Sysprepping an OEM installation

Question: I get my desktop computers from an OEM with Windows 7 and Office 2010 preinstalled. I’d like to take one of these machines and sysprep it and capture a WIM image from it and then deploy this image onto some bare-metal PCs that I bought on the cheap. Is this a good idea?

Answer: The procedure is probably in violation of your OEM licensing agreement but you should read the agreement to make sure. But even if it doesn’t violate your OEM license, the procedure has several problems with it:

  • If you run into problems with your imaged PCs then you’ll need to get support from your OEM as Microsoft doesn’t provide support for OEM images.
  • You may run into to activation issues with your imaged PCs.
  • You may end up with unwanted OEM “crapware” on your imaged PCs.

So it’s best to build your reference images using volume-licensed Microsoft software and not from an existing OEM installation.

The above tip was previously published in an issue of WServerNews, a weekly newsletter from TechGenix that focuses on the administration, management and security of the Windows Server platform in particular and cloud solutions in general. Subscribe to WServerNews today by going to and join almost 100,000 other IT professionals around the world who read our newsletter!

Mitch Tulloch is an eleven-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award and a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud computing technologies.  Mitch is also Senior Editor of WServerNews. For more information about him see

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