How to change the OEM license key to VLK after P2V

When I first started working with VMware, we were consolidating many Physical machines to Virtual (P2V). Every once in a while, I would come across a Windows Physical machine with a OEM license. After sysprepping the machine you have to re-add the licence key. Wich could be difficult, since the key would somehow not be available anymore and the machine was now no longer the Physical machine, the OEM license was delivered with. Furthermore, since we had a Volume License key (VLK) for our Windows (XP, 2003) machines, I wanted to change the license key to our VLK.

Product codes for Windows machines can be changed, but they can only be changed to the same type of product code, from VLK to VLK , not from OEM to VLK. For this you have to deploy a trick using the Windows install CD (ISO) with your VLK.

To change the license from OEM to VLK you have to boot the Virtual Machine (VM) to the Windows ISO, with the VLK, and choose the Windows Repair option when your existing install has been found. There will be no loss of data and all you applications remain installed.


  • Make a snapshot of the VM!!!
  • Boot the VM with (for instance) the Windows XP install CD.
  • In the  “Welcome To Setup” screen you can see the following options:

To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER.
To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.
To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.

Be Aware NOT to choose the option “To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R”.

  • Choose Enter to start the Windows Setup.
  • Accept the License Agreement. Windows will start looking for existing installs. 
  • Select the  install you want to repair from the list and type R to start the repair.
  • Setup will copy the necesary files to the hard drive and reboot the VM. Do not press “any key” to boot from CD when this message appears.
  • Setup will continue as if it was a “clean install”, but applications and settings will stay intact.

If you have trouble booting a virtual machine with a CD-ROM, you can change the boot delay settings. You can find these with “edit settings”, options tab, boot options. Here you can enter the desired delay time (in ms). This will give you more time to get into the BIOS of the VM and/or connect the CD to the VM. Or you can choose to let the machine boot to BIOS the next time you reboot the machine.

After you have “repaired” your Virtual Machine, check it for functionality of it’s applications and when everything is OK, delete the snapshot you made.

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2 responses to “How to change the OEM license key to VLK after P2V

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