Server 2008 activation with VAMT

Activating a windows server 2008 machine in a isolated network can be a bit tricky, when you have an isolated test environment with copies of your production machines running in your vSphere environment.

You certainly do not want them to come into contact with your production environment. So temporarily placing them in de main network, is not an option. You could place an ISA server firewall, with only http acces for the servers and activate them with a MAK key. But what if this is not an option either.

How do you activate a windows server 2008 machine when you don’t have internet acces or a KMS server in your isolated network.

You can activate them via proxy with the help of the VAMT snap-in.

First you will have to download and install VAMT. You can download this from the microsoft download center. You will have to install VAMT onto a server in your isolated network as well as on a machine in your production network, with internet access. The latter can be your own workstation. These machines need at least .net 2.0. You will also need MAK keys instead of KMS keys, because the KMS version will want to reactivate every once in a while.

n.b VAMT will not work correctly on a machine with a komma for a decimal seperator. Choose English (US) as a language.

You will also need a way to get the information from the VAMT generated files back and forth between your isolated network and your workstation. In VI 3.5 this was easy, since clipboard copy paste of text was enabled by default on your VM’s. From vSphere 4.1 and up, this is no longer the case. You have to enable this seperately, when you want to use this (VMware KB). To do this you have to shut down the machine on wich you want to enable this. Then “edit settings” go to “options”, “advanced”, “general” and click “configuration parameters” and add two rows:

  • isolation.tools.copy.disable – false
  • isolation.tools.paste.disable – false

Execution

    • Open the VAMT console
    • Add the MAK licences to “Product keys”.
    • Add the the names of the machines you want to activate to “All Products”.
    • Update the status of these machines to check their current  status. (Rightclick the machines and click  “update status”)
    • Select “Volume Activation Management Tool” and click “save list”, Give the list a recognisonable name, f.i. “isolation1.CIL”)
    • Select the machines you want to activate.
    • Rightclick and choose “Install Product key”.
    • Choose the right Product key for your machines and close the window after the keys are applied.
    • Select “Volume Activation Management Tool” and click “save list” (“isolation1.CIL”).
    • Select the machines again and click “save list as”.

    • Give the file a different name, f.i. “isolation1ID.CIL”
    • Check “export only Installation ID en Product ID” en “save only currently selected information”.
    • Click save.
    • Open the file with notepad and select the content.
    • Copy this to a notepad file on your machine with internet access and save this file with the same name, “isolation1ID.CIL”
    • Open the VAMT console on this machine
    • Open the saved file, “isolation1ID.CIL”.
    • The machines you want to activate will be listed under “status unknown”.
    • Select the machine and rightclick them, choose “Activate by proxy” and close the window when the confirmation ID’s are deposited.
    • Select the machines again and choose “save list as”.
    • Give the file a different name, “isolation1IDandCID.CIL” and check “save only currently selected information”.
    • Click save.
    • Open the file with notepad and select the content.
    • Copy this to a notepad file on your isolated machine and save this file with the same name, “isolation1IDandCID.CIL”.
    • Open the VAMT snapin and open the first file, “isolation1.CIL”.
    • Import “isolation1IDandCID.CIL”.
    • Select the machines you want to activate, rightclick and choose “Apply Confirmation ID”.

  • The machines are now activated.
  • Close the window and select “Volume Activation Management Tool” and click “save list”.

When you reinstall the machines you can use the same CID to activate them, using “Local reactivation”. This way no extra activations will be counted toward your MAK.

It’s a little more work this way than it was for windows server 2003, but once you have everything setup, it’s real easy….

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