Thought I would share what we've learned so far.

The project is 45 Lenovo SL500 laptops to for the first time bring us to a
place where every attendance taking teacher has a dedicated computer that
isn't necessarily shared with students.

The laptops came with Vista, we purchased as a part of the bid an upgrade
to Windows 7 Professional which came as a Volume Licensing agreement.

We are imaging the computers with approximately 50 open source/free
programs and Microsoft Office 2003.  We use PING as our imaging program, a
no frills Linux based Open Source solution.

These Lenovos have 2 partitions, a system restore partition and the main
partition where Windows lives.  Both partitions must be included in the
image and restored to make a bootable clone.

The default Licensing method for VLAs is KMS.  This requires you to run a
licensing server locally.  The Windows 7 workstations then activate
against this local server and check back regularly to make sure nothing
has changed (no hardware on the workstation has changed).  Running a
licensing server for the 6 or 7 years we're going to be using these
laptops wasn't what I had in mind.

There is an option when you get a VLA to use MAK licensing.  (for all the
details see This uses
a Microsoft server to activate the Windows 7 on the workstation.  When
imaging we use an activated copy of Win 7 on the source of the image.  We
do not use sysprep (Novell eDir on Suse Linux Network).  When a newly
imaged workstation is started for the first time, the Microsoft anti
piracy software detects that it is not running on the same computer as was
activated, and de-activates Windows (microprocessor serial number???). 
Then we select activate, our licenses used count goes up one on the
Microsoft licensing server and the new laptop has acquired a valid
license.  According to GovConnect (the vendor who we purchased these from)
if we were to re-image a laptop that has already been activated, our used
license count would not go up a second time, but because the hardware
"fingerprint" has already been registered in our name it would re-acquire
the license.

It is no longer possible to copy local profiles in Windows 7.  The copy
button is grayed out for all profiles except Default (which makes it
pretty useless).  Microsoft says this is intentional, live with it.  What
we are used to doing is setting up one account with all the software
initialized and all the settings set up the way we want.  We then copy
this profile to the default profile, causing any new accounts to start
with these settings.  A work around that we found on the Internet, and
that seems to work, is as follows.

Set up an account with all the settings, printers, software etc that you
want, lets call this account Teacher for this example.

Log into windows using another account with administrator access. 
(Administrator is disabled, go to Ctrl Panel, Administrative Tools,
Computer Management, Local Users and Groups, Users to uncheck the disable
box for Administrator and give it a password if you want to use it).

To make hidden files/folders visible (necessary to see the Default folder
in the next step) go to Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization,
Folder Options, Show Hidden Files and Folders.

Go to the C:\Users folder (Win 7 no longer uses Documents and Settings). 
Make a copy of the Default folder (I used copy and paste).  Delete the
Default folder.  Make a copy of the Teacher folder.  Rename the copy of
the Teacher folder Default.  Check the security tab for the newly created
Default folder (under properties) to make sure Everyone and User have Read
& Execute, List Folder Contents and Read access.

Notes for Novell users.

You must use the latest Novell Client 2 for Windows Vista-2008.

For login scripts to run you must turn off UAC in Windows 7 (Ctrl Panel,
System and Security, Action Center, Change User Access Control Settings).

To add Windows 7 printer drivers to iPrint you must;

Be up to date with patches on your server, for SLES the patches of
11/13/09 allowed Win 7 to function using iPrint.

There is goofy stuff going on with iManage where you don't see the Drivers
tab for printers after applying the patches.  Hopefully that will be fixed
soon, otherwise

Get the most recent NIPP.EXE for your clients, v5.30 or newer.

That's all for now.  We're actively imaging and people seem to really like
the new computers.

Craig Lyndes
St Albans City School