Bld 3036: Does everyone encounter Windows XP reactivation demand?

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by jamesrob, Dec 3, 2006.

  1. jamesrob


    Before I do my first installation of Parallels (to capture my Boot Camp partition), I'm wondering if EVERYONE is being asked (once or repeatedly) to reactivate Windows XP by Microsoft whenever changing the Windows startup method (as a real PC from power-off cold boot or as a virtual machine within the Parallels for Mac application).

    A corollary question: since both Boot Camp AND Parallels 3036 are beta, how likely is it that such reactivation will be required once Boot Camp functionality is considered release quality software (Apple has promised this for Leopard).

    Because Parallels is makiing it so easy for people to enjoy the Mac while still being able to run that one or two Windows applications demanded by their overall computer usage, I can see Microsoft starting to play hardball about the number of times they'll permit reactivation (the Vista license seems to support such paranoia).

    So, how many of you are able to install Parallels Tools for Boot Camp into your existing Boot Camp volume, install Parallels build 3036, then run Windows XP from Parallels or from a cold boot into Boot Camp WITHOUT facing the dreaded reactivation demand?

    Thanks so much,
    Jim Robertson
  2. jmizoguchi


    I have encouter just others but I did find different things.. I have origianl image of my windows xp pro on DVD-R that I made copy in case I need to reload. I also do some beta tester for other company and doing only under parallels. So anyway, when I installed the Beta, I launch one of XP pro that I use for beta testing asked for activitaion. My other xp pro which I use for my personal and business use. Now that didn't ask for activation. Only difference will be that I have sofware difference. Microsoft will only ask for re-activation if the hardware is changes etc but software I don't think.

    I tried to re-load my original back up from dvd and that didn't work either. not sure what went wrong after but it seems something is doing funky on this beta build. I have managed to duplicate the copy of the one works and it does fine..both xp was shut down before it was upgraded as well.

    I also post about backing up.. in the past I was able to back up to external drive or maybe to DVD but now its over 5G, I can make back up on current data to my DVD writer since I have orginal macbook with just reugular DVD writer (non-dl). I believe my original copy should work if activation deal is fixed or whatever reason is..
  3. retrospek


    I was asked to Activate Windows XP again both in Parallels AND BootCamp !

    I would recommend people don't set-up the Bootcamp part of Parallels unless they really want to reactive.

    Hopefully Parallels will come up with a solution to this problem, otherwise, I can't see how this can be workable.
  4. kitch


    Yes. It ends up asking for reactivation any time i switch from BootCamp to Parallels or back. It does not stop asking.
  5. BruceK


    After installing 3036 I was -not- asked to reactivate Win XP SP1. I had other problems, but not that particular one.

    FWIW - I do not have Boot Camp installed.
  6. macguy

    macguy Bit Poster

    I had to reactivate both my Boot Camp version of XP Pro and then when I booted into it through parallels I had to reactivate it again. The requirement for activation of the original Boot Camp was apparently triggered by the conversion from FAT32 to NTFS. I read on the internet that doing that will require reactivation on a standard Windows system, so that one was not unexepected. I was a little surprised when I had to reactivate it again thru parallels.

    I must not have done this activation stuff too often because it allowed me to do both reactivations (on the same copy of XP Pro) via the internet. I did not have to call Microsoft.

    bill damon
    salem, va
  7. Cyrealm


    I like the idea of being able to use the Bootcamp partition for Parallels but it looks like I'll be holding off doing it until this activation issue can be resolved. By the design it may never be resolved unless the Parallels team can figure out a way to exactly match Bootcamp hardware settings with the VM. Apparently those settings change so drastically when switching from one boot method to the other that XP will prompt to activate each time. It looks like if you want to use Bootcamp in Parallels, switch your Bootcamp partition over and then always use Parallels to boot that partition.
  8. macguy

    macguy Bit Poster

    Multiple Activation Requests

    There is some kind of problem with this Windows Activation stuff and switching between Boot Camp and Parallels using Boot Camp for both.

    Yesterday I set it all up to boot from Boot Camp. Because I had to convert my FAT32 to an NTFS partition, I had to reactivate my copy of XP Pro when booted directly into Boot Camp.

    I then booted to the Mac and started Parallels, and was asked to reactivate my copy of XP Pro again.

    Both of those times I was able to reactivate sucessfully over the internet.

    Today I installed my Bluetooth Keyboard under Windows (booted into Boot Camp); installed some software (Microsoft Streets and Trips); and then booted back into the Mac to test everything under Parallels.

    When Parallels booted I got the Windows Activation screen saying major system changes had taken place and I would have to reactive Windows again.

    I said No to that (I now have 3 days left before I have to reactivate Windows again) and then I booted back into Boot Camp.

    When Boot Camp booted I got the Windows Activation screen again and was told that due to major system changes I had to reactivate my copy of WIndows there again.

    So now I have one copy of WIndows on one Boot Camp partition but when I switch between Boot Camp and Parallels as the booting system something is triggering the reactivation screens.

    This is obviously a problem.

    Help please.
  9. James Bond 007

    James Bond 007

    I am not using Parallels yet (although I will be getting a Core 2 Duo Macbook soon and I plan to use Parallels then), but as a person who has been playing with Windows for a long time I think I can contribute to this issue.

    As I understand it, after you installed Windows XP (except the Corporate version, which does not require activation) and activated it on a PC or in a virtual machine, the activation is tied to the hardware of the PC or the VM. Therefore, after you activated XP under Boot Camp, and you then attempted to run XP from the Boot Camp partition under Parallels, XP will see a completely different set of hardware and hence reactivation will be triggered. The reverse is also true. Therefore, when you switch between Boot Camp and Parallels, you will be presented with the reactivation request every time.

    Personally I see no way of solving this issue myself. Perhaps the Parallels guys can figure it a way of avoiding the repeated reactivation. Or perhaps this functionality is intended to be one way only (that is, using the Boot Camp partition under Parallels only, though I do not think this is the original intent)?

    I recommend that you guys do not attempt to run the Boot Camp partition under Parallels at this time, unless you do not intend to reboot back into Windows.

  10. wreck

    wreck Bit Poster

  11. mvk



    I only had to reactivate once. I can frely boot from Parallels or Bot Camp to the same Windows installation without any issue at this time.
  12. jmizoguchi


    I have keep playing around and seems like one image is never ask for activation and other one does. both are same key and also I try with clone that works and still asked.. not sure why you get that.. I end up run activation on one that ask and it went just fine and both has no issue..
  13. jamesrob


    Boot Camp and endless WinXP reactivation demand

    Thanks for your input!

    Being able to capture a Boot Camp partition to run its installed copy of the guest OS is a relatively small step forward for the end user (although perhaps a major tour de force from the programmer's perspective). Because booting into XP via Boot Camp obliterates the user's concurrent access to all his/her Mac OS "stuff", there's really no point to using Boot Camp at ALL unless there are things that just don't work in Parallels (USB 2.0 devices, some hardware graphics acceleration, some networking issues are current examples). So, I expect the user who's trying to capture a Boot Camp partition to run XP as a guest OS within Parallels still has needs for direct booting of the entire real machine as a Windows computer.

    Many of those facing demands for reactivation of Windows each time they change their boot method (Parallels with guest OS access vs. direct booting via Boot Camp) apparently started with FAT32 partitions in Boot Camp.

    At least one user has reported the need to reactivate only once, followed by success toggling back and forth between Guest OS and direct boot into Windows without encountering the wrath of Redmond (reactivation requests).

    I think you're correct that it's not quite clear what the intent of the Parallels developers is here. Moreover, I'm concerned that subsequent beta or commercial releases of the Parallels for Mac host environment could trigger reactivation requests because Windows will see that the "hardware" has changed. Microsoft's licensing for Vista makes it pretty clear they're not too happy about the ability to run their OS in a virtual space. Many have speculated that Parallels is a "bad thing" for Apple, because it might induce large developers to abandon their Mac OS development efforts; e.g., why should Adobe resume development of FrameMaker for the Mac OS if its Mac customers can use the product on their Mac computers through guest OS access?

    My own view is that Parallels is a huge PLUS for Apple, because it offers people who've grown up with Windows but tired of its clunkiness and security holes (and who've stuck with Windows boxes solely because they have one or two bits of software that ONLY run under Windows) the opportunity to migrate to the more elegant environment of the Mac OS.

    Jim Robertson
  14. jamesrob


    The Boot Camp/Parallels Windows reactivation dance

    Now THAT is good news. Did you start with a FAT32 Boot Camp partition? Any other clues why you were luckier than others? What's your host Mac? What version of the Windows OS are you running (perhaps a stupid question; if you started in Boot Camp, it has to be XP service pack 2, I think).

    You've almost persuaded me to try installing the Parallels beta!

    Jim Robertson
  15. dailo


    Only way I can see how to get around activation is if you have a Corporate version of XP for now unti something else is done. I am fortunate enough to have a Corp version from work so I can switch back and forth without having XP nagging me for activation. I have no idea how this is going to work when Vista comes out though since all versions will require activations and you only get 3 activations!
  16. BlueSkyISdotCOM

    BlueSkyISdotCOM Bit Poster

    I don't have Bootcamp installed and I WAS NOT asked for reactivation in my Parallels Win XP SP2 install.
  17. joem


    If you try to run XP interchangeably from the bootcamp partition, and Parallels, it will assume it has been moved every time you switch, so if have a version that requires activation, you will not be able to boot interchangeably unless you back up whatever files it stores its activation record in after each activation, and restore those files before booting in the other environment.

    It is technically possible for Parallels to automate the backup / restore, but personally, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it to happen.
  18. silas


    Let's be clear about this issue:

    Let's be clear about this issue:

    The reactivation issue ONLY affects people who use their Boot Camp partition as a VM.

    Also, this has NOTHING to do with bugs in Parallels or Boot Camp, or the fact that they're both beta versions.

    A VM emulates hardware, but it doesn't emulate the same hardware as what's really there. For instance, Parallels emulates a rather basic video card; you can't access the real video card. Boot Camp, on the other hand, gives Windows access to the actual hardware in the computer.

    And Windows (Windows XP SP2, anyway, which is required for Boot Camp), BY DESIGN, forces a user to reactivate when it detects a major hardware change. For instance, if you switch out your video card for a better one, you'll have to reactivate your Windows install.

    Basically, every time you switch between booting into Boot Camp and booting within Parallels, the Windows installation detects a bunch of major hardware differences (in fact, you tell it to load different hardware profiles when you make those two choices at the text prompt when it loads), and it tells you to reactivate. That's just the way it is. As someone pointed out in another thread, this basically punishes those of us who bought real copies of Windows, since pirated copies likly dispense with reactivation. It's bass-ackwards, but then what do you really expect from Microsoft?

    All of the above is simple, unfortunate fact. Question is, what do we do about it?

    1) Just keep reactivating every couple days. This frankly isn't such a pain in the neck... as long as Windows lets you keep doing it indefinitely. But can you do that?

    2) Get Microsoft to patch Windows to accomodate this... maybe by allowing a Windows install to have two default hardware profiles instead of one, and only asking you to reactivate if it detects some third configuration. maybe they'll do this out of sheer generosity, when they notice the unusually high volume of repeated reactivations. Not likely. Maybe we could send lots of emails, or mention it on all the MS blogs, or - even better! - start a web petition!

    3) Let Parallels, the more organized and well-financed organization (financed by us!), lean on MS to issue some kind of patch like that. MS might listen to Parallels, since MS ostensibly gets paid full price for every copy of Windows used in Boot Camp or Parallels, which is a damn sight more profitable than OEM versions.

    4) Let Apple, the even better-organized and even better-financed organization (also financed by us!), lean on MS. Apple is big'n'mighty enough that MS might listen to them. And it's in Apple's best interest, since better integration via Boot Camp and Parallels will create more switchers.

    5) Hope that Parallels creates some kind of software kludge to deal with it... maybe pester them a bit on their forums. :)

    On a side note, this is kind of an interesting issue. It is in everyone's best interest to make this work better. Good integration between OS X, Parallels, Boot Camp and Windows would clearly benefit all three companies as well as consumers. But it's a collective action problem: who's going to pony up the resources to make it happen?
  19. nycruza


    Great post!

    I have reactivated over 18 times now and other then being a PITA there is no problem or effect.

  20. Pleiades


    I had two issues with activation. I also had two WinXP installations as VM's for previous builds of Parallels. After installing 3036, one asked for activation while the other didn't. That's odd since the only difference between the two is that one is a domain install while the other isn't. I can't quite remember which one asked.

    I also had problems every time i switched between Boot Camp and Parallels, requiring re-activation each and every time. The partition started out as NTFS, so FAT32 had nothing to do with it. Parallels creates its own generic hardware so Windows sees one set of hardware while with Boot Camp it sees the hardware as it actually is on the Mac. That would easily explain why it's asking for re-activation every time you switch between the two. To Windows, they are essentially radically different sets of hardware.

    A fix would not be very easy as Parallels would have to circumvent the Windows activation process, possibly by maintaining two sets of the file, wpa.dbl, the file that stores all the activation information, and swapping the files on the fly. That sounds not only like a logistical nightmare but possibly an invitation for Microsoft lawyers to bring a lawsuit. A much harder solution would be to abandon generic hardware and to actually support the real hardware. That sounds like something that would require rewriting nearly all of Parallels Desktop. There might be other solutions, but none of them are likely to be easy.

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