Shrink your VMWare, Virtual Server or Virtual PC Virtual Machines (VMs) images

Once in awhile I use a product and like it enough to tell the world. has created one – Invirtus VM Optimizer 2.5.

This product is simply amazing. I bring a Virtual Server 2005 R2 Virtual Machine Domain Controller to my classes. Before using this product it was almost 16 GB, after it was "Optimized" it was almost 50% of the size and it was indeed faster, just like the marketing says it should be. Funny that, marketing that works.

I sent them an email and told them how much I love the product. They have a referral program and I signed up for it (they give away a free t-shirts for referrals, yeah), but you the reader of my blog can use this discount code to save on this wonderful product – RF09A30 will give you a 30% discount! Nice 30% off.

That about sums it up, great product, works as advertised. Remember to use Discount Code RF09A30 for a 30% discount.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Microsoft’s VML problem


For a better definition of VML You can stop VML, though this is not really a fix but a very good band-aid:


Start – Run ->

regsvr32 -u "%CommonProgramFiles%\Microsoft Shared\VGX\vgx.dll"


More from Microsoft on the matter –

How to change your Volume License (VL) key with Windows Server 2003 or R2

Recently I wanted to install R2 on a Volume License copy of Windows Server 2003. When I tried our R2 key the system denied that the key was valid and would not install. Darn it, what key did they use to install? How can I tell? Q article 889713 gave me the clue (though this is not for R2, I will explain in a minute)


To find your current PID:

1.      Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.

2.       On the General tab, the PID appears in the Registered to box.

Standard Edition 32 bit retail


Standard Edition 32 bit volume licensing


Standard Edition R2, 32 bit volume licensing


Standard Edition 32 bit  OEM


Enterprise Edition 32 bit retail


Enterprise Edition 32 bit volume licensing


Enterprise Edition R2, 32 bit volume licensing


Enterprise Edition 32 bit OEM



Now that you know what you currently have, let’s change it to the correct VL Key. Q article 328874 explains how to do it for XP, but the same holds true for any version of 2003 –



To change you’re current PID:

1.      Click Start, and then click Run.

2.      In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.

3.      In the left pane, locate and then click the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Current Version\WPAEvents.

4.      In the right pane, right-click OOBETimer, and then click Modify.

5.       Change at least one digit of this value to deactivate Windows. This is key, modify the first one to AA, make sure you know what it was originally – you will need it in for step 12. Leave regedit open.

6.       Click Start, and then click Run.

7.       In the Open box, type the following command, and then click OK. %systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a

8.       Click Yes, I want to telephone a customer service representative to activate Windows, and then click Next.

9.       Click Change Product key.

10.   Type the new product key (I would use the new R2 key) in the New key boxes, and then click Update. When you get to the previous window, close product activation.

11.   Return to regedit. In the left pane, locate and then click the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Current Version\WPAEvents. If not currently open.

12.   Change the first digits back to what you noted in step 5.

13.   Close regedit.

14.   Click Start, and then click Run.

15.   In the Open box, type the following command, and then click OK. %systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a

16.   This time it should say you are already activated, click OK.


You can now install R2 without having to type in a new key and it will work nicely.

Read your cluster log live with SMS Trace

This past week in my class Jim Thyne from Thomas H. Lee Partner, L.P. gave me a great tip. He is an MCT that teaches SMS, but please don’t hold that against him. Microsoft now has a free utility that can read live logs, it’s called SMS Trace.

 Go to and download the .exe.

Run SMS2003Toolkit2.exe and it will expand a few folders and create SMS2003Toolkit2.msi.

1.       Run SMS2003Toolkit2.msi.

2.       On the SMS 2003 Toolkit 2 page click Next.

3.       On the License agreement page select I accept the license agreement and click Next.

4.       On the Selected Components page:

Common Tools = Run locally (default) The common tools are all you really need.

Server Tools = Do not install

Advanced Client Tools = Do not install

Legacy Client Tools = Do not install

5.       Leave the Installation folder: at the default C:\Program Files\SMS 2003 Toolkit 2\ and click Next.

6.       On the Setup Complete page click Finish.

Now that it’s installed, time to use it.

1.       Launch SMS Trace from Start, All Programs, SMS 2003 Toolkit 2, and then SMS Trace.

2.       On the SMS Trace dialog box click Yes.

3.       On the SMS Trace menu select File, Open and navigate to C:\WINDOWS\Cluster and click on C:\WINDOWS\Cluster\Cluster.log and then click Open.

4.       Scroll through the log, it’s really not too bad. Scroll to the bottom, fail a resource and watch what happens in the logs. Notice the color of warning and errors.

Thanks Jim, I love free tools that work great!!