HP Windows 2008 R2 ROK on ESXi

I recently ran into a situation where a customer of mine had purchased a new HP Proliant server with a Windows Server 2008 R2 ROK license (Reseller Option Kit). This specific customer is using the Proliant as part of their virtual infrastructure, so naturally the server has VMware ESXi Server installed on it. The issues arose when the customer tried to install and activate Server 2008R2 in a virtual machine.  Since the install of Windows Server does not recognize the hardware as a HP Proliant server, licensing will not succeed. This is one of the gotcha’s when using the (Reseller Option Kit) install. Windows Server 2008 R2 ROK licensing is tied to the server by means of the BIOS. Fortunately for us there is a simple solution. A parameter can be set on the virtual machine so that it thinks it is running on real hardware. Below is the procedure for a ESXi virtual machine.

Note: This method has been successfully tested on both Windows Server 2008 x86/x64 and Windows Server 2008 R2 x86/x64

First you need to ensure the virtual machine is shut down in order to make this change. Next, navigate go to Edit Settings > Options > General and select “Configuration Parameters”. Lastly, add a row and paste “smbios.reflecthost” as the name, and set the value to “true” as seen below.  There you have it, Windows will now activate!


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