VmWare guest OS licensing after conversion

Hi

I currently have 12 Dell physical servers running different flavours of Windows Server OSs that I wish to convert to virtual machines using VmWare vSphere 4.0 VmConvterter. The problem I have is because all of these physical servers were built using Dell's OEM operating system media. I can successfully convert my physical machines to VMs but once they boot up, Windows detects that the hardware has changed and therefore I am required to activate the license. I cannot do this is the license is OEM and already tied to the physical server.

I have logged this with both Microsoft and Dell and do not yet have a resolution. I also called VmWare (even though it is not really their issue) but they would not help until I have paid for the software. Catch 22 as I will not buy the software until I know I can convert all of my servers!

Microsoft told me I should run a Windows repair with our volume license disk on the VMs. I tried this with 2 converted servers, one of them blue screened and the other booted up but was missing some critical files so I do not have much confidence in this solution.

Dell have told me there is nothing I can do but I refuse to believe that other people have not run into the same issues and resolved them. Can anyone shed some light on this for me please as my whole plan to virtualise our servers to provide better redundancy, resiliency and easier restoration hinges on this. I cannot build up the VMs from scratch as it would cost us thousands to have our software vendors reinstall all of our critical applications.

Thanks

Liam
Andrew LeeManaging DirectorAsked:
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
I have done this with a win2k Dell machine successfully. The problem is that you cannot take that legally keep license anywhere else but on the physical OEM machine with which it was shipped.

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Andrew LeeManaging DirectorAuthor Commented:
I am sure I can thrash that out with Dell and Microsoft...

How did you do it?
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
Also, did you install the VMWare tools?

What is the blue screen error message you are receiving?
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Andrew LeeManaging DirectorAuthor Commented:
I am trying to recreate the stop error but the ESX host I am currently testing with only has a single Intel core 2 duo processor, the server I am trying to convert has dual dual core processors so to get it to boot, I have to change the processors from 4 to 2 which obviously isn't going to help. Despite that, it boots if I make the processor change. I cannot get any further though without running a repair as it needs to activate.

If I choose to install tools, it just sits there and does nothing....

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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
Try this URL from Microsoft to change from a Multiprocessor HAL to a uniprocessor HAL.  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/923425

BE SURE TO MAKE A GOOD BACKUP BEFORE PROCEEDING!!!
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Andrew LeeManaging DirectorAuthor Commented:
The problem is that the server is a live server and I cannot afford to test try this in a live environment, even with a backup. Even if I did do this, it would not take away from the fact that when I converted a domain controller and ran the repair, it booted up but some critical services did not start and some critical files were missing! It is just not reliable enough to perform a repair on the OS.

i find it hard to believe that VmWare, Microsoft and the big vendors like Dell have not come up with a solution for this between them.
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
I think this thread warrants awarding of points. Reason is that discussions on a solution was provided beyond two posts.
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Andrew LeeManaging DirectorAuthor Commented:
The solution was not complete. Nappy_d did not explain how he did this.
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Windows Server 2003

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