The following blog post was originally written by Dell OS engineers Syama Poluri and Gong Wang

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IT professionals know that using Dell OEM media to install Microsoft Windows on Dell PowerEdge systems comes with the benefit of automatic activation of the Operating System (without the need for a product key).  However, many might not know that this OEM activation process is different for Microsoft operating systems hosted by Hyper-V.

When using Dell OEM media to install a Microsoft guest OS on a virtual machine, the activation code included with the Dell OEM media no longer works in that virtual environment.  Instead, a virtual product key is needed to activate the guest OS.

The whitepaper linked below explains the step-by-step process for creating a pre-activated master virtual machine image.  Once that master virtual image is created, it can then be deployed to multiple virtual machines and each instance will be activated automatically. For the most part, the process of using Dell OEM media to install a guest OS is the same for both Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

To read the full whitepaper, please visit the Automatic Windows OS Activation in Hyper-V wiki page on Dell TechCenter linked below:

Installing Virtual Machines on Dell PE servers using Dell OEM Media