I have little old ThinkPad with originally Windows XP Pro installed on, which is OEM version I guess. A year ago I totally moved to Ubuntu and used XP rarely in VirtualBox. Not sure if it's legal to use OEM XP in a virtual machine.

Now I need to upgrade/reinstall my virtual computer from XP to Windows 7.

Question: Which license type I can use? I have these options:

  • Upgrade -- not sure if it is possible from OEM XP.
  • GGK (Get Genuine Kit) -- it's "legalization" issue I hope, but can I use this licence on virtual computer?
  • Full package -- too expensive for occasional use.

I didn't found any proper documentation about it on Microsoft site (Legalization or GGK)

  • If it's running in a VM, it's probably not OEM. How'd you install it? If the disc doesn't say Lenovo, it's also probably not OEM. – digitxp Aug 27 '11 at 4:19
  • I assume the talk of upgrading is all just about he license right? If I remember correctly, there is no official way to upgrade the actual software from XP to 7, only XP to Vista or Vista to 7—I don’t see why the transitive theory cannot be used to go from XP to 7 :-). – Synetech Aug 27 '11 at 7:19

Yes, you can upgrade an OEM version to a retail Windows 7 and break yourself from the OEM restrictions. See this link from Microsoft.

Technically speaking, the OEM XP license is only for the ThinkPad, you can not use it for a virtual machine. However, you could upgrade the OEM version on the ThinkPad to 7 and move it to a VM - and remove it from the ThinkPad. That would be legal, as the OEM license no longer applies and the retail version now does. Personally, I wouldnt go through all that trouble, and I doubt MS will be beating down your door, since you bought a retail upgrade of 7. They have bigger fish to fry.

  • Technically, it wouldn’t be Microsoft beating on the door, it would be IBM. Microsoft got their full retail price from IBM who then gives a discount to the customer on the condition that they buy the hardware from them. If the customer then uses it on a different system, the OEM “loses” (even though they were already paid for the hardware and some of the software). It’s all pretty silly and only serves to frustrate paying customers. Either way, neither will likely be banging on the door. – Synetech Aug 27 '11 at 5:00

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