How do you make Windows7 and Windows Server VMS not want to be re-activated?

I have a computer lab full of machines that start up a Windows XP, Windows 7, or Windows Server2008 VM for each student, depending on what they select (Yes I have enough licensing to cover all of the them). Each student has their own personal VM for whichever OS they choose.

For the Windows XP VM, I was able to activate it before I cloned it, and it all stays validated.

For windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, it clones fine, but asks to be re-activated. Is there a way to get around this? Is this actually a problem if they all auto-activate?

As far as cloning goes, all the VMs are created identically, and they all use the exact same vdi (VirtualBox's hard drive format), so the HDD is the same for each one.

Thanks --Kyle

2 Answers 2


To answer your other question, no, it's not actually a problem if they all auto-activate (if your licensing is similar to what I've dealt with - insert standard licensing disclaimer here).

I was tasked with managing the licenses in a high-VM-churn environment, and the worst that'll happen is that the activation won't stick (because its "charges" are expended). You'll head to your MS licensing portal, generate a new key, stick it in the master VM and live merrily until it's hit the activation cap again.


You want a KMS server for automatic key management and activation. It requires Volume Licensing however, not Retail or MAK license. Call your MS License Vendor for more info if you don't already have VA licenses.

This video from MS has a brief overview of how to do it. The bottom of that page has quite a few links to Volume License management guides.

  • KMS servers were designed for exactly this situation. we just rolled out out recently and all of our computer-lab managers are now very happy people.
    – sysadmin1138
    Sep 21, 2010 at 18:00

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