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So I'm having problems virtualizing my preinstalled OS (yes it came already installed in this laptop), and I'm thinking of giving up: just starting the virtual machine from scratch, installing Windows8 from a CD from a friend.

If I were to do this, how can I grab license from my pre-installed OS and use it to activate a virtual machine? (If I didn't try to do this, I would be using the license of my friend, which would not be legal/feasible I guess.)

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-1: Legally questionable, might be off-topic. –  DragonLord Jul 6 '13 at 15:18
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You can't your OEM license is only valid for your physical machine. You need a secondary Windows license to do what you want. While it's a simple task to discover what your actual OEM license is, since you won't be able to activate the VM installation, explaining is sort of pointless. –  Ramhound Jul 6 '13 at 16:23
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If by pre-installed you mean that Windows came pre-installed when you bought the computer, as is frequently the case with laptops, then the version Windows is of the OEM variety. It is not legally permitted to transfer an OEM installation of Windows to a different computer.

Since you've got a laptop which came with Windows pre-installed and you evidently want to run another OS on your laptop, the sensible thing for you to do is to leave Windows where it is, and then install the second OS alongside your original Windows OS in a dual boot setup.

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but it is not a different computer, just running virtualized instead of physical –  knocte Jul 6 '13 at 11:44
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No, if it's the same computer, you have to keep Windows where you installed it because a virtual machine is indistinguishable from a different physical machine from a legality of transferring an OEM installation standpoint. OEM is an acronym for Original Equipment Manufacturer and a virtual machine is clearly not the same as the original equipment that Windows was installed on. –  karel Jul 6 '13 at 11:48
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