Disk2VHD, Tells me Windows is not Activated, Next Activates and tells me Windows is activated, then, repeats

I have a client with a program running on Windows XP. The system is never attached to the internet, it runs plant software. It is not even on a network, it is standalone. The program running on the system can no longer be purchased (written for them years ago). Program cannot be installed on Windows 7. I used Disk2VHD to create a virutal pc. I then installed Windows Virtual pc on a new computer (both computers are Dell). I can open the VHD. However, upon opening, I get a message telling me that Windows must be authenticated. I select OK and I get an immediate reply telling me Windows is authenticated. I select ok and the message goes away, only to be replaced by the same authentication message. I am not trying to pirate. The company purchased the XP OS on the Dell system years ago.  I have a product key. Can anyone give me any ideas on how to work around this?
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
This is completely normal for an OEM installation of an OS, when it's P2Ved!

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) versions

Note: Physical-to-virtual hard drive migration of a Windows installation is a valid function for customers with Software Assurance and full retail copies of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Software Assurance provides users valuable benefits—please contact Microsoft Corporation for further information. Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 installed by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) using OEM versions of these products may not be transferred to a virtual hard drive in accordance with Microsoft licensing terms.



Depending on the Country of your Origin, I would call Microsoft Licensing for Activation help, and to insert your product key.
rodneygrayAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the quick response. However, I cannot enter key because of the loop--must be activated--activated--must be activated. I cannot figure out a way to break the loop.
I think what you must do is look for new software that runs on modern OS's and that can replace the ancient stuff of which nothing is supported anymore.

Meanwhile, while you search the market for that, in order to keep the customer running, look for one or more 2nd hand PC's of the same model as the original (via ebay or a similar portal), then restore the original PC's disk image to that (or those) PC's, so you have spares to replace should the original die, and until you have found a software replacement. That should avoid the activation problem as the replacement hardware is the same as the original, and should should even work with OEM OS's.
Acronis True Image 2019 just released!

Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I'm afraid overcoming an activation issue, is a gray area, when it comes to the licensing.

Does it also do this in Safe Mode ?
rodneygrayAuthor Commented:
Yes. The same thing happens with safe mode.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would discuss with Microsoft licensing, because if they tell you you cannot do this, because you are in breach of the agreement, you cannot do it.
Adam LeinssServer SpecialistCommented:
Try an inplace upgrade of the XP virtual with a Volume License copy of XP.  You should be able to preserve all of the settings/programs and then you can activate it with Microsoft.  A retail copy would probably work as well.

The OEM copies are BIOS locked and the virtual BIOS doesn't have the correct Dell strings, so it will never work or activate as it is.
rodneygrayAuthor Commented:
Adam, that is exactly where I arrived at. However, the pc is in an industrial setting and the owner is not willing to take any chances. He is going to upgrade to Win7 and purchase the industrial software upgrade. If you have worked with industrial software, you know that means big bucks. I am going to close and award points to you. Nothing else worked. There really is not an answer other than this.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
rodneygrayAuthor Commented:
Adam LeinssServer SpecialistCommented:
His last post suggested using the VL edition of XP was the answer, but the business owner didn't want to take a chance on that solution and wanted to go with Windows 7 instead with upgrading the factory software.

Original question stated: "Program cannot be installed on Windows 7".  The solution however is to "Upgrade to Windows 7".  Yes, that is totally the correct solution to the problem originally presented.
rodneygrayAuthor Commented:
Mr. Wolfe,
We have two concurring answers to the issue. I thought it might be useful due to the fact that anyone else with the same issue will  be able to read this post and see what others had tried. You stated that I could not award the answer to myself. However, affirmation from Adam help to put emphasis on the fact that changing the license may (or may not as I did not test) offer a solution to others. Deleting the question did not seem to be the way to go as it may contain helpful information for others. I will say that I did try to create a bare metal backup of the system and tried to restore a new system (new blank hard drive). That did not happen because of SATA driver issues. So if you want me to delete the question, I will do so. Valuable insight will be lost.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
for info,.....

Microsoft never intended OEM software to be moved between computers. - FACT.

If the computer is disposed of, the software license is part of the hardware, so the OS license disappears as well.

However, in Europe this was challenged, and Microsoft therefore agreed OEM was no longer valid in Europe, but other Countries are different.

We have known clients call Microsoft Activation, and Microsoft Licensing have talked users through the Activation of OEM products after a P2V..., however, we've also learned sometimes Microsoft Licensing/Activation have refused.

Sometimes, entering the OEM Product Key again works, sometimes it does not.

Upgrading and Re-installing over the existing OS, sometimes works, sometimes breaks the OS, and it's configuration, and sometimes it still does not activate using Retail or Volume license keys...

and then there is the Hack Option, which we cannot discuss on EE....

This question comes up all the time with P2V of OEM software....and the Answer is the same, if you try long enough you will succeed....

but EE Experts cannot discuss how to break Microsoft's License Activation....
rodneygrayAuthor Commented:
In the industrial sector, there are still many XP systems at the heart of manufacturer process control. Many of these pc's are not attached to the network, they just monitor/control processes. The OEM model has left them stranded as far as keeping these systems up and running. You cannot (without a lot of effort)  perform a bare metal backup to newer systems with SATA drives. But, if these systems could be virtualized, they could run within a new Windows 7 (10?) system without the users having to either have the entire system re-written (in the case of custom built software) or having to spend large amounts of money (in the case of my client, way over $10,000) to get the system to work with Windows 7. Why does MS even care about XP licenses any more? If your are going to run a virtual pc, you have to buy a new system with new software as the host. XP was legally purchased by the company.  Give us a break MS.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I know this were also work in the Semi-Conductors industry across the world, where all the robots, are controlled with legacy PCs, in CAM control, and serial ports!

As I said, there are ways and mean, but they cannot be discussed on EE, because we would be in breach of the EULA.
OEM was never meant to be used in business environments, it is a consumer product, and it's limitations have always been known. That XP support would end last year was also known a long time ago. There has therefore been plenty of time for your client to prepare for the future. In my point of view your customer is fully at fault if he gets into this type of dilemma. With a little bit of planning, not getting OEM software in the first place, and replacing unsupported stuff in a timely fashion could have avoided these problems.
Adam LeinssServer SpecialistCommented:
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.