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[Tutorial] Clean Windows Vista Install - No Activation needed

42 posts in this topic

Will this also work if I get a Vista in german and install a fresh Vista in English?

I got a Vista Home Premium.

I don't know of a reason it would not work, but I don't have any experience with versions other than the standard US/English version. You can run the backup, then check the 2 created files. If they have something in them, then it worked.

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Since I have 14 Machines (Acer) that are preloaded with Vista Business and all the Acer bloatware & trial crap, I would like to go to each machine and backup the activations data and store the data for each on a server in corresponding folders like LAB01, LAB02, etc...

Then I would like to do a clean install on one of the machines and configure everything the way I want and then Sysprep it so I can make an image. I have a script that I used on XP machines that would run after the image has been deployed and is about to boot for the first time that would query the machines MAC address and look it up in a database to determine the Computer Name and it's Product Key an automatically apply that information. I'm hoping to extend that script to be able to also apply the corresponding activation data that had been backed up.

Any ideas on this??

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Since I have 14 Machines (Acer) that are preloaded with Vista Business and all the Acer bloatware & trial crap, I would like to go to each machine and backup the activations data and store the data for each on a server in corresponding folders like LAB01, LAB02, etc...

Then I would like to do a clean install on one of the machines and configure everything the way I want and then Sysprep it so I can make an image. I have a script that I used on XP machines that would run after the image has been deployed and is about to boot for the first time that would query the machines MAC address and look it up in a database to determine the Computer Name and it's Product Key an automatically apply that information. I'm hoping to extend that script to be able to also apply the corresponding activation data that had been backed up.

Any ideas on this??

You can back up each system by hand, then use the --silent option when doing the restore int the script. It's mentioned in the README. You'll need to make sure the correct license files are in the directory before restoring.

This thread links to an out of date version of ABR. Get the the most recent version my (official) site: http://directedge.us/content/abr-activatio...kup-and-restore

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Thanks, good info on your site! But I'm curious if you have a non exe version like script format that I can modify or switches like: activation_restore.exe -silent /p //server/activation/labpc01. (where the /p represents the path). I would like to run a script during the sysprep stage after an image has been deployed that will tell your program the path to the activation data for the particular computer it's on. The determining factor for which computer it's working on will be the MAC address which it cross references in a lookup table. Let me know if I should post my current code as I know it's going to need some tweaking for Vista.

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Thanks, good info on your site! But I'm curious if you have a non exe version like script format that I can modify or switches like: activation_restore.exe -silent /p //server/activation/labpc01. (where the /p represents the path). I would like to run a script during the sysprep stage after an image has been deployed that will tell your program the path to the activation data for the particular computer it's on. The determining factor for which computer it's working on will be the MAC address which it cross references in a lookup table. Let me know if I should post my current code as I know it's going to need some tweaking for Vista.

That's a good idea and i'll add it to the todo list, though I probably won't be able to add it soon. A good way to workaround this in your batch file could be:

set OLDDIR=%CD%

cd //server/activation/labpc01

activation_restore.exe --silent

cd "%OLDDIR%"

I'm not sure if you can 'cd' into a network path though. Otherwise you could make a temp dir and then copy the files into it.

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So I went around to each machine and ran activation_backup.exe I then transfered the two files created to the Server too the respective subfolders of //Server/Activation named LABPC01, LABPC02, etc...

Also, I saved the Product key from the sticker on the outside of the machine (which is different from that captured by activation_backup.exe) to a text file called 'sticker_key.txt'

I'm thinking (actually hoping) that maybe in my script I can do an 'xcopy' of the appropriate folder from the server to the local harddrive of the machine and run the 'activation_restore.exe' from within that folder on the local drive. I don't know though if I'll be able to xcopy from the server in post sysprep mode. I'm guessing I'll have permissions issues or something or that the network will not be accessible yet.

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So I went around to each machine and ran activation_backup.exe I then transfered the two files created to the Server too the respective subfolders of //Server/Activation named LABPC01, LABPC02, etc...

Also, I saved the Product key from the sticker on the outside of the machine (which is different from that captured by activation_backup.exe) to a text file called 'sticker_key.txt'

I'm thinking (actually hoping) that maybe in my script I can do an 'xcopy' of the appropriate folder from the server to the local harddrive of the machine and run the 'activation_restore.exe' from within that folder on the local drive. I don't know though if I'll be able to xcopy from the server in post sysprep mode. I'm guessing I'll have permissions issues or something or that the network will not be accessible yet.

I would guess that if you don't have network access at that point, then none of the proposed methods above would work, including if there was a way to tell activation_restore where to look for the files?

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I got my script working. Of course there was prep work like obtaining the MAC ID for each machine as well as backing up the activation data from each machine to separate folders, but this will make it much easier for future deployments that I will be testing this next week.

See the thread Here for more info...

Special thanks to orev for the wonderful backup/restore application and whoever helped me 3 years ago or so with the original portion of the script!

Edited by Thinkster
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I got my script working. Of course there was prep work like obtaining the MAC ID for each machine as well as backing up the activation data from each machine to separate folders, but this will make it much easier for future deployments that I will be testing this next week.

See the thread Here for more info...

Special thanks to orev for the wonderful backup/restore application and whoever helped me 3 years ago or so with the original portion of the script!

Glad to hear that it's working for you. I think you've put together something really cool.

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I think that non-OEM editions work too? I hope so. I dont like to make phone calls :(

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I think that non-OEM editions work too? I hope so. I dont like to make phone calls :(

No, it only works with OEM editions that are pre-installed by the OEM. If you have a retail version, you should be able to activate online without having to make the phone call.

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Thanks, nice information and know about these stuffs. Thanks Ramesh.

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Thanks, nice information and know about these stuffs. Thanks Ramesh.

:thumbup Thanks for valuable comments.

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sorry I'm late in this thread, but I've been an ABR user for years now, so I'm just wondering if the first post should be edited out of respect for Brian, the creator of ABR. Also, so that user always get the latest ABR version.

ABR homepage says:

"Please do not link directly to this file. If you like this utility and want to tell people about it, please link to this web site, and not directly to the exe/zip files."

thanks!

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sorry I'm late in this thread, but I've been an ABR user for years now, so I'm just wondering if the first post should be edited out of respect for Brian, the creator of ABR. Also, so that user always get the latest ABR version.

ABR homepage says:

"Please do not link directly to this file. If you like this utility and want to tell people about it, please link to this web site, and not directly to the exe/zip files."

thanks!

Thanks glentium. Also, there have been newer versions of ABR released since what is in the OP. Anyone who follows that link will get a file that contains nothing but a message that the link is out of date.

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Mine is Vista retail version, and this method did not work. Anyway I'm using Acronis True Image for backup my Vista, and something goes wrong, I can backup my whole vista.

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Mine is Vista retail version, and this method did not work. Anyway I'm using Acronis True Image for backup my Vista, and something goes wrong, I can backup my whole vista.

ABR is not meant to work with Retail versions, so you are seeing the expected behavior. As you have found, Trueimage is a good method to backup as whole Vista install without dealing with activation.

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