Vista and disk imaging

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Tabvla

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I have seen a number of posts on other Forums where some members are reporting reactivation issues with Vista. There are some reports that if you Clone / Image the Vista disk / partition to another physical disk that when you want to boot from the Cloned disk / Imaged partition, Vista asks for reactivation.

[NOTE : This is NOT an attempt to defraud Microsoft. Many users image the system disk/partition so that they can quickly recover the system in the event of a disk failure or OS corruption.]

I have done some investigation of this potential issue on the Microsoft site and my understanding is that in the initial design Microsoft had included a reactivation requirement if the system disk ID changed. However, as a result of user-pressure this requirement was dropped from the final release and that the reactivation requirements of Vista are identical to those of XP.

Can Forum members ....

a) Advise if they have noted any issues around reactivation when changing the physical disk

b) Confirm (or not) if the reactivation requirements of Vista are the same as those of XP

TiA

.
 
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I have restored different editions of Vista from disk images created with Acronis True Image a couple of times. I have restored XP images many times. If the restore is to a physically different drive Vista needs to be re-activated. So far it has always worked via the Internet. I haven't had to call. With XP I've never had to re-activate unless there were other hardware changes involved. Note that for activation purposes hardware changes are cumulative. If you change the video card, a few months later change the NIC, then later change the hard drive, the hard drive change may cause an activation because it put you over the limit for changes. This is the same in Vista and XP. What causes activation appears to be different between XP and Vista. XP is heavily weighted towards the NIC. Vista appears to be weighted towards the hard drive but it's hard to tell at this time. It's too new. MS has had a couple of Vista updates already fixing some irregularities in the process so I'm sure it will change some more as they fine tune things.
 

Tabvla

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TechB thanks for the feedback.

I also use ATI and to date have not had an issue with XP. I have several XP disks which I use for a variety of testing purposes and can freely swap the disks (SATA trayless rack) without XP complaining. The only time XP has complained is when I changed the NIC, which correlates with your comment....
...XP is heavily weighted towards the NIC...
The following is quite absurd...

...If the restore is to a physically different drive Vista needs to be re-activated. ...
That really is a nuisance and does nothing to improve defences against illegal copying. I fully understand Microsoft's concern for protecting their products, but the item to check is the Motherboard, not the hard disk. If the MOBO changes then it is quite reasonable for the OS to require reactivation.

:mad:
 
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Tabvla said:
That really is a nuisance and does nothing to improve defences against illegal copying. I fully understand Microsoft's concern for protecting their products, but the item to check is the Motherboard, not the hard disk. If the MOBO changes then it is quite reasonable for the OS to require reactivation.
I agree it's a nuisance but it may change. There has already been at least one update to fix glitches with the activation process. I'm sure there will be more.
 

Noyb

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Interesting info ...
Any idea what happens if you have Vista installed in two (or more) physically different hard drives in the same computer ??
Then boot to either ?
 
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Noyb said:
Interesting info ...
Any idea what happens if you have Vista installed in two (or more) physically different hard drives in the same computer ??
Then boot to either ?
I haven't had any problems but I then again haven't dual booted two Vista installations since the early betas. I mostly use vm's for more than one OS now.
 

Tabvla

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I agree that VM's are a great technology for running different OS's on the same hardware.

However, if for example, using the same OS (e.g. XP) one wanted to have a normal working environment and 2 testing environments then using VM's becomes expensive because one would need a license for each VM because each VM is concurrently active on the same hardware.

A less costly (and completely legal) alternative is to create 3 environments on 3 separate hard disks and use a trayless rack (SATA only) to simply swap the environments as needed. Because only one instance of the OS is active at any given moment this method is completely within the XP EULA.

If Vista requires reactivation every time the disk is swapped this is not really within the letter or the spirit of the EULA.

(n)
 
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Tabvla said:
I agree that VM's are a great technology for running different OS's on the same hardware.

However, if for example, using the same OS (e.g. XP) one wanted to have a normal working environment and 2 testing environments then using VM's becomes expensive because one would need a license for each VM because each VM is concurrently active on the same hardware.

A less costly (and completely legal) alternative is to create 3 environments on 3 separate hard disks and use a trayless rack (SATA only) to simply swap the environments as needed. Because only one instance of the OS is active at any given moment this method is completely within the XP EULA.

If Vista requires reactivation every time the disk is swapped this is not really within the letter or the spirit of the EULA.
I use MSDN or action pack versions for the vm's to stay within the licensing terms. Not everyone can do this but if you are doing that much testing a MSDN subscription may be worth it.
 

Tabvla

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Hi RF 123

Thanks for the very interesting feedback and links.

Perhaps I am having a slow day today but even after having read through the info at the links I am still not sure of exactly what you did to "fix" the problem....
Posted by RF 123
...After performing the fix, I can boot to either HDD, without activation issues...
It would be really helpful if you could provide a little more detail. :)

Thanks

T
 
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HDD = Hard disk drive
FDD = Floppy disk drive
restart the computer = try "ctrl" "alt" and "delete" keyboard combination.

Your computer needs a FDD.
You need a Win 98 start up disk, aka Win 98 ebd [ emergency boot disk ]. You may be able to use a Win 95 ebd. I have never tried the

following with a win 95 ebd.

HDD #1 is your main HDD. [ source ]
HDD #2 is the drive to which you want to clone your data. [ destination ]

Be sure the bios boot menu / boot order is [ note, terms may vary ]
1. removable drive, FDD
2. CD
3. HDD

Clone HDD #1 to HDD #2 using Norton Ghost 2003 [ you will need the CD if you are using SATA drives ] or ATI [ Acronis True Image 10 ].
When cloning has finished, restart the computer. AS SOON AS the post screen appears, turn off your computer.
Disconnect HDD #2.
Turn on your computer. Verify that it can boot into Windows.
Turn off your computer.
Disconnect HDD #1.
Connect HDD #2. Verify that it can boot into Windows.
If it cannot, not the error.
If the error informs you that winload.exe is missing or corrupt, continue. If the error is different, report back.

Restart your computer. AS SOON AS the post screen appears, turn off your computer.
Insert the win 98 ebd.
Turn on your computer.
At the win 98 startup menu, select "start computer without CD rom support".
You will be at A:
Type: fdisk /mbr
When finished, restart the computer.
Hope for the best. :)

http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000175.htm

If you don't have a win 98 ebd, you can try a different maneuver using a Win XP CD.
You need a REAL Windows XP CD, or a slipstreamed CD [ search this forum for the steps needed to create a Win XP boot CD ].

http://forums.techguy.org/windows-nt-2000-xp/370008-solved-ntldr-missing-ctrl-alt.html#post2694418
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/.../proddocs/en-us/bootcons_fixmbr.mspx?mfr=true

Best of success.
Sincerely,
RF123
 

Tabvla

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Hi RF123

Thanks for the detailed explanation - very helpful (y)

Of course the bottom line is that none of this should be necessary. There is absolutely no benefit to Microsoft to make the system disk ID a key component of authenticity.

Another studpid idea from some over-zealous pratt that will in probabliligy be removed in some future service pack, but not before annoying about 20 million of us :(

.
 
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Hi rainforest123,

I am trying ot ghost off vista business from one sata to second sata. I tried what you told to Tabvla, but i still get the error winload.exe is missing or corrupt! plz help me out!!:(

Thank you,
Zain
 
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