demigodmac
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Window 10's "free" upgrade and Fusion/Bootcamp - Activation issue

Installed Windows 10 EFI in Bootcamp mode successfully and upgraded+activated (upgraded from Win8.1 Pro), then did a clean install.  Still activated.  All good.

But after setting it up in Fusion and booting successfully, it broke activation.  Windows refused to re-activate in both environments after that, saying the product key was invalid or blocked.

Thankfully I was able to use WinClone to bring my activated copy back for Bootcamp/EFI mode, but now I can't use Fusion without breaking activation.

In the past I would activate Windows over the internet in Bootcamp and by the telephone method for Fusion, but the "free" upgrade thwarts that strategy.

Any advice, or is this a known issue?

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5 Replies
mntnbighker
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I don't use bootcamp, but I have similar issues with Fusion 7 and Win10. I was successful updating Win8.1 to Win10 with the ISO image, and after the update I could do a full reset. The activation remained valid. Then I created a fresh VM and performed a clean Win10 install. I cloned the MAC address from the original VM, but I suspect there is either a GUID buried in the VM BIOS somewhere, or else my fresh VM was subtly different enough in some other way, that the MS server decided it was different "hardware". It would be nice if VMware could shed some light/guidance for people wanting to start fresh with Win10. MS claims that once you have successfully updated Win7 or Win8 to Win10 (for free), you can reinstall from scratch on the same hardware and the server will re-issue your activated key for you. They are going away from us handling or seeing the key, even though it continues to exist. But VMware is a special case obviously. I have tried "slmgr.vbs /ato", and I have only waited less than a day, so there is still a chance it will eventually activate. But I'm guessing I will have to go back to my "upgraded and reset" VM image.

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0mshirtcliff0
Contributor
Contributor

I've got a ticket open with VMware support but don't think this will be resolvable as the issue appears to be around the Windows 10 upgrade activation see my test steps below. I should point out i have no issues getting activated in each location (bootcamp native and accessed via fusion) one time, once i boot back into another method it breaks and does not reactivate, this is the same with clean install after getting the first activation via upgrade or on top of a activated Win7 or Win 8.1 install.

I suspect i will need to try and get a Win10 key from MS activations but do not like my chances.

Test 1.

Windows 8.1 installed into bootcamp and activated, upgrade to windows 10 in bootcamp and still activated.

Reboot still activated

Boot to OSX and open via fusion and allow vmtools to install and reboot, not activated - activation failure.

restart as bootcamp native, no longer activated - activation failure

Test 2.

Clean install of Windows 10 into bootcamp without specifying key and activated ok based on previous activation record.

Reboot still activated

Boot to OSX and open via fusion, not activated - activation failure.

Boot to OSX and open via fusion and allow vmtools to install and reboot, not activated - activation failure.

restart as bootcamp native, no longer activated - activation failure

Test 3.

Windows 8.1 installed into bootcamp and activated

Reboot still activated

Boot to OSX and open via fusion and allow vmtools to install and reboot, not activated - activation success.

Reboot still activated

Upgrade to windows 10 in Fusion and still activated.

Reboot still activated

restart as bootcamp native, not activated - activation resolves itself

Reboot still activated

Boot to OSX and open via fusion, not activated - activation failure.

restart as bootcamp native, no longer activated - activation failure

Test 4.

having had successful activation via upgrade in both bootcamp and fusion clean install of Windows 10 is then attempted, and again everything looks fine in bootcamp and fusion on first run, subsequent boots into bootcamp and then fusion again break activation.

Also the activation documentation for office does not work. install and activate in bootcamp works, install vmware tools in fusion and activate works, again activation is lost when swapping.

VMware KB: Activating Windows when swapping between Boot Camp and a virtual machine in VMware Fusion

Would like a support statement from VMware of this rather than waste anymore time reinstalling...

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SKasai
Contributor
Contributor

I believe the issue right now is related to how Microsoft is handling the Win 10 upgrade, which is the intention of a 'single' activation based on the hardware.  Once you attempt to activate again with VMWare, it is considered a 'bad attempt' and is automatically blocked as it was only intended to be a free upgrade once and VMWare is considered a 2nd install of the same assigned product key for that windows.

So this means Microsoft will need to be pulled into this to not auto block/invalidate the key for users who have a retail version of their OS being placed on boot camp and then also accessed via VMWare.

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jim_gill
Expert
Expert

Yes -- there is something going on with the upgrade of Win7/Win8 Boot Camp installs to Windows 10. It's breaking under VMware Fusion, and it's breaking under Parallels, and it has to do with the way Microsoft is handling the activation.

I just got off the phone with a Microsoft support tech. She verified that my product ID was valid for activation and she explained that the activation servers are under a great load at this time. She tells me that, if I leave my machine on, it will activate automatically. I see a posting on the Parallels forums that this happened (today) for a customer who had this problem and their VM just activated and is now working in both modes. (While I was talking with the rep, I did mention Fusion and Boot Camp but I don't think she's familiar with the product.)

I'm sorry for all the trouble people are having. I'm going to leave my Boot Camp VM on all weekend to see if, as the rep claims, it will activate. I'll post again sooner if it does activate.

By the way, this is happening only with the Windows 10 free upgrade and Boot Camp -- on Windows release day I installed a full retail copy of Windows 10 into my Boot Camp partition, brought it into a VM and reactivated via phone call, and the system stayed activated as I switched between the two modes multiple times. Not that it helps you all, but I wanted to mention it.

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demigodmac
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Good news: I was able to fix this by buying an OEM license to Windows 10 Pro, clean installed, activated over the internet on Bootcamp and by phone on Fusion.  It's working beautifully.

Bad News: I'm out $140.  Thanks Microsoft!

Like the poster above said, there is probably no solution to this due to how Microsoft handled the upgrade method.

So if you want to upgrade to Windows 10 and continue using Bootcamp and Fusion together, better open up your wallet.

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