Friday, March 30, 2007

Fun with virtualization and OEM installs!

VMWare:

We use all dell hardware at our plant... We have a corporate license and corporate keys for all windows software BUT when we get new Dells in we just add the software that's needed and send them out the door...

So what we have is a Dell box with an OEM copy of windows running on it... When We virtualize the box it changes the Original Equipment Manufacturer ID to VMWare triggering windows to say "Hey I'm not on the correct hardware for this OEM license so you better register me!"

Well thats the answer to why the problem happens and here are two solutions to what you might do to fix the problem...

Update: ESX Server 3.0.2 has a bug and does not correctly work with SMBIOS.reflectHost, 3.0.2 Update 1 fixes that bug.

First try adding this field into your Virtual Machines config file (VMX File):

SMBIOS.reflectHost = TRUE

That will set the OEM ID from VMWare to what it cloned...


Second you can try to run a fix install of windows XP but this will only work if you have another Windows XP key laying around that is not an OEM Key... Also you must use a NON oem install CD of Windows XP so that it will work with the non OEM key.

I hope this helps you and anyone else having this problem! I looked high and low and pieced this together from an article and forum post... Here are the links to those for further reading...

http://www.vmware.com/support/esx21/doc/esx21admin_uuid_vms.html
http://www.vmware.com/community/thread.jspa?threadID=54376&tstart=0

2 comments:

Burzyk said...

Excellent tip. I'm running a lot of disposable Windows XP images on Workstation 6 and I was wondering how to get rid of the activation issue.
Thanks again!

ChristianBl said...

Thanks.