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I run OS X as my usual operating system. I've purchased a copy of Windows 7 which I've installed as a guest in VMware Fusion.

Everything's fine so far.

Now -- I'd like to also have a native installation of Windows 7 on the same computer. I can do the installation fine, but I'm wondering if the same license will work. Is it going to validate OK when I activate it? Will it "invalidate" the VM instance?

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The VM instance of Windows 7 doesn't "know" that it's on a virtual machine. And it certainly doesn't know that it's on the same physical computer as any native installation you may make. So I would expect that you will be unable to activate the native installation of Windows, because your product key is already bound to the hardware configuration of the VM in Microsoft's database.

You'll be able to install it without any trouble, but without activation, the anti-piracy measures will kick in after 30 days or however long the grace period is.

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Yep - this is what I see. I notice that VMWare has a way to use the same product key if you use VMWare tools & boot camp: kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/… Incredibly lame of Microsoft. – desau Aug 11 '10 at 5:35

From the windows 7 ultimate Software license terms: (borrowed from a SF question)

Use with Virtualization Technologies: Instead of using the software directly on the licensed computer, you may install and use the software within only one virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed computer.

Instead. So no dice, you're limited to one or the other. I'd thought I remembered something about a couple of VMs being allowed under the license of the OS on the host, but it looks like that was part of 2008 Server, not Win7.

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The license will probably work, but you'll be violating the license. (At least, this would be true for past versions--I haven't read the Windows 7 license.) You agree to use a consumer Windows license only once, on either a physical or virtual platform, when you buy.

If I remember right, you need to buy the Professional version of Windows to use it virtually at all (again, according to the license--other versions will work fine).

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If you're goal is to have TWO DIFFERENT Windows installations, you will need to buy a second license. However, if you are trying to have an installation of Windows you can boot to and use virtually, I you can install Windows via Boot Camp and then use VMWare's Fusion to boot the Boot Camp partition.

I personally did this for years but then found that I could just virtualize Windows permanently via VirtualBox and then use RDP to remote into it as needed. You lose the seamless integration but that wasn't a requirement for me.

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