Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Windows license question

  1. #1


    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts : 283
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64-bit)

    Windows license question


    I was just playing with VirtualBox and installed my copy of Windows 8. It would not accept the license key because I am using that key in the host OS. I looked over the EULA and I see that it is clearly stated that I need a new license for each virtual machine.

    Fine, so I deleted that VM.

    But what about my Windows 7 license? Originally I installed the OEM license when I built this machine.
    But I bought the Windows 8 CD when it was on sale for about $40 last Christmas and did an 'in-place' upgrade to Windows 8 (and subsequently I used the free Media Center upgrade key to install that).

    Since I'm not using Windows 7 any more, and the Win 8 CD version I got was not an upgrade version - it was a full version - couldn't I install Windows 7 in a virtual machine using the original key?

    I guess more generally the question is what happens to our license when we remove the OS? Can't we install it on another PC?

    I'm not trying to start a legal debate, this is just for fun for me - I want to play around with the VM environment. I've set up a Linux VM and I want to compare response times, etc.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 22,576
    64-bit Windows 10


    Hello Jim,

    Since this is an OEM Windows 7, then you would not be able to use it's product key number to activate on any computer or VM since it's permanently tied to the motherboard of the PC it was first activated on.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts : 283
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64-bit)


    OK, thanks, but it *will* be running on the same motherboard, although the VM might not know that.
    Does that make a difference?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 22,576
    64-bit Windows 10


    Unfortunately it does. A VM is considered a different PC even if the host is the original PC.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts : 283
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64-bit)


    Well, anyway, I just installed Window 7 in the VM and activated it.
    It seemed to approve the activation with no problem.
    Let's see if that still holds after I do the first Windows update.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts : 283
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64-bit)


    After a few Windows Updates I think it is all legit and cool.
    Here is a picture of the WEI - not too bad - followed by the System page.
    The VM uses about 20% of the total CPU while Windows Update is running.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails WEI.png   Activated.png  
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 22,576
    64-bit Windows 10


    Well good. I guess it sees enough of the host to allow it. I hope it hold for you.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Technically you run into 2 problems

    1). Brink identified the first: It's an OEM copy of Windows and isn't allowed to move to a different machine. And VM's qualify as different machines. In your case it's working, so you got lucky. You might also be able to call the 1-800# and get it working, and if so, you are lucky MS approved it.

    2). Technically, you "upgraded" your Windows 7 host to Windows 8 when you purchased the $40 key. As part of the lower price of the "upgrade", you don't retain both a Windows 7 license and a Windows 8 license that you are supposed to run on 2 machines. This one is more of an honor system agreement rather than a "it will not technically work"
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Sunnyvale, CA USA
    Posts : 283
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64-bit)


    I understand part 1, but part 2 I don't think is true.

    When I purchased the Win 8 DVD at Best Buy I specifically asked for a full version, not an upgrade. The $40 price (or whatever it was) was a special promotion lasting for a short time. The price went back up to $140 (or whatever) shortly after.

    At any rate, in principal, the license to use the Windows software is intended to allow only a single running instance for the legitimate owner and that's what I'm doing. And when I use the Win7 guest VM, I'm not going to be 'using' the Win8 host for anything practical.

    It's not as if I'm really going to use this VM for anything, it's just a personal experiment. When I get tired of it, I'll delete it. The Linux VM (Linux Mint Mate 14.1) seems to be much better in response time, by the way, and much more useful. That was the purpose of the experiment.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 2,156
    Win7 Ult on DIY; Win8 Pro on MBP/Parallels; Win7 Ult on MBP/Boot Camp; Win7 Ult/Win8 Pro on HP


    Quote Originally Posted by arachnaut View Post
    I understand part 1, but part 2 I don't think is true.

    When I purchased the Win 8 DVD at Best Buy I specifically asked for a full version, not an upgrade. The $40 price (or whatever it was) was a special promotion lasting for a short time. The price went back up to $140 (or whatever) shortly after.

    At any rate, in principal, the license to use the Windows software is intended to allow only a single running instance for the legitimate owner and that's what I'm doing. And when I use the Win7 guest VM, I'm not going to be 'using' the Win8 host for anything practical.

    It's not as if I'm really going to use this VM for anything, it's just a personal experiment. When I get tired of it, I'll delete it. The Linux VM (Linux Mint Mate 14.1) seems to be much better in response time, by the way, and much more useful. That was the purpose of the experiment.
    There is no full version of Win8 unless you buy the system builder software (or "belong to" Technet or MSDN--OS software is available for evaluation/testing only). Whether you did a clean install or not, you upgraded to Win7 one way or the other, and you forfeited your right to use your Win7. Just stating facts; don't care what you choose to do. Never believe what a Best Buy employee says.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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