Q: (from Claudine)

If a customer is legally licensed for Windows 7 Professional on 15 computers:

  • 10 computers were bought with Windows 7 Professional preinstalled (OEM) and
  • 5 they bought Windows 7 Professional Upgrades through Volume Licensing

Can they use the Volume License media to install a standard Windows 7 Professional image on all 15 computers?

A:

Amazingly the answer appears to be “Yes”

I found the following white paper that you can provide to your customers: Customizing Windows 7

  • If the customer ONLY has OEM systems – no VL agreement – then they can work with their OEM to create an Custom Factory Image (CFI):
    “Dell’s Image/Software Factory Integration service can load an organization-supplied software image onto new Dell hardware systems in the factory. The service is available on Dell OptiPlex, Latitude, and Precision systems. Read more about Dell’s customization options here.”
  • If the customer ONLY has OEM systems but has already taken delivery (or doesn’t want to establish a CFI agreement) then they can customize the OEM image using the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) but that process MUST be repeated on each OEM installed machine (each OEM activated license can only be used on the computer it came with – even if all of the machines are the same)
  • But “Reimaging rights are granted to all Microsoft Volume Licensing (VL) customers as part of the “policy” governing their license agreement(s). Within this VL policy, organizations may reimage OEM systems or systems with retail licenses by using the media provided under their VL agreement.” You CAN reimage an OEM system with VL bits as long as you have a VL agreement that includes the desktop OS to be deployed.

Steve