View Composer Agent Initialization Error (16)

This is not new and has been already highlighted by VMware in the KB1026556. However, if you are running a Proof of Concept or planning to run VMware View in your homelab this may be a good solution. (this workaround helped me a number of times)

By default, the View Composer QuickPrep process uses Microsoft Key Management Service (KMS) to activate Windows 7 guest operating systems. To make sure that View Composer properly activates the operating systems on linked-clone desktops, you must use KMS license activation on the parent virtual machine.

QuickPrep does not use other volume activation methods such as Multiple Activation Key (MAK) licensing.

If you are using MAK based licensing, you may not be able to deploy pools and you may see this error when deployment fails:  view composer agent initialization error (16): Failed to activate software license (waited 0 seconds).

You Can bypass Windows license activation altogether by setting registry values on the parent VM. You can install a trial license on a parent virtual machine and bypass license activation by QuickPrep.




To bypass license activation by QuickPrep:

  1. In the guest operating system on the parent virtual machine, start the Windows Registry Editor and navigate to this registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\vmware-viewcomposer-ga
  2. Navigate to the SkipLicenseActivation registry value. The default value is 0. 
  3. Set the value to 1.


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    1. pricemc1

      Just an FYI for those who are using this registry setting. This registry value seems to reset to 0 whenever you upgrade the View agent.

    2. Andre Leibovici

      Thanks for sharing with us.


    3. Kris

      in 5.2 this registry key seems to be missing.

    4. James Pung (@james_nutanix)

      This blog post came up as the first post on my google search for this problem! Love it!

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