[RndTbl] Windows activation on Linux VM host?

Alberto Abrao alberto at abrao.net
Fri Jan 22 08:19:39 CST 2021

Again, not a lawyer, so that is NOT legal advice. But the information is 
out there should anyone wish to make an informed decision.

On 2021-01-22 7:21 a.m., Scott Toderash wrote:
> Yes. I'm still thinking about the activation state before converting. 
> I wiped the machine after, so I can't verify. I don't recall seeing 
> any request for me to activate while it was on the original hardware, 
> only after virtualization.


Still, if you pass the hardware bits required to the VM, it would 
activate. And,  as long as that is your sole Windows VM running on that 
host, you should be fine.

> So technically it worked, but eventually I'll be punished for not 
> activating Windows. If I acquire the right kind of key I can fix that 
> though. 

Again, if you have a licence (be it OEM or Retail) for the original 
hardware, and as long as you have a licence for each instance of Windows 
you are running, you're fine.



*Q.* Can I install OEM software on a virtual machine (VMware)?

*A.* You can install OEM software in a virtual environment as long as 
you have a separate license for each instance of the software. It is 
fine to use the OEM version as long as it is properly licensed. To be 
clear, a separate version of the software must be installed for both the 
“standard” and “virtual” installations.


Thus, if you're using FOSS to virtualize, you don't need a licence for 
that (!). But you do need a licence for the VM, which you're passing 
through from the hardware bits in my example.

Let's say you're running Windows on a machine. But now you embraced the 

So you p2v your current install, install Linux, KVM the old install. 
Boot it up. No activation.

Two options:

1) Use your key (Retail or OEM) to activate. You may have to call 
Microsoft. If you go back to bare metal, you will have to do it all over 

1a) "But I don't have my OEM key, there's only a fancy sticker saying 
Windows!"... yes, you do. It's somewhere(tm). Again, passing the bits is 
more practical, but there are ways to get there if you would rather not 
bother. And no, it's nothing "illegal". I am *NOT* talking about Piracy 
*AT ALL*, let's make this absolutely clear.

2) Pass the bits as I described. No need to call. If you ever decide to 
go back to Windows, you are fine too.

Trevor, if WINE does not work, get a single Retail licence and activate 
the VM on one of the machines. Then, try to jump it around and see if it 
keeps the activation. As long as xml files - or whatever VirtualBox uses 
- are one and the same, it *should* keep the activation.

Keep me posted on this, it does pique my interest :)

Kind regards,
Alberto Abrao

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