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All our servers are setup under a volume license agreement so they shouldn't prompt for activation. However some of them constantly ask for reactivation. These are all VMs running under VMware vSphere.

The machine that prompted for activation today said that the hardware had changed since it was activated, when I know for a fact that it hasn't. It isn't all the machines that require reactivation, just some of them.

The machines are Windows 2008 with either the Web Edition or the Standard Edition.

When I look in the event log the entry after the one saying that the hardware has changed says.

The RAC or SPC license in invalid {guid} hr=0xC004E003 (4,0xC004F00F)

The next one says

License acquisition failure details. hr=0xC004C008

The next one says

Acuisition of End User License failed. hr=0xC004C008 Sku Id={guid}

Where I put {guid} is has an actual GUID.

Does anyone have an idea what's going on?

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How were the servers provisioned? Were they cloned/copied in vmware? did you run sysprep? – Nick Kavadias Dec 14 '09 at 1:11
These machines were cloned from a template and deployed via VMware which ran them through sysprep so they all have unique SIDs. – mrdenny Dec 14 '09 at 2:56
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The following KB articles cover troubleshooting the errors you mention:

The first KB article recommends re-entering the key to resolve your first error, and for the second two (which have the same error), your best bet will be to call the Microsoft Product Activation Center here: (888) 352 7140. The last two errors indicate that the MAK key has been activated more times than the key allows, and they can increase the number of activations at that phone number.

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Sounds like I'll be giving that phone number a call tomorrow. I saw the first one when searching the net. I didn't see the second two. Thanks for providing them. – mrdenny Dec 14 '09 at 2:54
Microsoft will add more MAK activations within reason, but the better solution is to switch to using KMS if possible. – Grant May 16 '14 at 0:08

Did you create and install these VM's individually or did you clone them? The problem could be that the SID is the same. I'm not entirely certain if that COULD cause this exact issue but it can cause other similar issues with things like windows updates. If you cloned them run NewSid on the machines to give each of them their own unique SIDs.

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Excerpt from that article "Note that Sysprep resets other machine-specific state that, if duplicated, can cause problems for certain applications like Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), so MIcrosoft's support policy will still require cloned systems to be made unique with Sysprep." That's what I think your problem is. I experienced the WSUS issue about a year ago which is when I first used newSID. Thanks for the additional info Nick. – Dave Holland Dec 14 '09 at 1:28
yes, sysprep is still needed. – Nick Kavadias Dec 14 '09 at 1:34
So in case it wasn't clear (it should have been) use sysprep as Nick has recommended instead of newSID. Although I have used newSID successfully with 2003 server, it sounds like with 2k8 sysprep is the safer route. – Dave Holland Dec 14 '09 at 1:37
These machines were cloned from a template and deployed via VMware which ran them through sysprep so they all have unique SIDs. – mrdenny Dec 14 '09 at 2:55

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