Ticket #2784 (new enhancement)
Windows Guests fail wpa on current SLP PCs
|Reported by:||lilian||Owned by:|
Large manufactureres (e.g. Dell, HP) use Security Locked Preinstallation (SLP) OEM versions of Windows, employing codes embedded in the host BIOS to pre-activate the installation and thereby obviate the need for explicit product activation by the end user.
Section 9.13 of handbook provides information on setting certain strings in the VirtualBox bios; in some instances this may allow such activation to continue to work, even in the virtual environment. Such an approach has also been described in the user forums. However, setting the 13 available DMI strings to match the original BIOS DMI settings is *not* sufficient to allow Windows to achieve SLP activation, at least on newer machines (tested on Dell Precision T5400 workstation). It appears that more than this simple identification information is being used (possibly SLP 2.0?). Since the OEM version of Windows supplied with these machines is normally permitted to achieve activation *only* via SLP, this seems to rule out using VirtualBox to host Windows Guests on these machines, since only the appropriate OEM version of Windows will be available.
VMWare apparently has a setting:
SMBIOS.reflectHost = TRUE
which causes the BIOS of the virtual machine to reflect (some of) the strings in the host BIOS. Presumably current versions of VMWare reflect more than the basic ID strings, in order to allow SLP to continue to work when using the virtual machine.
Since the current situation seems to rule out using Windows Guests on newer corporate machines, it would appear to be a problem of some significance. Presumably it would be possible for the developers to instrument the virtual BIOS running on such a machine, in such a way that the 'reflection' needed could be determined and subsequently implemented (e.g. it might be necessary to read directly from the BIOS address space, at the original BIOS address, in addition to simply querying DMI strings).
Test environment: host = RHEL5, guest = Windows XP (64 bit), hardware = Dell Precision T5400; actual setup was vmdk of original installed raw disk (partition), although the problem should be equally applicable to a virtual disk installation. Tested on 2.0.6 and 2.1.0.