Resolving prompts to reactivate a Windows license

Some hardware changes cause Windows to be reactivated. The solution is to activate the VM in an environment, and then save it as a new template.

Reactivate the license

To reactivate the Windows license on a VM in a template
  1. Create a new environment from the VM in the template.
  2. Run the VM.
  3. Reactivate the Windows license, using the vendor’s instructions.
  4. Shut down the VM.
  5. Save the VM as a new template.
  6. Delete the old template (optional).

Why does this happen?

Every time Windows starts, it checks to see if it’s running on the same hardware on which it was installed. If Windows detects changes to the physical or virtual hardware of an environment can cause Windows to prompt you to reactivate your license. Some examples of these changes include:

  • Adding or removing RAM.
  • Adding or removing CPU cores.
  • Adding or removing virtual network adapters.
  • Adding, removing, or resizing virtual disks.
  • Changing the MAC address of a virtual network adapter.

Many of these changes can be triggered by the end user (such as changing CPU or RAM).

Some may also occur automatically. For example, the MAC address of a network adapter may change automatically when you add a VM to an environment where another VM already has the same MAC address.

Although this can be an inconvenience, if a Skytap Cloud VM has to be reactivated, there’s generally no activation penalty (Microsoft Windows activation usually doesn’t decrement an activation from your key).