When you say "activate" are you talking about the VM's retriggering Windows activation? If so, there is a very easy solution to this. Just assign the VM's a fixed MAC address (this is doable through the GUI or by editing the .vmx directly). A properly configured VMWare VM should be able to be moved around dozens of times per hour and never notice a thing, incidentally this is a big part of how VMWare's cloud offerings work. Addressing the larger question, it sounds like the biggest issue you have with moving systems is the software side of things, not hardware. IMHO, trying to build a hardware solution to a software problem is never going to work out in the long run. What I recommend you do is to install a very lightweight bare metal OS and run EVERYTHING in a VM. You don't do anything 3D graphics intensive, so it should work out nicely from a performance point of view. The bare metal OS could be Windows, but Linux would be better since a properly configured Linux install can be moved around between hardware with no issues whatsoever. Whatever you do, after you get your bare metal OS and virtualization software installed, make an image. This system should never change beyond normal security updates (all real work happens in a VM), so if things go tits-up in a big way, you just spend 20 minutes reimaging and you're back in business. Finally, upgrade VMWare Workstation to the latest version. It has come a long way in 5 years.