View Composer failed to activate Windows 7
I’m currently building a small View environment for a customer (100 Desktops) where a small provisioning problem came up. I have created an automated pool and during the provisioning process, I got the following error message:
View composer agent initialization error (16): Failed to activate software license
This happens if you use Linked Clones with View Composer (Quickprep) because Windows 7/8/Vista requires a Microsoft volume activation. There are 2 ways for volume activation: Multiple Activation Key (MAK) or KMS (Key Management Service).
View Composer (Quickprep) only supports KMS as an activation method so you need a KMS Server in your Infrastructure. The Composer agent tries to activate the Windows copy through the KMS but in my case we didn’t have any Microsoft licenses because the project was in a PoC state.
What can be done to get this PoC up and running?
There are 2 registry settings on the system where the View agent is installed (usually the Golden Master) to solve this problem.
Open the Registry Editor and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\vmware-viewcomposer-ga. There you can find the following entries:
AllowActivateMAKLicense – The default value for this is 0. If you change this to 1, you can use MAK keys. I prefer to use this setting only for non-production environments like PoC because every recompose will increase the MAK license count.
SkipLicenseActivation – The default value for this is also 0. Change this to 1 and the Composer agent does not try to activate the license against a KMS Server.
If you have changed one of these settings and do an update of the View agent, they will return to their default values.
I used SkipLicenseActivation for the PoC and it works like a charm.