VM_VPC_FTAWhen using Windows XP Mode which we discussed earlier this week here, or other virtualization solutions like VMware Workstation which we covered last week here, it’s very common to want the virtual PC to share our FactoryTalk Activations installed on our Host OS.

And the easiest way to do that is to either add our Host PC’s IP address, or computer name, to the FactoryTalk Activation Manager (FTAM) installed on our virtual machine.

But what do you do when this doesn’t work? In today’s article we’ll cover two things you’ll need to have in working order before you can share your Host’s activations with your Virtual PC.

Accessing the host via the virtual network

FactoryTalk Activation Manage TabFor the FactoryTalk Activation Manager installed on your virtual PC to find your host’s activations using your host’s IP Address or Computer Name, it has to have a virtual network connection to it.

In the case VMware Workstation, I’ve found the default settings allow the host to be reached by it’s computer name, and that’s what I enter into the activation manager.

To be sure this will work for you, pen a command prompt (start, run, cmd) on your virtual machine and try to ping the host using it’s computer name. If the ping is successful, you’ll know computer name resolution is setup correctly and will work with the activation manager.

However, with Windows XP mode I haven’t found the virtual network is setup for computer name resolution. So, in the case of XP Mode I use the host’s IP address in the virtual PC’s activation manager.

That’s fairly straight forward if your host has a static IP address that never changes. Unfortunately, that’s not my case as I connect to many different sub-nets.

To get around this, you can add a “network loopback adapter” driver to both your host and virtual PC, setting them each with the same subnet mask but slightly different IP addresses. Doing this will put your host and Windows XP mode on a second subnet together using static IP addresses that won’t change.

Time: Host versus Virtual

FactoryTalk Activation Featured ImageThe second issue I’ve run into when trying to share my host activations with my virtual PC is the Windows time setting.

If the time in my virtual PC is different from my host’s time by more than a few minutes, I’ve found that FactoryTalk Activation Manager just won’t find the activations installed on the host.

It’s been my experience that VMware Workstation automatically syncs the virtual machine’s time with the hos. So unless you change the default settings or edit the vm’s settings file you should be good to go.

However, with Windows XP mode I recently found that even the latest download doesn’t always handle daylight savings time correctly. To resolve this I had to apply the below Microsoft patch:

In Summary

If you’re attempting to share your host’s FactoryTalk Activations with you virtual PC, but the activation manager doesn’t find them, try these two steps:

– First, be sure you can ping your host from your virtual PC using either the host’s computer name or IP address. Once that’s working, add the host’s IP or Name to the FactoryTalk Activation Manager installed on the virtual PC and refresh the server.

– If after doing the above the activation manager still doesn’t find your host’s activations, check to be sure the time on the virtual PC is set to the same time as the host, and then refresh the activation server again.

I hope the above article about sharing host’s activations with a virtual PC was helpful.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please feel free to leave them with us by filling out the “post a comment or question form” at the bottom of this page.

Until next time, Peace ✌️ 

Shawn M Tierney
Technology Enthusiast & Content Creator

Have a question? Join my community of automation professionals and take part in the discussion! You'll also find my PLC, HMI, and SCADA courses at TheAutomationSchool.com.

If you found this content helpful, consider buying me a coffee here.

shawntierney avatar



  1. Hello Shaun,
    I am trying to create virtual machine with installed and activated RSLogix Studio 5000.
    Do you think that it’s possible? Have you done it? If you have, can you share all the steps for me to duplicate?

    • Good morning Emil,

      At TheAutomationSchool.com where I teach full time, I exclusively use VMware Workstation Virtual Machines on my instructor’s PC, and I have activated all my Rockwell Software licenses on my initial VM without issue.

      And since all the VM’s I use as instructor are clones of the initial Windows 10 VM, my activations work on each clone just fine.

      But, for those who have multiple VMs that are not clones of each other, you can share Rockwell activations installed on your “host pc” with your “virtual machines” by using the method I describe in the above article:

      – First, be sure you can ping your “host PC” from inside your “virtual machine” using either the host pc’s IP Address or Computer Name.

      – Then add the “host pc’s” IP Address or Computer Name (whichever you could ping) to the FactoryTalk Activation Manager installed on the “virtual machine,” then refresh the server.

      – If after doing the above the activation manager on the “virtual machine” doesn’t find the activations on your “host pc,” check to be sure the time on the “virtual machine” and the “host pc” is set to the same exact time, and then refresh the activation server again.

      Hope this helps,

      Shawn Tierney
      Instructor at http://www.TheAutomationSchool.com

      Join my free community to follow along! You can also become a member and support our work at: Automation.Locals.com


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here