Windows activation problem after upgrade to PD 4.0

Discussion in 'Windows Virtual Machine' started by bmwmcrider, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. bmwmcrider

    bmwmcrider Member


    I just upgraded my PD 3 to version 4 and used the conversion option to convert my existing Vista VM. Everything works great except that I am now getting a windows activation request and being asked to enter my Vista product key.

    My original Vista guest OS was created using the Vista Business version then using the Windows Anytime Upgrade Pack to upgrade Business to Ultimate.

    At the activation request I first entered the Ultimate upgrade product key which was rejected. I then entered the Business product key but that was also rejected.

    So my first question is why do I have to activate Vista in the first place since I already done that in the original installation and PD 4 supposedly just changed the format of the original VM? The second question is how do I activate Vista given the two stage creation process I originally used to create the Vista guest OS?


  2. aslerjack

    aslerjack Bit poster

    I had a similar issue when upgrading to 4. ON ver 3 I had installed XPsp2 and had also imported my laptop running xp. When I upgraded to version 4, i had to reactivate and had to call to get it activated, but when I ran my imported XP laptop, I did not have to activate.

  3. jmanos3

    jmanos3 Member

    Something that I found with PD4 is that during the conversion process, it re-creates the network interface inside of Windows. This has a side affect of causing the MAC address of the interface to change which could be causing Windows to request a re-activation.

    If you have a backup of the VM you upgraded, I suggest that you do the following.

    1. Uninstall PD4
    2. Re-install PD3
    3. Get the MAC address of your VM as PD3 sees it
    4. Re-upgrade to PD4
    5. Upgrade but do not convert your VM
    6. Edit the configuration of the VM and enable the Advanced view
    7. Change the MAC address on the VM to what it was in PD3
    8. Start the VM in PD4 and allow the conversion process to happen

    I have seen this approach both work and fail with upgraded/converted VM's. There is no guarantee but it may be worth the investment.
  4. jmanos3

    jmanos3 Member

    I wanted to post a follow-up to my original reply to this thread.

    I downloaded PD4 build 3540 this evening and tried to upgrade and convert my PD3 Windows VM's again. After upgrading the VM, but before converting it, I checked the configuration settings for the network card. It appears that this build is not automatically changing the MAC address, which is good. However, I still had to use the manual conversion process because Windows required re-activation.

    The VM's I used in the process were originally created with PD3 on an 2006 iMac. Last year, I upgrade to a 2008 Mac Pro. PD3 had no problems running the VM's without a re-activation when the hardware changed. However, when I ran the PD4 upgrade and conversion process, I was using the 2008 Mac Pro. It is clear that Windows is noticing too much of a virtual hardware change, independent of the MAC address, which is the root of the re-activation.
  5. shavital

    shavital Member

    Migrating Windows XP Pro SP3 to Parallels Desktop 4.0

    Some time ago, I purchased, ran, installed and later on updated from VMware Fusion 2.0 to 2.1. Immediately after installing Fusion 2.0, I installed Windows XP Pro and promptly updated to SP3. The resulting installation under VNware was much more complete that the one I originally performed using Parallels 3.0 (including the latest build), ran much faster, and with greater stability. By more complete I mean that there were applications and accessories (what a name!) that were not installed under Parallels 3.0.
    I purchased Parallels Desktop upgrade to 4.0 (and updated to the latest build), then using Parallels Transporter, I migrated the VMware virtual machine to Parallels Desktop 4.0. At the completion of the migration process, and launching Windows XP Pro, I was notified that "...significant changes in hardware need to reactivate this copy of Windows XP....blah, blah...". I declined, I don't want to spend time with Microsoft personnel, trying to explain that I am running a "virtual" Windows XP. My original copy of Windows XP Pro is legitimate, I have the folder, the installation disk, the litterature, the registration code, etc.
    Furthermore, there is no logic at all in that warning about "...significant changes in hardware...". What hardware are we talking about? My latop's hardware? I don't believe Parallels is "seeing" my laptop's hardware, it is seeing the "virtual hardware" (if there is such a term) configured by Parallels itself.
    I am posting this message from Microsoft's IE beta 8.0, under Windows XP Pro SP3 VMware Fusion, and it runs magnificently, no warnings no bull.
    Will all due respect to Parallels, and in spite of the fact that I have always been supportive of Parallels efforts, I believe I'll stay with VMware.
  6. jmanos3

    jmanos3 Member

    A follow-up to the follow-up.......

    I installed PD4 build 3540 on my dual-core Mac Book Pro and attempted to convert my Windows XP Pro VM originally build using PD3 on an iMac (also dual-core). Two things to report.

    1. I confirmed that the new build is not changing MAC addresses when upgrading and converting.
    2. During the conversion and upgrade of the VM, no request to re-active Windows was made.

    So, under the right conditions, the conversion and upgrade of a Windows VM will proceed as Parallels planned it. However, there are lots of conditions that change over time and having the conversion process get derailed by a Windows re-activation request is unfortunate.
  7. teknics

    teknics Junior Member

    just to make you aware, the process of reactivating windows happens all the time even on a straight windows system. it's microsoft's fault for making such a touchy system. If you take adesktop pc running windows and change a majority of the hardware and start it up, it will ask to be reactivated. you get 3 for free out of the box, after that you need to call.

    The call is completely automated and at the max takes 10 minutes.

    As for why you have to activate when going from pd3 -> pd4, in 3 look at your device manager of your guest winxp install, then in 4 look at the device manager, parallels changed tons of the "virtual hardware" windows sees this is an actual hardware change and thus sets off the activation alarm.

    so the only way vmware wont set off the reactivate alarm is if they dont change there virtual hardware that much, which defeats the purpose of program updates.

  8. jmanos3

    jmanos3 Member

    Completely understood and agree that it is Microsoft's issue. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of using both methods of activation (on-line and call).

    It is clear that Parallels and VMware are using implementing different virtual hardware abstraction layers and Parallels appears to be more fine grained than VMware. The fact that Parallels is providing more processor options (1-8 processors) in PD4 where VMware 2.0 is only providing 1-2 processors is a demonstration of that fact. I am thankful of this because I am able to leverage more of the Mac Pro when I want/need.

    The issue/problem that I see in all of this is not directly related to re-activation nor the differences in HAL. It is a combination of these, with the upgrade/conversion process, that is causing challenges for many people. It would appear, based upon the threads in these forums, that many customers are having issues with the upgrade/conversion process, due to re-activation, which is due to the virtual hardware abstraction layer. I happen to be one of them that is also interested in understanding what is happening, and why, with the goal of helping those who need it.

    Fundamentally, I am coming to the conclusion that Parallels' attempt at making the conversion of a VM a "black box" process may not have been the best approach considering the level of change introduced in the virtual hardware abstraction layer. I, like many others, were upset when the conversion process stopped and were told to "go manual" because of re-activation needs. I would have liked the "heads-up" and given the option to complete a manual conversion from the start.

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