The most tricky parts in a deployments rarely have anything to do with technical issues, but rather political or licensing issues. This article explains (to us mere mortals), how OEM and imaging really can be used.
The shorthand deal is that Enterprise deployment is a Volume License (or SA) benefit. As an Enterprise you are not allowed to reimage Retail or OEM images. Let me explain from a few common scenarios.
You buy 100 machines from Dell that comes preinstalled with Windows 7 x64 Professional, OEM licenses.
Q: Can you install a few apps on one of them, do some configuration, sysprep it, capture it, and restore that image to the other machines?
A: No, you will be violating the EULA. You have to ask the OEM to the customization for you, and redeliver a new recovery media to you, or a new drive, or a new machine.
Q: What options do I have?
A: Assuming you want to deploy the exact windows edition, language and components.
You can buy at least one license of the of Windows 7 x64 Professional to get the volume license media. Deploy that image (which is already sysprepped by Microsoft) to all your machines.
If you need a reference image (maybe with some updates/apps and/or customizations, then you do the following:
– Install that media (in a virtual machine so you can use snapshots)
– Install any apps you want to the virtual machine
– Customize the OS
– Snapshot the virtual machine
– Sysprep it
– Reboot into WinPE and capture it
– Deploy the captured image to all 100 machines.
Note: You should be using MDT Lite Touch or similar deployment solutions to automate the above steps
You still buy 100 machines from Dell that comes preinstalled with Windows 7 x64 Professional, OEM licenses.
Q: You want to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise to all the machines
A: Buy 100 volume licenses for Windows 7 Enterprise, use the above steps to create and deploy a reference image.