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I've read the blog post on license transfer, but I'm not clear in the case where I already have a licensed, activated copy of Windows 7 running on my PC but want to move that license to a VM running in Ubuntu on the same PC. Am I allowed?

  • you could always package up your whole hard drive as an image, and then boot the VM from that? would that work? possibly some hardware issues i guess... but if the whole point is just to move your working windows env out of the way to make room for ubuntu... – Nacht Oct 6 '14 at 5:27
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Section 3d of both the OEM and Retail licenses of the ones I checked (Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Home Premium) state:

d. Use with Virtualization Technologies. Instead of using the software directly on the licensed computer, you may install and use the software within only one virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed computer.

Since the poster's machine is the licensed computer and will be running Ubuntu as a host OS with Windows running in a single VM on a virtual hardware system on the same licensed computer, then according to this, it's okay.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/useterms

  • 3
    You can also find a copy of your license under the activation details area in your Control Panel which may differ. In the above provided link, the license for pre-installed Windows 7 Professional states that any license that comes with your installation superceeds it. – Robin Hood Oct 5 '14 at 22:24
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    You'll still need to call them to manually activate it. – Monstieur Oct 6 '14 at 3:05
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    In the main hypervisors you can passthrough the BIOS info so an OEM copy from a main manufacturer will automatically activate. – JamesRyan Oct 6 '14 at 16:46
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You're allowed to do this if Microsoft allows you to do this. This sounds like a non-answer but keeping this in mind helped me move my OEM license to a VM, free and clear, with the help of Microsoft support.

Get your product key first from the original OEM-install of Windows by entering wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKeyat an administrator command prompt.

Then move the OEM Windows to a VM somehow (e.g. via VMware's free vCenter Converter), enter slui 4 at the command prompt, and follow the instructions for activating over the phone. You may need to call back a few times to get a cooperative support associate but it's worth the effort.

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OEM means licensed to 1 specific computer, Retail means licensed to 1 computer at any time. A VM is considered a seperate computer, you can transfer a retail license, but not an OEM one. This is why retail copies cost more than OEM ones.

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    So to specifically answer the OP's question, if you have a retail license you are allowed to transfer it, but if you are using a OEM license you are not allowed to transfer it. – Scott Chamberlain Oct 5 '14 at 21:30
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    You need to check the actual OEM license terms. See @dawnBenton answer above. – Ben Oct 6 '14 at 8:41
  • So I guess this answer is incorrect and should be removed. – Cthulhu Oct 6 '14 at 15:05
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    The oem version can be used in a VM but only run on top of the original hardware. – JamesRyan Oct 6 '14 at 16:41
  • @StéphaneGourichon I think you misunderstood either my comment or DawnBenton's answer because they are in agreement. – JamesRyan Sep 21 '16 at 11:36

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