We have two Windows Server 2008 R2 servers (VMs), but because of cloning the VMs, they have the same activation ID.

This is causing issues with our Carbonite Pro backup, which is seeing the machines as the same due to having the same activation ID.

Is there a way to (legitimately) change the activation ID, or does anyone know the proper contact channels to go through at Microsoft to achieve this?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give!


Sysprep the machine by running C:\Windows\System32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize

After that, just turn it back on and reactivate. It's a good (read: required for Microsoft to support it) idea to sysprep cloned machines anyways.

  • 1
    And pray you don't have devices that can't be handled by plug-n-play :) – user Sep 21 '11 at 16:56
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    @user if you omit generalize, which tells sysprep to delete device configurations, you wont lose those. Additionally, it's pretty unlikely they're using non-PNP devices in a Cloned VM environment. – Chris S Sep 21 '11 at 17:03

Right click my computer->properties->change product key and volume licencing contacts

EDIT: If not accessible you can do this

Open the command prompt and change working directory to System32 directory
Type in slmgr.vbs -ckms (this clears and KMS entry you may have)
Type slmgr.vbs -upk (this removes any product key installed)
Type slmgr.vbs -ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx (where the x’s is the new product key you want to use )
Type slmgr.vbs -ato (this activates the server)

Taken from here

  • Hi, thanks for responding! I'm not sure that this technique would work though. I think the issue is that these are cloned VMs using the same product key, and so in this case they have the same hardware & key, which is what is used to create the activation ID. I'm looking to get the machine a different activation ID somehow so that Carbonite will recognize it differently. – SeanKilleen Sep 21 '11 at 20:15

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