Get a Confirmation ID to activate Windows 2003 Standard OEM on Hyper-V


  • We're in a bit of a sticky mess. 

    We have two old physical instances of Windows Server 2003, one Standard, one Enterprise.  Both of these are critical to our LOB, and upgrading to newer hardware and OS isn't an option, since that would entail upgrading our ERP and other systems as well.  The amount of money required to upgrade two servers and our critical applications simply isn't available. 

    We're trying to recreate these as virtual machines using Hyper-V Server 2012, but when we log into the VM we are required to activate Windows.  Online activation doesn't work, and phone activation doesn't work either.  I was told by MS that since Server 2003 is no longer supported, none of the techs can resolve this for me via telephone. 

    Any suggestions?

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017 7:29 PM

All replies

  • Activation will be forced because too much of the hardware changed when the machine was moved into a VM.

    The fact that you cannot activate Server 2003 is not a technical problem, it is a MSFT support problem.

    You could convert the VMs using some P2V conversion utility, but you will still run into the activation issue.

    The best you could probably do is install new Server 2003 VMs, patch them to the exact same level as the physical servers, take a server backup of the physical servers, apply this server backup to the VMs.

    This is what we did 10+ years ago to P2V into VMs (Server 2000, 2003, NT4, event 3.51).  We used the features of the OS - and treated it as if we had to restore the server to new hardware, since there were really no conversion tools for Windows at the time.

    Brian Ehlert
    Learn. Apply. Repeat.

    Thursday, March 30, 2017 3:23 PM
  • You also mentioned OEM in title. Generally OEM licenses are tied to the hardware they came with so there may also be legal issues.



    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows Server] Datacenter Management

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees, and confers no rights.

    Thursday, March 30, 2017 3:36 PM
  • To be fair, OEM keys from most major manufacturers couldn't activate in a Hyper-V instance even when 2003 was still in support. Those OEM keys were disabled at the online activation center from the start because their accompanying media has routines to detect the BIOS and bypass activation when appropriate.

    You'll need a retail key and retail media to get around this. You can run an "upgrade" install over the top of your OEM install.

    Eric Siron
    Altaro Hyper-V Blog
    I am an independent contributor, not an Altaro employee. I accept all responsibility for the content of my posts. You accept all responsibility for any actions that you take based on the content of my posts.

    Friday, March 31, 2017 12:35 AM
  • Hi,

    In general, as OEM OS version, it is recommended to re-install using recovery/installation media which is provided by OEM. 

    Also, system is always pre-installed/pre-activated, key relate information is usually burned to motherboard. If you want to re-place the main hardware(re-install it as virtual machine), it might broke the “internal mechanisms” and causing problem.

    If it better to contact the OEM provider/supporter to confirm the details.

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

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    Friday, March 31, 2017 7:06 AM
  • Hi,

    How things are going there on this issue?

    Please let me know if you would like further assistance.

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact

    Thursday, April 6, 2017 5:43 AM