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Unable to activate Windows after converting to Hyper-V image

Posted on 2008-06-25
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
We converted a Windows 2003 Standard server into a VMWare image and then used a program to convert that image into a Hyper-V virtual disk.  I created a new machine in Hyper-V and told it to use the now-converted HD from the server we imaged.  Windows boots fine and says that it needs to be activated (which is to be expected since all the major hardware has changed).  However, when I call in to Microsoft they say that the installation ID is invalid and all they can do is sell us more products.  I've re-entered the key using the "Change product key" option and tried another of our licenses with no luck.  Is there any way we can get Windows activated on this machine?

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Question by:OAC Technology
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Expert Comment

by:Christopher Martinez
ID: 21869800
You can call this number (888) 571-2048
And explain to them what happened. Generally if you explain the upgrades and whatnot they can give you a new ID to enter in.
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by:cuziyq
ID: 21869873
It probably won't activate because it thinks you've activated it too many times.  In the activation wizard, select the activate by telephone option.

When the nice guy from Bangladesh answers, he will ask you in a thick Indian accent if you've activated this product before.  Then he will ask you if it's running on any other machines.  Do not try to explain yourself.  These guys are just trained zombies and you'll get "escalated" if you try to speak outside of their script.

You've got a legal license and you're not trying to bootleg the software.  Simply answer truthfully and use only yes or no answers.  They will then give you the installation ID to activate with.  Boom, you're done.

One caveat, however . . . . if this copy of Windows Server 2003 came with the server under an OEM license, then it is not legal to run it on another machine -- even if it's in a VM on the same physical hardware.
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by:OAC Technology
ID: 21869921
cuziyq:  Well, that's how we would normally do it.  Unfortunately when we try to activate by telephone on this installation, we don't even get the option to speak with someone after we tell the friendly computer our groups of digits.  It just tells us that the installation ID is bad and that they can transfer us to sales if we would like to purchase some more software.
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Expert Comment

by:cuziyq
ID: 21869939
Ooh.  Wow, I've not come across that before.  Is this a retail copy of Win2k3 Server or is it the OEM one that came with the machine?
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by:OAC Technology
ID: 21869955
I believe it is the OEM copy.  We are taking out the original server and running it on our new Windows 2008 machine in Hyper-V
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cuziyq earned 500 total points
ID: 21870017
That's probably why the computer is barfing on you.  OEM installations use System Locked Preactivation based on information in the hardware's BIOS.  As long as the BIOS contains this information, you can change hardware to your heart's content and never trigger another activation.  However, if you move it to a non-OEM machine (which is what a VM looks like from the operating system's perspective), that is the only time you would ever see an activation window in an OEM copy.

Microsoft has specifically blacklisted all product ID's found on OEM stickers distributed with hardware.  These product ID's cannot be activated because they are preactivated on the hardware.  Their phone system is detecting that you are trying to activate a blacklisted key.

Unfortunately, if it really is an OEM license, then the OEM license agreement specifically says you cannot move the installation to another machine period.  Unfortunately, this means that you are out of luck.  you must purchase a seperate license for the VM, and you will likely need to do an in-place upgrade to convert the existing license to retail.
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by:OAC Technology
ID: 21870079
alright, that works for me. thank you!
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