Dude, what’s my PID?

Howdy all and happy holidays!

I’m currently prepping for the long haul of writing a 1100+ page book over the next six months.  I’ve got a big Dell server on order, am building VMs like crazy, setting up my portable apps, and figuring out which machine will run what.

To that end, I had a bunch of VMs that I built over the last year to do SharePoint Saturday presentations.  I had built them over the course of several months, for this reason and that.  Today, after resetting one of the VMs to it’s last snapshot, it prompted me to reset it’s activation.

Now, I have several technet subscriptions (as well as Action Pack and MSDN).  Each one is intended to be used for a different project or reason.  Therefore, all of my VMs for presentation and book writing should be all using a certain technet subscription’s PIDs.

Just to check before I activated the VM again, I wanted to see what PID was used for that machine.  I downloaded Belarc Advisor, a tool I’ve used for a decade to keep track of my PIDs and software.  Great little program.

Didn’t work on server 2008 R2.  It seems, as time has passed, Windows has started, reasonably, to encrypt it’s keys, making Belarc useless as an OS PID resource.  Same thing with Magical Jelly Bean, another great PID finder resource.

So.  How does one go about figuring out what activation key they used with a particular server?

I’m not sure.  What I did was use slmgr at the command line.  If you use:

slmgr /dlv

It will bring up a report of your activation status with the last five digits of the key displayed.  That at least let me check the product keys available on my accounts and discover that I’d originally activated this VM with the wrong key (according to how I want to manage activating my VMs).


Now I don’t find the slmgr option to be optimal, but for now I haven’t found a better, free, option for finding out which machine is using what PID, never mind having a convenient report to archive.

But hey, at least no one is going to be able to sneak into your registry and copy your PID any more.  I am sure you will now sleep better knowing your PID is safe….

About cacallahan

Old skool server grrl. Written about server 2003, 2003 R2, etc. Did Windows Server presentations at conferences like Windows Connections, worked as a presenter for the TechNet Briefings security tour in 2004, contributed to books like Mastering Windows 2003 and Windows Vista, The Missing Manual. Got sucked into the SharePoint craze back in 2006, and have not been able to escape. Wrote "Mastering Windows SharePoint Services 3.0" and the followup "Mastering Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010." Currently wandering around the world, speaking at user groups, SharePoint Saturdays, and various conferences about SharePoint Foundation administration...
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