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VMWare & Vista OEM


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I purchased a workstation from Dell, OptiPlex 740, that came with Windows Vista Business 32-bit that I have intended on using as a test machine in our office. I formatted the drive, installed Linux and installed VMWare. I then installed Windows Vista Business from the CD that came with the machine but I have licensing problems. The license is being rejected, I'm guessing because VMWare has its own BIOS so Windows doesn't recognize it as an OEM machine. I tried activating it online but it failed so then I tried calling the phone number and successfully activated it using the phone option. However, silly me forgot that Vista needs to re-activate every few months so now it is deactivated again. I really don't want to call up Microsoft everytime to re-active, especially if we plan on buying more licenses.

I tried using the following option in VMWare but it didn't help any:

SMBIOS.reflectHost = "TRUE"

I've done a bit of research on the subject and the only useful information I could find was using this option in VMWare:

bios440.filename = ...

Apparently this option lets you load a special BIOS, one that could emulate the OEM SLIC that VMWare is missing. So I exported the BIOS on the machine and tried using this but it doesn't work. I guess VMWare needs a special BIOS because the size is wrong.

BIOS "OptiPlex740.rom" has unexpected file size...

Has anyone gotten the OEM installs working on VMWare? Whats the magic trick to solve this problem?

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