VMware OEM Bios Fix!

We’ve had a huge headache at work because all our testing machines use a custom OEM bios. This allows MS Windows and SQL activations to happen transparently. Dell does this, and it is incredibly convenient when you are their customer. When you are the OEM and using VMware it is a little tricky. You can load a custom bios in a VM by adding a line to the VMX file. We used to have a scripted copy that sent the bios to each and every VM directory. This would be cumbersome because the script took a while to run, and it breaks Storage vMotion. The entry looks like this:

bios440.filename = “OEM_Bios.rom”

A while ago I realized that specifying a full path works like this:

bios440.filename = “/vmfs/volumes/Datastore_Name/OEM_Bios.rom”

Lab Manager is very grateful for this change especially because XP, 2003 and Win 7, Win 2008 require different bios files which adds to the problem, and suddenly 500 copies of the bios can be traded for 1 copy on shared storage.


8 thoughts on “VMware OEM Bios Fix!

    1. Someone at work got the file from Microsoft. We have a OEM deal with Microsoft and so we have our own bios. It’s the same thing Dell does, but our bios is different than their’s. I think the program is SLIC2 for Win 7/Win 2008.

      Good luck!

  1. [Storage vMotion Workaround]
    If you set a custom virtual bios in your .vmx such as:
    bios440.filename = “VM.DELL.SLIC.21.SLP.IMAGE.ROM”

    The workaround is to:
    – Storage vMotion the hard disk 1 first to new datastore, and\or any other disks
    – Manually copy “VM.DELL.SLIC.21.SLP.IMAGE.ROM” to the new folder in the new datastore
    – Then Storage vMotion the VM config.

    1. Thank you for the reply! I did that until I realized that you can set a central location for your bios file and specify the full path in your VMX.
      bios440.filename = “/vmfs/volumes/Datastore1/VM.DELL.SLIC.21.SLP.IMAGE.ROM”

      If you manually copy you have to do it before the Storage vMotion timeout. With the full path it just works. You can have a bunch of VMs use the same bios without issue also. Try it out.

    1. I don’t work for the company using the OEM bios anymore, do not have access to it, and it would not be appropriate for me to share it. The rom file is different for every OEM. You will also need a customized Windows install disc. Good luck Erik.

  2. We have successfully virtualized old DELL Win XP PCs with specific Lab Software to ESX Hosts on new Dell Blade Centers. Your post give me the hint about OEM Vendor Bios lock problematics with win xp prof. Thanks a lot!

  3. Hello
    we are also using OEM and we add the same line like u
    bios440.filename = “/vmfs/volumes/50ed06e4-2ea302fe-f17c-ac162d70d698/activate/BIOS440.ROM”
    but there is aslo one more line we add and i dont realy know why
    acpi.passthru.slic = “true”
    Can u pls explain it to me
    Also if u could point me where i can find a good explantion about bios440 what is it???

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