EDIT: 2011/04/14 – I’m working on another method of doing this since it appears that this only works sporadically or no longer works as written. I will update this post if I can figure out where the disconnect / issues are.
I’ve been experimenting with creating a good Windows Server 2008 R2 template for VMware vSphere 4 and wondered just how many times Microsoft would allow an activation on the same MSDN license key (Multiple Activation) for the OS. I often deploy multiple servers at a time and am always fearful of activating since I don’t want the key to be shut off. Typically I only run these servers for short periods of time so not activating is no big deal, however in longer running projects I often have no choice but to either activate or destroy and redeploy. With information that I’ve come across on the Internet, I’ve managed to consolidate a method that does not break the Windows Server 2008 activation, while still sysprep’ing and generating a new SID.
This process can be used for other virtualized environments as well I’m sure, but in this case I created it for VMware vSphere.