I had a decommissioned server (Dell PE2950) that we could still use, it had OEM Windows 2003 Std on it but wanted to use it as a new host with VMware ESX5 to put a couple legacy severs on it. I wiped it clean and maxed out the memory. But when I added the memory I noticed the product key sticker was a "WindowsServer08 Std 1-4cpu" product key, and it also had a Virtual Key.
Not sure why it had Win2003 and not Win2008 from the start, but I would like to use that license if I can. The virtual host would stay on the same physical server, so there shouldn't be a problem with licensing... but I do not want to use Hyper-V unless I can not help it. I have installed ESX5 on the server, but I cannot get the Windows 2008 server to activate. The product key is hard to read, and I have checked the key quite a few times.
But my question is... Is it because Hyper-V was not installed on the host? But I thought you could use the product key alone on a virtual host? Maybe because I am not using a Dell Windows 2008 disk but iso from MS directly via the Volumne Licensing site?
EDIT1: well, Im pretty sure I got the product key correct. If its not the product key, could the activation problem be because Im not using hyper-v or maybe the correct install dvd?
EDIT2: maybe because I added 28GB of memory? Originally 4GB...
EDIT3: found a Dell Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 disk, it will still not activate with it virtualized on top of ESX.
The Activations are saying "does not appear to be a valid Windows Server 2008 R2 product key".
EDIT4: Timeline... The original host physically had Windows 2003 SP1 installed on it (not virtualized). I wiped it clean and inserted 32GB of memory and installed Vmware ESX hypervisor on the host. I then installed and tried to activate Windows Server 2008 R2 (Iso from MS Licensing Website) . It would not work. I then installed and tried to activate Windows Server 2008 R2 (from a Dell dvd I found). Both times activation has failed with the "does not appear to be a valid Windows Server 2008 R2 product key". Product sticker has a product key "WindowsServer*08 Std 1-4cpu", with a Virtual Key. I have rechecked the keys a dozen times, even with a magnifier. Still no luck.