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I've been using VirtualBox for a while to virtualize Ubuntu inside Windows 7. Now I'm wanting to make a Windows 7 guest sandbox inside a Windows 7 host to install experimental software and tweak settings without fear of crashing my primary OS.

Before giving this a try, I wanted to know if it is possible and even legal under Microsoft's terms?

Secondly, is there a better (free) way to make a sandbox for the same purposes?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

1) Virtualizing Windows 7 in VirtualBox under Windows is exactly like Virtualizing it under Ubuntu, no tutorials required.

2) Yes it's legal if you have a valid license for the OS. Microsoft's legal terms don't allow you to use the OS, even in a virtual environment, without a license :/

Windows 7 has XP mode built in (Microsoft's Virtual PC integrated), and allows you to run XP for free, but it isn't 7 so it doesn't match your reqs. You can read more about this here.

There isn't a better way, VBox rocks on Win and *nix!

Note from the MS licensing doc:

Customers may install unlimited copies of the software on the licensed device. However, at any one time, they may run no more than one instance directly on the physical hardware

(html version avail here)

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Great, that's exactly what I wanted to know. And yes, I have a fully licensed copy of Win7 Professional - just wanted to know if I could use the same copy on the same machine within VBox. –  NoCatharsis Oct 27 '10 at 13:50
    
Microsoft had at one time publicly given permission to use up to 3 VMs of the same Windows version as is installed on the host. This is still a gray area, but in general this practice is totally legal. –  harrymc Oct 27 '10 at 14:04
2  
To clarify what wez wrote, XP Mode is only free with Win7 Professional and Ultimate. Home does not come with XP Mode. Otherwise, good answer. –  CarlF Oct 27 '10 at 14:28
    
@CarlF thanks for pointing that out! It seems that you can run multiple VM's with the same license, as long as you don't run them simultaneously. Check the link I added above :) –  invert Oct 28 '10 at 7:21

Yes, there is a free way if you have the OS and license. You can you VMware. VMware has a program called VMWare Player, which can be found at the following link http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/desktop_downloads/vmware_player/3_0. This tool is very easy to use. You may then create a virtual machine that probably very similar to VirtualBox. Try it out. It's free for the program, and very easy to use.

Good Luck-

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There is a full walkthrough on running Windows 7 in VirtualBox that I've used before. It is located here.

There is also documentation on the VirtualBox website showing a list of supported guest OS's that can be hosted in VirtualBox.

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Thanks I actually found both of these same resources in my search, but neither of them specifically address Win7 host with a Win7 guest. Still, they're useful for helping me setup my machine now. –  NoCatharsis Oct 27 '10 at 13:49
    
Don't see that the host makes much of a difference, but I guess you're right that the walkthrough is host-agnostic. –  mindless.panda Oct 27 '10 at 22:00

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