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Vmware p2v conversion from sbs 2003 server to new hardware won't activate

Have run the vmware converter from old server to a new sbs 2008 machine, completed fine.  The windows actviation expired due to change in hardware (bios?) config, and won't accept the registration method over the phone.  Error - invalid code or some such error during activation.

So from what i've read this version of small business server is locked by the manufacturer through OEM rights.

We have a new license for sbs 2008 with the new hardware, and from what I understand this allows for  downgrade to sbs 2003 (microsoft oem license procedure is to obtain a code from another install).

Have tried re - entering the cd key without luck, and also tried a code from another server.  

Using the converter will save hours of re configuring pc's and rebuilding the server, so fingers crossed someone might have a strategy?

Much xmas cheer to all,
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1 Solution
Did you buy an OEM license for 2008? If so you should install 2008 in migration mode. Microsoft have written a long article on how to do this:


We have done this once at my company and it worked well. It will save you heaps of time.
In terms of licensing you cannot P2V an OEM edition to new hardware, this will invalidate the license. You can contact MS about this but I have tried beore and they wont be all that helpful.
Migration mode is your best option.
Rob WilliamsCommented:
The only option is to ask to speak to a Microsoft representative when you call the activation number, but to the best of my knowledge SBS 2008 does not have downgrade rights to SBS 2003. SBS 2008 premium comes with an additional 2008 std licenses which is downgradeable to 2003 std. and includes SQL which could be downgraded to 2005 but I think the latter option has expired.

You are right though, many SBS's came with OEM licensing which cannot be transfered to new hardware.
Rob WilliamsCommented:
ps- Just a "heads up"; you may also find another 2003 CD key will not work. As I am sure you have noticed with other Microsoft OS's you need a key that matches the installtion media.
koopa_troopaAuthor Commented:
Yep good advice there, will check out the migration option (maybe call MS first but not holding my breath).

There's also sharepoint intranet that needs to be transferred - may be covered in migration option?

Have tried another key and yes it no worky :(

It is an option to downgrade, from what I can tell I am within my rights but the installation that I have converted seems incompatible.

Rob WilliamsCommented:
Migration does include documentation for Sharepoint.

As for downgrade rights it does seem any version can be downgraded to SBS 2003 R2. Do you have SBS 2003 or SBS 2003 R2?
Calling Microsoft should resolve the licensing if you have the correct versions

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