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Windows not activating

R Bond

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Been using SD for over a year now.  A few times over that timeframe I've created new images (barebones Windows) to get up-to-date with Windows updates.  Have had no problems deploying any of the builds.  Last one was a 20H2 from like April and worked/works fine. I recently used the same ISO from that 20H2 build, built a new VM, got it all updated to 21H1.  I rebuilt all the tasks, new answer file ... when I deploy it Windows is not activated when it's finished imaging.  If I go in to the right screen and "troubleshoot" the issue, it activates on a digital license.  I'm using the same MS key as my 20H2 image (which still works fine).  It's a mild extra step, but I'd rather clean it up so it just activates.  Any input would be much appreciated.

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Hi R,

We do not recommend installing feature updates/in-place upgrades on your reference VM, and that may well be the cause of the issue. If you wish to deploy Windows 10 21H1, you'll want to download the latest ISO from the Microsoft Volume License Servicing Center (VLSC) or some other official source, and build a new reference VM using that ISO. Then retry capture and deployment.

Windows should generally activate on its own within a couple of days without any intervention required, assuming that a valid product key was provided (either via the Answer File or when you captured the image). It's unclear exactly what is happening when you activate the licensing troubleshooter, but you can try just running a normal activation command after deployment, to see whether it throws an error.

Open an admin command prompt and run this command:

wscript.exe slmgr.vbs /ato

Assuming this command works as expected, it can even be added as a Task in the answer file, to occur during First Boot as System, if you wish. But you will want to test it first.

If you have any questions or issues, feel free to reach out to support@smartdeploy.com.

SmartDeploy Support

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