This drives me INSANE with my test bed. I can no longer test against specific patch levels because in order to run Windows Update I need to pass WGA but in order to pass WGA I need to activate Windows.
I, of course, just disable the add-in in order to continue my efforts but it is a load of crap in the end. I'm not proud of how I get the job done but it is all MS has left me with.
I guess I could just activate every test box I build. Yeah, in a week my XP activations would get bumped to phone activation and eventually the activation people would question what was going on. Actually, while I can't find it at the moment, MSDN docs recommend
you not activate if you are using an OS install for testing less than 90 days. That's just peachy if you want an RTM, pure SP1 or SP2 machine. No fully up to date boxes, especially no non-critical patches. Not without activating / passing WGA..
Why not get a volume license install CD that lets you install for a whole company and doesn't require each computer to be activated?
That is what we have here so we don't have to worry about that for test machines and we can install as many times as we want on the test machines
To make it even faster and easier now, we install once as plain, then Ghost it and don't have to worry about installing it again anyway.