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I have a number of users who are migrating to new machines. I decided to try and use VMWare Converter + VMWare Player to try and image the old machines just in case they forget to migrate any files or settings.

I've created an image, but when trying to run in VMWare Player, Windows wants to activate and complains that the product key is invalid. Is the process not going to work, or am I doing something wrong?

Is there a better approach to archiving the old machines if this way won't work?

Thanks, Jon

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I like the idea, but if they're OEM installs the license and activation is valid for the hardware that the installation was originally done on only. So you can't run a Windows installation on anything other than the hardware it was originally installed on without subverting the copy protection somehow. – pjc50 Oct 1 '09 at 16:45
up vote 4 down vote accepted

What you're seeing is valid.

The VM machine is presenting windows with new hardware and a new CPU ID. Windows activation is doing its job because more than 5 pieces of hardware have changed.

Are you moving the machines off a computer made by Dell, HP, Toshiba, etc? If so, their OEM product key is normally tied to their specific hardware, normally by an value in the BIOS.

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It's Dell to Dell, but pretty old Dell to brand new. So should I be able to reactivate if I call them or am I breaking some kind of EULA? – Jon Oct 1 '09 at 15:34
VMware can't pass the required information from your host machine's BIOS. To your guest machines, they appear to be running on an AMD system with standard PHEONIX BIOS (K6 iirc). You will need to find either a volume license or an OEM license. – Greg Buehler Oct 5 '09 at 13:40

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