I'm virtualizing a Rockwell AssetCentre Server and I'm looking at Disaster Recovery scenarios. This server contains a lot of other Rockwell Software like RSLinx, Logix 5000, Logix 500, and more...

Software activations for Rockwell work in a very strict manner, so much so that I'm concerned about whether its going to be viable to restore the AssetCentre server Virtual Machine to a different host in the event of a system failure.

The software activations are locked to the virtual machine using the serial number of the hard drive. You can also choose to lock it to the MAC address of the virtual machine. Are either of these two things something that can be customized and edited using VMWare? Will they automatically change if I host the virtual machine using a different Virtual Server?

I've looked inside the .vmx files (currently using a mix of VMWare Workstation 7 and VMware ESXi 4.1) and I didn't see anything in either of the files that looked like a MAC addresss or a Hard Disk serial number.

  • Hint: The disk serial number can also be changed with softwares such as "Volume-Serial_Number-Changer-V1.2.exe"
    – user273484
    Feb 26, 2015 at 16:58

5 Answers 5


The UUID of the disk is in the .vmdk file. For example:

# The Disk Data Base 

ddb.toolsVersion = "8327"
ddb.adapterType = "lsilogic"
ddb.geometry.sectors = "63"
ddb.geometry.heads = "255"
ddb.geometry.cylinders = "2610"
ddb.uuid = "60 00 C2 9f e4 06 d9 4c-13 9a d8 50 77 bb 73 36"
ddb.longContentID = "72d1cd8a4fb3119ca80f3870ee90c1b0"
ddb.virtualHWVersion = "7"

The MAC address can be edited under 'Advanced properties' of your network adapter. It should also be in the .vmx file. I found this is mine:

ethernet0.generatedAddress = "00:0c:29:f3:72:cc"

It's possible that it's only saved there once you edit it though.

If you move your VM to another location VMWare usually asks you if you moved or copied the VM when you start it. If you say you moved it then all ID's stay the same. If you say you copied it then VMWare will change the ID's to prevent conflicts.

  • Nice find on the ethernet.generatedAddress, thanks. I must have looked right at it twice and for whatever reason it didn't register. The UUID of the disk isn't the same as the Hard Disk Serial number however. The Hard Disk Serial number attached to the activation file used on this virtual machine is a 8 character (letters and numbers) serial number. When I get 15 rep I'll upvote your comment. :)
    – Lucretius
    Aug 24, 2011 at 16:21

I am also dealing with AssetCentre which we have virtualized in VMware and have bound to the disk serial number. I've been trying to figure out how to display the disk serial number. Thanks for the information on how to do that within FactoryTalk. I also finally found that just doing a DIR in a command prompt in any folder on that drive shows it at the top.

I just cloned our server to another Cluster and it appears that the disk serial number stayed the same. Also, Microsoft Sysinternals provides a free tool VolumeID to change the disk serial number http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897436.aspx. I tested it and it did successfully change the serial number which FactoryTalk noticed after rebooting. Based on my testing of the clone I don't think that I will need it, but I wanted to see if it worked.

  • Nice tool, when I was working with this back then the serial numbers did not look the same. Now that we're on ESXi 5.0 I just set the MAC accress of the VM to static and bind all the activations to that. Anyway great solution!
    – Lucretius
    Jan 12, 2013 at 17:31

Can you clarify what you mean by the serial number of the disk ? How would you normally read it ?

MAC addresses for the ethernet adaptors are stored in the .vmx file as

ethernet0.generatedAddress = "00:0c:39:5b:b5:e0"
  • I honestly don't know how Rockwell is obtaining the serial number. Their Activation Manager spits out an 8 character serial number (letters and numbers), and calls it the "Hard Disk Serial Number." The serial number that linux VMware-Workstation host shows me is much longer than 8 characters, and nothing like what Rockwell shows.
    – Lucretius
    Aug 24, 2011 at 16:27

So I found out that VMware changes Hard Disk serial number (8 character Alpha-Numeric code somehow bound to a Hard Drive or Volume) when you make a clone, and I haven't found a way to manually change it back. So... using the "DISK_SERIAL_NUM" for the Host ID is a bad idea for Rockwell products running on VMware (even though they will still recommend it).

In FactoryTalk Activation Manager, if you click "Get New Activations" and then click the [...] button under "Host ID Information" it will show you MAC Address and the "DISK_SERIAL_NUM" and ask you to choose a Host ID to bind your activation's.

Since the MAC Address is the only thing I know of that you can manually configure in ESXi on a virtual machine, we reworked our activation's and now they're all bound to the MAC address of the primary network adapter.

Been running...
- AssetCentre
- RSLogix 500 (make sure you get the activation Node-Locked)
- RSLogix 5000
- RSLinx Classic
...with no issues since reworking the activation's.


There is a simple way around this. Clone the VM Factory Talk Activation is locked to with VirtualBox (keeps the same UUID). Launch the clone and restore/return the license. Now you have the license in the cloud in case you need it for a future recovery situation and it is still on your original VM.

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