Posts Tagged ‘windows’

Trial MS SQL 2008 to Standard/Enterprise/Etc Edition

February 15th, 2012 No comments

I recently configured an SQL Server which we ran in trial to make sure it was what we wanted, after we had tested everything the decision was made to purchase the license. Given tight time frames we were hoping to be able to just get the license key and plug it into the Upgrade Wizard and everything would be sweet. Sadly not the case. We received an OPL from Microsoft, but when you access the licensing portal that doesn’t contain the key because its embedded in the ISO which you can download.

I gave MS Licensing a call and to cut a long story short, they couldn’t provide me with the key and said my only option was to install a new Server. While this was an option it was a long way from my preferred one, due to time and Budget restraints.

I did a bit of reading, and found that to get your CD key if you have an OPL version you can run the installer and it shows you the key when you get to the licence key section of the install. I haven’t tested whether you can do this on the live box without incurring downtime, but I have tested it on another dev box, and I was able to retrieve the key and upgrade successfully.

I’m not sure why the upgrade option is included in the trial if its not a supported option.


UPDATE – Tried to update the key on a Trial machine which had DB’s restored onto it, couldn’t put the key in, got the error please verify the key you are using etc…  However if you mount the ISO the run the upgrade from the ISO it will add the key into the machine, without any down time to the environment that I could see.  I have used this method on two installations and both worked successfully.

Categories: Microsoft Tags: , , ,

Creating a Bootable USB key for ESXi 4.1

October 6th, 2011 1 comment

I know I’m probably a bit behind the times here, given that v5 is already out, but I haven’t done my VCP4 exam yet so I’m still going through the motions for configuring my home lab.  Given I didn’t purchase CD/DVD drives for my lab machines and I haven’t set up a PXE environment yet, though I have plans to do this in the near future, I needed another way to set up the two boxes.  There are lot of examples of how this is done around the interwebs, I tried two methods, both work, though I needed a few modifications to the Windows option. The original information is linked below.


The Linux Option –

For those of you running a derivation of linux the follow instructions worked for me.  NOTE – these instructions are taken from Vallard’s Tech Notes, so credit is due there. 

Things you’ll need –

  • ESXi iso, available from VMware
  • A USB key (at least 512mb, though I don’t even think you can buy these anymore)
  • Linux Box (I used a Ubuntu 10.04 Server)
Steps –
  • Make a mount point and mount the ESXi iso.
mkdir /media/ISO
mount -o loop VMware-VMvisor-Installer-4.1.0.update1-348481.x86_64.iso /media/ISO
  • Make the USB bootable with a Win95 image.  You will need to check where the USB stick has been attached (mine was /dev/sdb)
fdisk /dev/sdb
d (delete all partitions)
n # new partition
p # primary partition
1 # 1 is the partition number.
1 # the first cylinder
<enter> # the size of the partition, I just used the full disk
a # toggle bootable flag
1 # make partition 1 bootable
t # change the type
1 # of partition 1
b # partition type W95 FAT32
w # write it out
  • Next we need to format the disk
mkfs.vfat -n BOOT -F 32 /dev/sdb1
  • Using syslinux we make the disk bootable
syslinux -s /dev/sdb1
dd if=/usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sdb # this on in the disk itself (sdb) not the partition (sdb1)
  • Mount the USB and copy the ISO contents to the disk
mkdir /media/USB
mount /dev/sdb1 /media/USB
cp /media/ISO/* -R /media/USB
  • We don’t need the isolinux stuff…
rm -rf isolinux.bin
mv isolinux.cfg syslinux.cfg

The Windows Option –

For those running Windows the following worked for me.  This is largely taken from VMPros, though there was also some input from others with regards to the errors I received.

Things you’ll need –

  • ESXi iso from VMware
  • USB memory key
  • Windows Box
  • UNetBootin
  • Syslinux (I got it from Softpedia, but there are lots of other places)


Steps –

  • Connect the USB and start the UNetBootin software
  • Select Disk Image (towards the bottom), choose ISO, and browse to the location of the ESXi ISO
  • Confirm the USB Drive is selected as the destination, and that the correct USB drive is selected.
  • Click OK, and if you should receive an error click Yes to overwrite.
  • This got me as far as a USB disk that was bootable, however when I tried to install I received an error about  menu.c32 is not a COM32R image.  To get around this I had to copy the menu.c32 and mboot.c32 files from syslinux and replace the existing ones on the disk.  These files are located in the syslinux\com32\menu and \mboot folders.

The rest…

Which ever method you used we now have the problem of the ESXi installer looking for the CD, why… I don’t know.. but it will.  To get around this we need to use a scripted install.  Scripted installs are done using kickstart (originally from linux I’m told).  Though the ks.cfg files between Linux/ESXi aren’t compatible with each other.

First we need to tell the Installer to check the USB disk for the ks.cfg file.   A network location can also be used, but for what we are trying to achieve, we’ll use the USB.  Edit the syslinux.cfg file and add in the ks=usb section of the append vmkboot.gz line shown below.

append vmkboot.gz ks=usb --- vmkernel.gz --- sys.vgz --- cim.vgz --- ienviron.vgz --- install.vgz

And create the kickstart file ks.cfg

rootpw YourRootPasswordHere
autopart --firstdisk --overwritevmfs
install usb
network --bootproto=static --ip=<ip here> --gateway=<gateway here> --hostname=ssv-normandy --device=vmnic0 --nameserver=<nameserver here> --netmask=<netmask here>

And yes the host name is after the SSV-Normandy from Mass Effect… Love that game, but change it to whatever floats your boat.


Initially I was hoping to be able to target another USB stick for the installation, however this is not possible in ESXi 4, it is possible in ESXi 5 though.


Vallard’s Tech Notes
VM Pros
VMware KBs

Categories: ESXi, VMware Tags: , , , , , ,