02-04-2014 05:20 PM
All of our Z220 ad Z230 workstations shipped with win7 preinstalled which was OK. However the ones coming with Windows 8 license (and 7 downgrade preinstalled) do not have the case stickers with license anymore.
Currently I am assessing possible Windows 8.1 deployment to CAD and graphical atists departments in our domain environment. For time being I restored OEM win 8.0 from DVD on my test subject (Z230) and upgraded it to 8.1 via Windows Store, results are mostly pleasing (except for a few minor annoyances) ... however here's the problem if I decide to push forward with 8.1 deployment.
I cannot sysprep/generalize the upgraded win8.1 OS installation, and so I need a way to perform a clean installation of Windows 8.1 on Z230 or Z220 ... how do you do that? machines come with OEM license for windows 8 (which covers 8.1 as it is a free upgrade).
I tried reading the Windows 8.1 product key from within windows using 3rd party tools and later using it in 8.1 installer (running off UEFI USB Flash Drive), no luck, it won't accept it.
As I understand HP gives only restore media to Windows 7 or Windows 8.0, while 8.1 is a free upgrade ... but the way MS intends the 8.1 installations is unacceptable in domain environments (with mostly standard user accounts) and the extra requirement for online Microsoft Account to get the update going on end user side is simply impossible to meet.
That being said, I want to create a Windows 8.1 bootable media that would use the HP BIOS embedded System ID (Build ID) for activation and didn't ask for Windows 8 key during install, but I need help on how to go about this. The goal is to create a clean installation of Windows 8.1 with all updates and line of business applications, then generalizing it with sysprep and capturing such thick image so that couldbe deployed and would be able to activate automatically using BIOS Build ID string on Z220 and Z230 machines. Can anybody help?
We might be planning PXE/WDS deployment of generalized Windows 8.1 image to quite a few workstations in near future.
Thank for help, appreciated!