After migrating a Microsoft Server 2012 vmware guest from one host to another I was confused to find that the OS on it was no longer registered/valid. This helped to change/update the software key:

Use a Multiple Activation Key instead of KMS activation:

If KMS activation will not be used, and if there is no KMS server, the product key should be changed to an MAK. For Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), or for TechNet, the stock-keeping units (SKUs) that are listed below the media are usually volume licensed-media, and the product key that is supplied is an MAK key.

Change the product key to an MAK. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start
    the Start button

    , click All Programs, click Accessories, and then right-click Command Prompt.

  2. Click Run as administrator.
    User Access Control permission

    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press Enter:
    slmgr -ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
     

    Note In this command, the placeholder xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx represents your MAK product key.

Valid for:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2

Reference: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929826#method1

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