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I have Windows 7 running on my laptop.

I want to create a VM on my laptop that will also be running windows 7. Can I use the same key I used for my laptop as I used for the vm?

Or is that going to cause problems?

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2 Answers 2

No you cannot use the same key. Using the same key will cause problems as the activation will probably notice this as two separate machines,

For details read the license to see what Microsoft will allow you to do with the software - This is the US one MS Terms of Use other countries might differ.

this includes

d. 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. When used in a virtualized environment, content protected by digital rights management technology, BitLocker or any full volume disk drive encryption technology may not be as secure as protected content not in a virtualized environment. You should comply with all domestic and international laws that apply to such protected content.

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You have misinterpreted the TOU. It says clearly 'Instead of using the software on the licenced computer', which means you'd need to have a separate physical licence for the host if you use the licence on the VM. –  user3463 Jan 24 '11 at 4:59
    
Which is what I said you cannot use the same key on the PC and the VM –  Mark Jan 24 '11 at 13:15
    
I've modified my vote. Your "no" was unclear in the original edit. –  user3463 Jan 24 '11 at 16:43
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Yes, you need another key.

And I'll reference the same MS Terms of Use that @Mark posted in his post.

d. 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. When used in a virtualized environment, content protected by digital rights management technology, BitLocker or any full volume disk drive encryption technology may not be as secure as protected content not in a virtualized environment. You should comply with all domestic and international laws that apply to such protected content.

I disagree with @Mark's answer because of the phrase "Instead of using the software directly" in the licensing text above. That means "if you don't want to install this software directly on the machine, you may choose to run it in a VM on the machine instead of, but not in addition to, installing it on the machine".

So you'll need another key for the virtualized instance of Windows 7. Or you can change the host OS to something free like CentOS and use your Windows 7 key for the guest instance.

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"Instead" indeed. –  Xavierjazz Jan 24 '11 at 3:31
    
I have voted you up for your interpretation of the TOU. –  user3463 Jan 24 '11 at 4:59
    
So the answer is the same as mine - The answer to question " Can I use the same key I used for my laptop as I used for the vm?" is no. As you say you need another key –  Mark Jan 24 '11 at 13:15
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@Mark: your answer doesn't read that way. I'm not the only one who mis-understood your answer. Your answer of "No" was unclear. Were you answering his "Can I reuse my key?" or "Will this cause problems?" question. –  Ian C. Jan 24 '11 at 14:40
    
The first question of course. –  Mark Jan 24 '11 at 16:08
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