I am a heavy Linux user, both professional and private. Since I almost never use Microsoft Windows I don't know very much about it so apologies if this is a really stupid question.

There is one particular piece of software that I use on a regular basis (it's for tax calculation) for which there is only a Windows version available, no Linux version and no alternative software product whatsoever.

In the past 15 years I used to use VirtualBox on Linux with a really old Windows XP image (from 2002, I believe) for running just this tax software.

Now the latest update of the software doesn't support Windows XP anymore and refuses to install.

So apparently I need an image of a newer version of Microsoft Windows for my VirtualBox now.

My questions:

  • Am I right about that I need a new image? Or is there a better solution for my problem?
  • Which Windows version should I pick? It needs to be younger than Windows XP and reasonably stable. It does not need any fancy stuff or support the latest hardware etc.
  • Where can I get an installation image of it? Do I really need to buy (or at least pick up) a CD somewhere or is it possible to download the image?
  • Are there any free (or "used") images of outdated Windows versions (newer than XP) available somewhere?
  • How about licenses in this case? Do I have to "activate" Windows somehow?

Thank you very much for any hint!

  • 2
    Have you thought about Wine or one of its alternatives to run your Windows program on Linux?: winehq.org Feb 28, 2017 at 17:04
  • I'd expect a better quality question from a "heavy Linux user". There is a lot of noise and it is not a single question. Several of the points are common knowledge found by searching this site.
    – jiggunjer
    Feb 28, 2017 at 21:41
  • 1
    Wine is great some times, but has its drawbacks when using anything that depends on newer .NET frameworks, getting them working (if at all) can be a pain, I usually opt for a Virtual Environment. Just quicker for me. Mar 2, 2017 at 3:12

4 Answers 4


I had to just do this recently, there are many option here:
Microsoft Provides them for free to Web Developers but it is a fully functional Windows OS, just choose which version of windows with which IE you want, select Virtual Box, and download.

In your case, feel free to use the IE11 on Windows81 (This is Windows 8.1), that way you can be using this for many years to come as long as you keep it.

You can install applications. The only down side is there is a expiration of 90 days, so you would need to make sure you save all your App Settings / Backup and Documents off the Virtual Machine before then, I would suggest before you even boot the VM the first time to make a snapshot, that way you can just roll back to this moment, and get going again installing your apps and transfer over your files, so you don't have to re-download or create a new VM.

The UP side is that you don't have to do any windows install or setup a virtual machine or have to create any boot disks, nothing, download, import and go!

Since you say your using Tax Software, I would imagine you could create a save location somewhere in your home directory using an auto mounted folder. Save you a lot of time when you have to re-install.


You can use the Windows USB/DVD Download Tool provided by Microsoft to download and create a bootable copy of Windows.

You don't need a license to install, but Windows will start nagging after a while if you don't provide it with one after installation (I want to say 30 days, but it might have changed.)


Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

It does require that you run it on a valid windows machine but allows you to create bootable media (iso/usb) for different versions of Windows 10 home etc. and 32 or 64bit


Download the latest Windows 10 ISO image, mount it a new VM and install like normal. http://www.thewindowsclub.com/download-windows-10-iso-disc-image

Windows 10 will function indefinitely in a limited manner, but for most things it will work fine, I have been running the same VM install for almost a year with no issues, I just can't change the background.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.