When leveraging User Configuration -> Policies -> Software Settings -> Software Installation to publish particular packages for domain users to install at their own will, how can one handle software which requires a serial number/activation code to activate?

An example might be Adobe Acrobat Pro or even Microsoft's own Office suite. Traditionally I have copied and pasted the serial/code from a text file I keep somewhere on the network in order to activate. Is there a way to slipstream the code into the installer or something like that?



Unfortunately, every vendor handles licensing differently. Things I've done in the past to activate mass installs include:

  1. Sometimes this information is stored in a registry key.
  2. Sometimes there is a scriptable way to activate. I've used VBscript and sendkey to throw license keystrokes, but I can't say I recommend it. (One of my ex-coworkers had some success with this, however.)
  3. My former employer used "thick images" with the software already installed (they had site licenses).
  4. Some software will use a "license server." (AutoCAD, JAWS, MAGic, etc.)
  5. Some vendors embed license keys in the BIOS (OEM versions of Office in Dell images, for example).

You'll probably have to contact the vendor in question, and/or experiment.

I wish I had a better answer for you. My former minion and I were sometimes heard muttering, "I'm not trying to steal your software! I'm just trying to activate the 500 copies I just installed!"

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