Which changes trigger reactivation in a Windows guest?

Discussions about using Windows guests in VirtualBox.

Re: Activation issues with Windows guests.

Postby mpack » 14. Oct 2009, 16:49

Martin wrote:Maybe you could change the thread title to "Which changes trigger a reactivation in a Windows guest?"
Snap! :-)
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Re: Activation issues with Windows guests or whatever

Postby straun » 14. Oct 2009, 17:02

Sorry to cause confusion I raised a new thread for my issue
http://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=23381
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Re: Activation issues with Windows guests.

Postby Sasquatch » 14. Oct 2009, 17:22

mpack, you can change it yourself. Just edit the subject of your first post ;).
Read the Forum Posting Guide before opening a topic.
VirtualBox FAQ: Check this before asking questions.
Online User Manual: A must read if you want to know what we're talking about.
Howto: Install Linux Guest Additions
Howto: Use Shared Folders on Linux Guest
See the Tutorials and FAQ section at the top of the Forum for more guides.
Try searching the forums first with Google and add the site filter for this forum.
E.g. install guest additions site:forums.virtualbox.org

Retired from this Forum since OSSO introduction.
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Re: Activation issues with Windows guests.

Postby mpack » 14. Oct 2009, 17:32

Sasquatch wrote:mpack, you can change it yourself. Just edit the subject of your first post ;).

Oh yeah... I didn't realize it was that simple! Done. :-)
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Re: Which changes trigger reactivation in a Windows guest?

Postby MarkCranness » 1. Nov 2009, 03:11

Not wanting to let a good puzzle go unsolved, I have the detail behind Sasquatch's observation about the VM UUID...

Windows 7 (and potentially other programs) can check the DMI System UUID of the motherboard of the machine they are running on.
The DMI System UUID is sort of a serial number of the motherboard, but there is also a separate serial number field.
If this changes, presumably the motherboard has changed, which triggers activation.

By default, VirtualBox uses the VM UUID for the DMI System UUID, but this can be overridden:
Code: Select all   Expand viewCollapse view
VBoxManage setextradata "MyVM"
           "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiSystemUuid"
           "172ad6d3-e91f-4d1a-bcce-82484b1f8c82"

Useful link courtesy of bilou_gateux: DMIDecode for Windows.
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Re: Which changes trigger reactivation in a Windows guest?

Postby vbox4me2 » 1. Nov 2009, 13:44

MarkCranness wrote:The DMI System UUID is sort of a serial number of the motherboard, but there is also a separate serial number field.
If this changes, presumably the motherboard has changed, which triggers activation.

Next thing, how do you query this value?
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Re: Which changes trigger reactivation in a Windows guest?

Postby MarkCranness » 2. Nov 2009, 07:41

vbox4me2 wrote:Next thing, how do you query this value?

DMIDecode, part of most(?) Linux installs, or DMIDecode for Windows (An alternative link to the one bilou_gateux suggested, and probably more trustworthy as it is hosted at SourceForge).
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Re: Which changes trigger reactivation in a Windows guest?

Postby oao » 30. Nov 2009, 20:19

I have a student retail XP set which includes a XP64 copy and a XP32 copy, each of which has its own key.

I am running XP64 on my laptop and XP32 in a VM in VBox. Both were activated once.

I had to uninstall and reinstall Vbox in exactly the same hardware configuration and when I reinstalled XP32 in the new VM it triggered reactivation.

Anybody knows why and how do I resolve the issue?

Thanks.
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Re: Which changes trigger reactivation in a Windows guest?

Postby Perryg » 30. Nov 2009, 20:33

when I reinstalled XP32 in the new VM it triggered reactivation

Do you mean that you reused the VDI or do you mean that you did a clean install of the OS?
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Re: Which changes trigger reactivation in a Windows guest?

Postby oao » 30. Nov 2009, 20:41

reinstalled from scratch.
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Re: Which changes trigger reactivation in a Windows guest?

Postby Perryg » 30. Nov 2009, 20:45

Well there you go. That will always trigger activation, guaranteed. :wink:
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Re: Which changes trigger reactivation in a Windows guest?

Postby oao » 30. Nov 2009, 21:59

Ok, so what do I do now?
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Re: Which changes trigger reactivation in a Windows guest?

Postby Perryg » 30. Nov 2009, 22:02

Activate it. That is all you can do. All new Windows installs must be activated.
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Re: Which changes trigger reactivation in a Windows guest?

Postby mpack » 30. Nov 2009, 22:19

Perryg wrote:Activate it. That is all you can do. All new Windows installs must be activated.

Unless, that is, you had the foresight to copy the wpa.dbl and wpa.bak (if it exists) files to a shared folder, and restore them in safe mode after the reinstall. That works provided the hardware is identical before and after. This is a useful trick if you are one of those who believes that Windows benefits from a complete reinstall every now and then (I'm not one of those btw - I prefer to just keep my OS lean and tidy as I go).

@oao: uninstalling and then reinstalling VBox on the same PC (or even on different PCs) should not have required you to reinstall all your guest OS's. Something to bear in mind for the future. An uninstall of VBox on a PC should leave the .VirtualBox folder intact to be picked up by the new install. It's also possible to copy that folder to another drive for backup purposes, to be restored in the correct location later.
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Re: Which changes trigger reactivation in a Windows guest?

Postby oao » 30. Nov 2009, 23:21

Thanks, mpack.

I am familiar with the 2-file method for preventing reactivation.

In this particular case I had to uninstall both VBox and the guest OS and reinstall from scratch and I did not have access to the 2 files (see next).

I did however have an earlier image backup of the drives with the old install and I was able to restore the old install and thus kill the reactivation (since it was a disk image I did not have access to individual files).

I will now make sure I backup the 2 files so that I have them next time.
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