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If I have a VM running Windows 8 Consumer/Release Preview, am I allowed to take advantage of the Windows 8 upgrade offer, and install it on that machine?

I would have assumed not...as there was never a licensed version of XP SP3 through to Windows 7 installed in that VM. It was a clean installation of the Consumer Preview into a VM.

My confusion comes from the notes at the bottom of the download page for the Upgrade offer which states:

Offer valid from October 26, 2012 until January 31, 2013 and is for individuals and small businesses needing to upgrade up to five devices. If you are a business customer looking to upgrade more than five devices to Windows 8 Pro, contact your Microsoft partner for more information. To install Windows 8 Pro, customers must be running Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 Consumer Preview, or Windows 8 Release Preview.

I am assuming it's not possible and i'll need to purchase the System Builder edition to install within a VM?

My guess is that you can use your downloaded upgrade offer only if you updated Windows 7 to the release preview, and therefore had the Windows 7 license on the machine, I used the serial number from the Microsoft Website when downloading the Release Preview, and did a clean install, so there was never a Windows 7 license on the VM.

I have MSDN for development purposes, but I am looking to run in a VM for personal use as well, so my MSDN license is not valid for that particular use.

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This question while simple has a complicated answer.

I am assuming it's not possible and i'll need to purchase the System Builder edition to install within a VM?

In an ideal world this is what you should do. The System Builder license is designed for blank virtual machines without a previous version of Windows installed and real machines that fit the same description.

My confusion comes from the notes at the bottom of the download page for the Upgrade offer which states:

Which means if you already have Windows 8 Release Preview or Windows 8 Customer Preview you can do what basically amounts to a "Clean Install" only keeping your user files.

My guess is that you can use your downloaded upgrade offer only if you updated Windows 7 to the release preview, and therefore had the Windows 7 license on the machine, I used the serial number from the Microsoft Website when downloading the Release Preview, and did a clean install, so there was never a Windows 7 license on the VM.

This is technically the intent by that statement you quoted.

I have MSDN for development purposes, but I am looking to run in a VM for personal use as well, so my MSDN license is not valid for that particular use.

Sounds like you should purchase a system builder license, which CAN be moved to an actual machine, at the end of the day your not talking a huge difference between the upgrade license and the system builder license. If you have ANY Windows license you can use for the virtual machine I suggest you use that and upgrade it ( even if its Windows XP ).

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Thanks, that's a really thorough and clear answer. Do you know if every time you want to re-install Windows 8 you need to first install your old OS (Say a retail XP license) and then do an upgrade (Technically it's got to be a clean install from XP anyway). Basically as long as you keep the serial and disc for the retail XP can you just do an install of Windows 8 directly into your VM / Physical machine. Not that I envisage re-installing again many times. –  Dan Harris Dec 14 '12 at 11:59
    
@DanHarris - Technically you need that previous installation to exists to statisfy the requirements of the Windows 8 Upgrade license. So I suggest you archive the virtual machine's state once Windows 8 is installed so you have a clean image. I have only used the Windows 8 installer while in Windows, I honestly don't know, how it work if there isn't a windows installation detected on the hdd. It sounds like you want to follow the intent of license so my suggestion is likely the best solution otherwise go the system builder license route. –  Ramhound Dec 14 '12 at 12:04
    
@DanHarris - Don't forget the built-in ability to revert the entire system back to the original installation state. Unless you lose the virtual machine file itself this is very helpful for development purposes. –  Ramhound Dec 14 '12 at 12:10
    
It is complete nonsense that people are allowed to downvote accepted answers without at least leaving a comment on the reason they are doing so. –  Ramhound Feb 14 '13 at 11:52

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