NCguy, it's called TechNet inertia. Changes seem to break everything MS touches so they will probably leave it alone...
Oh well, I will just use the "enterprise" copy of the software for this type of testing purposes. With 5 keys for Pro and multiple activates per key, I shouldn't have any issues.
Hi there pparks1
How about creating a Base VM (or "Reference VM") with nothing special installed apart from Windows Default.
Use this as "The activated version".
Now "Clone" this VM to another VM and build the VM you want for your testing.
You might get "Hardware has changed - Please Activate Windows -- now see if you get 3 or 30 or whatever number of days.
If you get a few days grace before you have to activate then this should work just like you did it before. The trick is to keep a "Standard Reference" VM which you use as a model for your Test VM builds.
Incidentally does the Enterprise version actually require an Internet connection to activate when you enter the product key via the slmgr command. I believe it just activates anyway -- normally these versions look for a KMS server which I don't have available which is presumably why it didn't activate normally but entering a valid product key achieves the same object.
I should have tested this by disconnecting from the Internet - but I forgot. !!
I have done activations over the phone before for systems not connected to the internet (secure networks) and, while it works, it's not fun. I have never had a problem getting that to work but then I have also never tried it with Windows 8. There is (or was) a step-by-step process the system will walk you through - ultimately you get a code back from the system and you're directed to call a number (based on your location), enter the code you got from the system, and then enter the characters you get back from Microsoft (on the phone) to complete the activation.
It's not fun, as I said, and we stopped doing it in favor of allowing communications between the secure network and our corporate KMS for the prupose of activation. Making a phone call every time we install another machine on a secure network is just not practical but for one or two machines it's OK.
Out of the box Enterprise didn't ask for a key; presumably it will look for a KMS, like Windows 7 Enterprise does. If there is no KMS or you want to use a MAK key then you need to "install" that key. I did that and then the systems shows as "activated" - I didn't need to manually activate it once I entered the product key using slmgr.vbs. (At least in Win8 Enterprise there is no "change my product key" link on the Control Panel like there is in Win7 Enterprise. I don't know if Pro behaves the same way.)
You can get the change product key button back if you run slmgr.vbs -upk (uninstall product key).
I haven't tried the Pro version yet, but I read that it does have a change product key option...and you also need to input a legit key to even install it in the first place.
Yeah, since Enterprise is for VL customers it's likely they'll have a KMS set up, and the product will activate automatically (once the threshold is reached, anyway). Without a connection to a KMS you can use a VL key but my experience, at least with Win2008 R2, is that even with the VLK you need an internet connection for activation (unless you want to do the telephone activation). My memory may be a bit faulty on that last point (I think we entered a VLK before we did the phone activation but maybe it was during that process).