We have a client who is looking to upgrade to a new Windows Server 2008 server. They currently run a Windows Server 2003 machine.

We're trying to setup a virtual environment in order to do a practice migration from Windows Server 2003 OEM to Windows Server 2008.

When we attempt to log into our virtualised instance of the Server 2003 install, it requires us to activate Windows. We can't ask it to "remind me later", as it just goes straight back to the login screen.

I know plenty of people virtualise client environments, so I'm just wondering if there is a way around this. Does anyone have any experience with this? Any ideas about where I could find out more?


Buy a license for 2008? I don't understand what you are asking

Sorry. Reading that post with fresh eyes, I can see how confusing it would be.

The client already has:

1 x Windows Server 2003 machine in their office already

1 x Windows Server 2008 box which we have at our office until the planned migration date.

Both Servers have completely legal OS installs. 2003 is on a Dell server. 2008 is on an IBM.

I have virtualised the Server 2003 install, as I would like to perform a practice migration.

However, when I try to log into the virtual machine it asks me to activate windows and won't allow me to log in, even for the usual 14 or 30 day grace period that they usually allow. If I click "remind me later" on the activation screen, it just takes me back to the login screen.

Is there a way I can get past this? I have spoken to Microsoft about this and they have been fairly unhelpful.

Hopefully this is a little more clear.


Ah, you have me on this one. I could think that Microsoft might require an activation immediately for a VM (it can detect it because of the virtualized hardware) so that you don't get a server installed and fully functional, save a copy of the VM, run it for 14 days, then restore it.

That may be intentional to stop the practice but that is just a guess. Sorry I couldn't be of more help