Activate P2V Windows XP or Server 2003 if OEM licence

Issue: After visualizing a physical Windows XP machine, Windows requires activation.

Background: After converting a PC from physical to virtual, Windows recognizes that there has been a hardware change.  This will send it into “Activation Mode”, which will require you to activate Windows XP before use.  In order to work around this, you can apply a new VALID key to your Windows XP installation.

Resolution: Recreate the converted VM’s config files, boot to the Windows installation disk and run the Repair function, which will allow you to specify a Windows XP license key.  You will need to load the VMware SCSI Controller drivers before repairing.


–  Ensure the PC is powered on and networked

  • Clean up any unnecessary data on the physical machine so that it is not converted over to the virtual environment

– Download and install the latest version of VMware Converter

–  Open VMware Converter and select “Convert machine”

  • Enter the following:
    • Select source type: Powered-on machine
    • Specify the powered-on machine: A remote machine
      • IP address or name: <PC Name>
      • User name: <Admin user on source PC>
      • Password: <Password>
      • OS Family: Windows
  • Click Next

– When prompted with the following, choose “Automatically uninstall the files when import succeeds” and click Yes

– In the Destination System screen, enter the following and click Next:

  • Select destination type: VMware Infrastructure virtual machine
  • Server: <VMware host or Vcenter management server>
  • User name: <VMware user with Admin rights>
  • Password: <Password>

– In the Destination Virtual Machine screen, enter the following and click Next:

  • Name: <PC Name>
  • In the “Inventory for:” field, select the destination

– In the Destination Location screen, select the host for the new VM, then choose the appropriate datastore and click Next

– In the Summary screen:

  • Click Edit in the “Data to copy” field
    • Choose the “Destination layout” tab and highlight C:
    • Click the “Size/Capacity” drop-down and choose “Type size in GB”
    • Enter the required size of the drive…make this as small as possible to preserve space, e.g. if there is only 26GB of used space on the physical machine, make the new virtual disk 30GB
  • Click Edit in the “Services” field
    • Check the boxes to stop any services that could slow the conversion process (i.e. antivirus)
  • Click Next

– Click finish and Converter will create the new VM…the process may take over an hour depending on your disk size.

– Once the VM is created, open Vsphere client and connect to your host.

– Switch to the Datastores and Datastore Clusters view and select the datastore that you created the VM on

  • Click “Browse this datastore” and locate the VM that you just created
  • In the VM’s directory, delete all files except for the .VMDK and .VMX files
  • Upload the Windows XP SP3 ISO and VMware SCSI Driver floppy image to the datastore

– Switch back to the Hosts and Clusters view in Vsphere and power on the VM

  • When prompted, choose the option “I moved it” and click OK

– The VM will boot, when you try to log on, it will prompt you for activation

  • Click Cancel and the VM will shutdown

– Edit the VM’s settings

  • Connect the XP ISO as the disk drive and the SCSI driver as the floppy drive (you may need to add a floppy drive)
  • Under the Options tab > Boot Options, check the box in the “Force BIOS Setup” field
  • Click OK and boot the VM

– When the VM boots to the BIOS, set the disk drive as the primary boot device, save changes and exit, you will then boot to the XP installer

– When prompted, press F6 to load third party SCSI drivers

– Hit S to Specify Additional Device

– Hit ENTER to select the VMware SCSI Controller, then hit ENTER again to continue with Windows Setup

– Hit ENTER to set up Windows

– When prompted, select R to repair the existing Windows XP installation.

– After going through the standard installation procedure and entering a valid XP license key, Windows will boot as normal and you will not be prompted to activate

– Network settings may have to be applied manually to bring the VM online, depending on your environment


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