I use Samba running on Debian for my Domain Controller at work with Windows 2000 & XP Professional desktop clients. I find it's helpful to buy identical desktop workstations in batches from my local vendor PC Club, 5 or more at a time, and automate their configuration.
If you've ever tried to update a master image(Ghost, Acronis Trueimage, etc.) in order to deploy multiple Windows XP Pro systems, you may have run into this special error message:
"Your grace period limit has been reached and will not be reset"
[quote source="www.mcse.ms thread"]
In Windows XP Professional, Sysprep can reset Windows Product Activation a maximum of three times.
This causes a problem when deploying the image on other pc's as the image is redundant after 30 days of it being created.
e.g. create image on 1st sept - can deploy on other pc's in sept but when deploy the image on a pc in Oct it has expired and wont let me log on.
There is a solution buried in Microsoft KB308554:
(all actions tested on Windows XP Pro SP2 with an OEM Product Key - a big thanks to Amit in MS Tech Support!)
1. Update your master system with applications and patches.
2. Run 'sysprep -factory' & reboot.
3. Activate windows.
4. Run 'sysprep -reseal -activated'. No error message about the grace period appears this time!
5. Use the prepped system's drive as your fresh master image for deployment.