I just managed to boot the same Windows 10 installation both natively and from Arch Linux in a VM.

I'm currently running it natively and just got it activated with my digital license. This is Windows 10 Pro version 1703.

According to an answer here (and also from other sources), I should now expect activation problems when booting it from the VM. I'm worried if this would somehow render my digital license permanently invalid.

So, is there a hard limit on the number of times Windows can be reactivated with the license tied to a Microsoft account?

Update Forgot to mention something of importance: My Windows 10 was first activated with a Windows 7 Pro license from a previous computer. I still have it - the old computer, the license key and probably the documents from the purchase as well. The activation is now tied to my Microsoft account, as said.

  • 2
    It's up for Microsoft to decide. You might need to call them at some point. It probably is influenced by the type of license and how often you switch between native and VM boot.
    – Seth
    Jun 22, 2017 at 9:21
  • You are worrying about something that will not happen. Windows licenses cannot become invalid.
    – Ramhound
    Jun 22, 2017 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


In this case, the answer lies in the License. I have an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) license, as indicated in the question. This means that this license is only valid for one specific hardware setup.

I just got lucky the license worked on what is really a different computer (this Windows 10 installation), since the original PC that came with Windows 7 is retired.

When booting the VM, Windows becomes deactivated and I can't activate it no matter what.

When booting natively, it reactivates at the click of a button.

So, the answer is: If it's an OEM License, not once. If it's a "Retail License", as many times as you need.

  • Just for your information: It is not possible to move digital licences across different hardware types. I.e., if you have a digital license that works well on a native hardware it is not possible (even when this hardware is being retired) to move to a virtual machine. And vice versa. And regarding your OEM license: I think that once you got a digital license for Windows 10 for a native hardware you are able to move it to other hardware as well. But it won't be possible to activate Windows 10 on the new hardware without this digital license, i.e. only with the OEM key. Aug 22, 2017 at 12:17
  • Note that this is somewhat dependent on jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions, the restriction of not being able to separate the OEM license from the hardware may be void. I am pretty sure it is the case in Germany. I am also pretty sure, though, that Microsoft will try to enforce it anyway, despite having no legal grounds. May 24, 2020 at 14:49
  • how do you mark your own answer to your own question???
    – Jon Grah
    May 24, 2021 at 6:41
  • @JonGrah, wait two days. See from the last paragraph in this Help Center article.
    – Marc.2377
    May 24, 2021 at 22:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .