com/xp/fully-licensed-wpa.txt) and then we have 3 days to re-activate. Of course, this will happen again once we take the discs out and reunite them with their original hardware.
    Now I don't want to keep phoning MS and explaining what we are doing. I'm sure that after a while, they would get very suspicious. However I do want to keep the flexibility of what we do now, whilst not breaking any EULA's.
    Does anyone know if using a Volume License would help? We could do this. I know that these installations do not require activation, but what about a hardware change? Do they still complain about this? The only thing about a volume license is that we would wish to transfer the ownership to the final customer. We don't want to keep this. Can I do this? Or is this a question for some other forum or newsgroup? As an aside, what about XP Embedded? I can't see that an XP image for a set top box would need activating!
    Anyway, sorry for the long post, but any ideas are welcome.
    Friday, June 2, 2006 12:36 PM


All replies

  • Your questions can best be answered by posting in the Windows XP Setup and Deployment newsgroup:


    Friday, June 2, 2006 1:12 PM
  • OK - thanks for the info. Job done.
    Friday, June 2, 2006 1:21 PM
  • Nubber, I'm glad it got resolved in my sleep :)


    Carey, thanks!


    -Phil Liu

    Friday, June 2, 2006 3:04 PM
  • Actually it didn't get resolved...I just moved it to another forum, so if you have any ideas, please feel free.....
    Friday, June 2, 2006 3:25 PM
  • Nubber:


    Ah, okay! (Sorry, I didn't check the other forum you posted on).


    Looking at the situation you're in, a Volume License would work for your company - as volume licenses aren't subject to the same hardware constraints as retail/OEM Product Keys are. However, Volume Licenses are very strict about security and terms of usage (especially in the volume of usage).


    But, its only my speculation. Your best bet would be to contact (directly) a Microsoft Sales representative for licensing inquiries. :)


    -Phil Liu

    Friday, June 2, 2006 5:16 PM
  • Nubber99,

    If you are assembling computers, preinstalling XP on them and delivering them to customers, then you qualify for and should become at a minimum a Registered Partner (cost and commitment=0).

    This will give you access to the oem.microsoft.com site where you will be able to download the OPK, the OEM Preinstallation Kit.

    One of the methods of installing XP with that kit is to use "Factory Mode" to install XP, install updates, and to work with changing hardware.  As long as you stay in factory mode, activation and validation are delayed.  The final step of building the computer would be the visit by your guy to install the "final" hard disk.  After that, the computer would be restarted normally, and at this time activation and customer acceptance of the EULA would take place.  I think that Factory Mode might be what you are looking for.

    Send an email to msoemnet@microsoft.com.

    Or visit the site:  http://www.microsoft.com/oem/default.mspx

    Friday, June 2, 2006 7:39 PM
  • Hmm, "Factory Mode" sounds promising. I'll get in touch with our local MS rep and discuss it with them. Many thanks.
    Saturday, June 3, 2006 9:51 PM