Handy tip for Vista virtual machines

Handy tip for Vista virtual machines

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If you regularly build virtual machines for testing - and delete them within 30-days of creation - then there is something you should know about installing Vista.  You can skip the option of entering a serial number - and you will just get a 30 day trial installation.

Now you no longer need to memorize your serial number so you can type it in each time :-)

Obviously if you intend to use the virtual machine for longer then 30 days, you are going to need to provide a serial number and activate the installation.

Cheers,
Ben

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  • Do you have any tips on how to bypass activation when virtualizing a pre-installed OEM XP. I have gotten it to boot with your previous instructions, but I can't login before activating it. Activation won't work since an OEM XP cannot be moved.

    I have also got some XP volume license keys that I could use, but I haven't been able to change to one of those keys.

    Thanks!

  • Do you have any tips on how to bypass activation when virtualizing a pre-installed OEM XP. I have gotten it to boot with your previous instructions, but I can't login before activating it. Activation won't work since an OEM XP cannot be moved.

    I have also got some XP volume license keys that I could use, but I haven't been able to change to one of those keys.

    Thanks!

  • You can use the slmgr -rearm command to extend the grace period to 120 days.

  • Dennis,

    do you think it's appropriate to ask an MS employee how to violate OEM licensing?  

    Per your OEM license, you are not allowed to install the OS on anything but the original hardware.  A VM is not the original hardware.

  • Could you perhaps comment on the legality of this, and maybe what terms Microsoft allows "evaluation" under? If someone was building weekly test installations for QA testing, with fresh installs of Vista, it might allow them to never register the operating system?

    I'm wondering if it would be possible to "save state" the full install once complete, and use that to generate the Virtual Machines each time? It depends on when the start date stamp is written, but with a little experimenting this could be discovered.

    Thanks for this post,

    Bradford Knowlton

    http://x86Virtualization.com/

  • MSDN used to allow development and testing for 60 days.  As far as I can tell this has been officially reduced to 30 for Vista, but obviously is unofficially extendible to 120.  I did activate one installation where testing ran to about 35 days, before reading how to get 120.  That seems kind of wasteful, activating an installation which was ready to be wiped at around the 36th day.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007 3:18 PM by SJ

    > A VM is not the original hardware.

    Right, a VM isn't hardware at all, it's a virtualization.  Next take a look at the hardware and see what the original hardware is.  Sure the guest OS doesn't see the original hardware and we know why, but any human who looks at it sees it.  Don't confuse technology with law.

  • Dennis / SJ / Norman Diamond -

    The Windows XP OEM license does not allow you to install the operating system into a virtual machine.

    Bradford -

    This is completely okay from a Microsoft point of view.  If you did this and "saved stated" the virtual machine - it would still expire in 30 days time, and when you started the VM after that you would need to activate straight away.

    Cheers,

    Ben

  • Thanks for the replies.

    Even though the XP OEM license doesn't allow it, is it not ok to transfer the installation to another license since we have "real" licenses also? The only reason the OEM license was used in the first place was that it was pre-installed. I guess it would have been better to wipe out the pre-installed OS and not use the OEM one at all in that case.

  • Easier to just create a clean build and back it up once activated, then you can just trot out a fresh install as needed.  Saves a HUGE amount of time reinstalling the VM over and over.

  • regarding "Easier to just create a clean build and back it up once activated..."

    Back it up with what? We're now apparently done with various Ghost versions that don't play well with Vista and need an alternative for our testing. Yes, we wipe machines regularily and require hardware compatibility tests...

    Tips, please?

    Thanks~

  • If you actually have a key that you CAN activate in the virtual machine, activate the clean install as soon as you turn it on, wait for it to activate (install drivers, optionally), and then save state. Just create the virtual machines from in there.

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