Monday, May 13, 2013

Adding ability to vSphere 4 to run Windows 8, Windows 2012 or WinPE 4.0 (SCCM 2012 SP1 OSD)

Windows 8, 2012 and WinPE 4.0 boot-image requires specific flags from the CPU before it will boot. Unfortunately for older Pentium processors or VMware vSphere pre 5.0 update 1 these flags are either not available or not exposed from the BIOS.

To allow VMware vSphere 4 to allow booting the Windows 8 boot-image, follow the following steps:

1. Download this BIOS image or here:
2. Create a new Virtual Guest and use Windows 2008 R2 64bit (experimental) option.
3. Once the Virtual Guest have been successfully created, note the Datastore location and proceed to remove  it from Inventory (!!! DO NO DELETE IT FROM DISK !!!)
4. Go into the created Virtual Giest location in the Datastore and upload the downloaded BIOS image into it. It should on the same level as the Virtual Guest's .VMX file.
5. Download and modify the Virtual Guest's .VMX file and append the following lines:

bios440.filename = "bios.440.rom"
mce.enable = TRUE
cpuid.hypervisor.v0 = FALSE
vmGenCounter.enable = FALSE
6. Upload back the .VMX file into same location in the Datastore, overwriting the original (!!!backup the original .VMX as necessary!!!), right-click it and Add to inventory.
7. Boot your Virtual Guest with the Windows 8/2012/WinPE4.0 as needed.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

You must either run windows server 2012 setup or enter a windows server 2012 standard evaluation product key

Server Manager throws "You must either run windows server 2012 setup or enter a windows server 2012 standard evaluation product key" when attempting to activate an Evaluation version of Windows Server 2012 using a valid Product Key.

The following workaround solved the above for me:
!!!WARNING!!! Windows Product Activation on an Evaluation Edition running as a Domain Controller is *UNSUPORTED*, Demote the machine first and then run the steps below. Re-promote the machine back to Domain Controller afterwards. If this is your *ONLY* Domain Controller, this might be the right time to deploy a second unit...
  1. Run Command Prompt in Elevated Mode
  2. Run the following: "DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX /AcceptEula"
  3. DISM will request for a system restart... choose Y(es) and restart the server.
  4. After boot-up, run the following: "cscript C:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ato"
*replace XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX with the valid Product Key