A place for info I've learnt in IT & stuff. (I get a little kick back from affiliate ads & links, just so you are aware)

Browsing Posts tagged Server 2008

Most of the content I use for webcasts and live events have virtual machines that have been created either by someone on my team or by someone at Microsoft corporate. The virtual machines are not created with trial versions of the operating system but with fully licensed product. For obvious reasons they are not activated, so when I first boot up I usually get a message saying the machine has to be activated within a few days. Sometimes though, the machines have past the activation grace period and will not log on unless they are activated NOW!! This can be somewhat annoying because most of the time I only need the machines for a demonstration the following week, maybe for the next month or so, and I don’t want to use one of my product keys for such a short term machine life. So what can I do?

The first thing I do with machines that are requiring immediate activation is simply turn them off. I then change my host machine date back to a date closer to when the virtual machines were originally created and boot them up one more time. Now the virtual machine thinks my date is kosher and is within the activation grace period, and lets me logon. That’s great but the date is wrong and I need to access the internet with the host as well as do my demos, and having a wrong date causes issues. Never fear, one of the things we can do with Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (actually this works with Windows Vista and Windows 7 as well), is re-arm the machine and extend the activation grace period another 60 days.

So How’s This Done?

Simple… all we need to do is run a script in the windows\system32 folder called slmgr.vbs. Check the steps below:

Bring up a Command Prompt.
Type slmgr.vbs –rearm, and press ENTER.
Restart the computer.

You computer has now extended the evaluation period 60 days!!! You can re-arm up to 3 times giving you an activation-free trial period of a total of 240 days!!
How Much Time Is Remaining in the Evaluation Period

You can find out by running the same script this time with different switch:

Type slmgr.vbs -dli, and the current status of the evaluation period is displayed. (the dli switch means – display license information)

If you want to find out what else you can do with the script type slmgr.vbs –? and you’ll get a full list and explanation of all the switches.

I did install it without entering a product key. I actually found the solution to my problem. When you run a default install of Windows 2008, it defaults to a KMS-based installation and what it will attempt to auto activate off of is a Key Management Server, not the Microsoft key management servers. I actually didn’t install using a MAK key like I thought as it didn’t actually ever ask me for a serial key. Anyway, to disable the auto activation key after Windows is installed, you just need to change the following registry key:

Disable automatic activation
Automatic Activation can be disabled using this registry setting.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SL\Activation
Create or modify a DWORD value named Manual and set the value data to 1


If you put the sysvol on a separate drive when AD was setup, that will be there. Otherwise it should be in the Windows directory in path above.

This is related to Vista but this fix worked on Server 2008 RC 2 where I was having the issue.

Default Gateway of in Vista

Strange one just occurred – woke up my machine from sleep, and plugged in the various cables in no particular order. Everything looked good, except no network access. Could ping the local network (including the gateway), but nothing outside of that. Everyone else on the same subnet was seeing external IPs just fine.

A quick investigation with IPConfig showed that I had two default gateways, once with the correct address but another with an address of And it was the one that was first in the list.

No idea where it came from – Vista does use that address if you are using dial-up networking, but I wasn’t (although my mobile was plugged in through USB to charge it, so perhaps it is related in someway). Anyhow – that was clearly the problem, so it was just a case of getting rid of the rogue gateway address.

Tried “ipconfig /renew”. Tried “ipconfig /release” then “ipconfig /renew”. Tried unplugging network cables, mobile phones etc. No luck. Reboot was looking likely. Last attempt was to use netsh. Success 🙂

For those of you who may get stuck in a similar situation, here’s the netsh rune that you need to cast:

netsh interface ipv4 delete address “Local Area Connection”
addr=a.b.c.d gateway=

where a.b.c.d is your local IP address. netsh can do just about anything to your local network config – well worth some exploration if you’re *really* bored.

Unlike with previous versions of Windows Server–in which you could disable Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration by removing the component in Add/Remove Programs, Windows Components–the Windows Server 2008 implementation of Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration is configured through Server Manager.

Select the root of the Service Manager navigation pane, and under the Server Summary click Configure IE ESC, which is part of the Security Information section. A dialog box appears, letting Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration be enabled/disable separately for normal users and administrators.

You have to install the Desktop Experience feature, then you will be able to find the option in Personalize option.