We work with a lot of virtual machines in a product testing environment --
up to now, only Win2K and XP. We have always Sysprep'ed our configurations,
and used a Sysprep.inf setting to supply our MSDN Volume License key. If we
need to make a new version of a config (e.g. to generate a new image with
the lastest patches), we boot from a copy of the prior image, which
activates and gives us a unique machine ID. We then install the patches,
and re-run Sysprep -mini -quit -reseal. We have not had any problem making
an indefinite number of generations.
However, in reading the Vista documentation, I became concerned that this
may no longer be the case. The documentation says that "You can use the
sysprep /generalize command to reset Windows Product Activation a maximum of
three times. After the third time you run the sysprep /generalize command
the clock can no longer be reset."
Which is it? Will it refuse to reset the activation, and leave me unable to
create a new generation, or will it only refuse to reset the clock (meaning
that the resulting machine needs to be activated immediately before it can
If the latter, and if the unattend.xml supplies a product key, and if the
machine has internet access, will that solve the problem, by activating the
new machine before I even get a logon prompt?
Levit & James, Inc.