I just started using Oracle’s VirtualBox for the first time this past weekend. Shortly after creating my first Virtual Machine with a Windows 7 guest, I created a clone just to test out this functionality. I was surprised to find out that within the clone, Windows 7 had to be re-activated. After doing some digging, I found a pretty simple way to create VMs so that the clones do not require a second activation. See the instructions after the break.
Warning: Following these steps may violate your license agreement with Microsoft. In many cases, you are only permitted to install a single copy of Windows on at most one machine. I believe this includes virtual machines. Please consult your sales representative to ensure you that are in compliance with your license agreement.
How to create a VirtualBox VM so that a clone does not require re-activation of Windows.
1. Create a new Virtual Machine for Windows 7. Do no install the operating system just yet!
2. Locate the vbox file of the VM you just created.
3. Open the file in a text editor and locate the “Machine uuid”. In the example below, see that the machine uuid is “02f110e7-369a-4bbc-bbe6-6f0b6864ccb6“.
Typically when you clone a VM, a new machine uuid is generated. It is this change in the machine uuid that will cause Windows to change from an activated state to a non-activated state. In the next few steps, you will generate a new uuid that will not change when a VM is cloned. Thus, Windows will remain activated in each of the clones.
4. Use one of the following sites to generate a new uuid:
For this tutorial, I generated the uuid of “dbc5316a-2600-4d6e-8964-a07f3de5ded8“.
5. Open a command prompt and execute the following statement:
C:Program FilesOracleVirtualBoxvboxmanage modifyvm <machine uuid from the vob file> –hardwareuuid <the new uuid you generated>
In my example, the statement looks like this:
C:Program FilesOracleVirtualBoxvboxmanage modifyvm 02f110e7-369a-4bbc-bbe6-6f0b6864ccb6 –hardwareuuid dbc5316a-2600-4d6e-8964-a07f3de5ded8
6. Open the vbox file and verify that a new hardware “version 2” uuid was created:
You can now install Windows on your VM as normal. Once you activate Windows in your VM, you will be able to clone the VM and Windows will still be activated in the clone. Thus, you won’t have to perform a second windows activation.