I have found plenty of information online for installing either Windows XP or Windows 7 [1] vm, but my Windows 7 license is only for upgrade, which requires that Windows XP already be installed.

Is there a way to use a Windows XP install as the install device for Windows 7 in KVM QEMU?

[1] https://markperez.dev/blog/install-windows-in-kvm/

  • 1
    Are you aware, that a Windows 7 license is around $3 on eBay? Jul 30, 2020 at 19:30
  • @EugenRieck Not fair - this solves my problem without answering my question!
    – Paul
    Jul 30, 2020 at 19:32
  • @EugenRieck - Any Windows 7 license that is only $3 is more than likely is not a legitimate license. In order to upgrade to Windows XP from Windows 7 you must have a licensed and activated installation of Windows XP. The migration process is well documented. It would be nice if you specified what step you are stuck at.
    – Ramhound
    Jul 30, 2020 at 19:32
  • @EugenRieck Actually, it's around $16 for a license. The $3 are just official disks without license.
    – Paul
    Jul 30, 2020 at 19:41
  • @Ramhound I upgraded LOTS of $2.99 Windows 7 Licenses to Windows 10 successfully - including the license check on upgrade and in activation. Aug 2, 2020 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


According to the documentation, the upgrade version of Windows 7 just needs the user to possess a qualifying XP license.

Qualifying means that either the XP version is a full retail version, or if the upgrade version is OEM that the hardware is right.

However, the upgrade version checks nothing, so you can use it to do a clean install of Windows 7, even on a blank new disk. If you don't possess a correct XP license, this will also succeed, although strictly speaking it is illegal.

The "upgrade" won't propagate your apps and drivers. If executed on installed Windows XP, it will only kindly bundle your XP installation in the Windows.old folder.

See the article Microsoft confirms Windows 7 install trick is legal.

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