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CIW_GeorgeFlag for United States of America

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VirtualBox and Windows 7 Activation

There are a few postings with suggestions on how to activate Windows 7 running on a VirtualBox virtual machine, but I have not found any that go beyond "try this, try that".

I have Windows 7 x64 Ultimate OEM installed and activated on my computer.  I would like to install and activate a copy of the same OS (same product key) I have running on the computer within a virtual machine.  I would like to be able to have Windows 7 "permanently" installed in a virtual machine, rather than playing games with the 30-day activation period.

I develop software and want to run test releases in virtual machines running different OSs, rather than jeopardizing the development computer.

I'm guessing there's the right combination of VBoxManage commands that might get the virtual machine's 'hardware' configured to match the computer's hardware such that activation would be possible.  I've read some articles about Windows Product Activation and speculation on what hardware changes Microsoft might tolerate before disallowing activation.

I'm looking for the 'definitive solution', if one exists, so I can avoid countless hours of trial-and-error and be able to activate two copies of the same OS installation on, essentially, the same hardware.

Not sure what the legal ramifications are, but it seems like I ought to be able to use the same OS on the same hardware, even if it is running on virtual machines.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

Avatar of jwguillory
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I am not sure this is allowed under MS licensing.  However, I do know they sell licenses for virtual machines.  Contact MS directly because they are constantly tweaking their licenes rules.  I found this so this may help you also
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According to the link you provided, Microsoft would like yo to purchase mulitple copies of the same OS if you want to have the host computer running Windows 7 and also want to have additional copies of Windows 7 (with the same product key) running within virtual machines on the same host computer.  That's not very user-friendly, but not surprising...

OK, let me re-word my original question:

"Hypothetically speaking, if it were legal to run the same copy of Windows 7 on the host computer and on a virtual machine concurrently, how would one configure the virtual machine to achieve successful activation of Windows 7 running on the virtual machine?  Again, hypothetically speaking...
Since Windows 7 normally gives you 2 or 3 activation before it makes you call for another activation.  And since you will be running this vm only on the same machine you created it from, hyothetically speaking you would activate it again from the vm and then clone the vm.  That way you can crash and burn the vm as many times as you want and not have to worrying about reactivating.   Hypothecially speaking that is.
The virtual machine installation appeared to successfully activate when it was installed a couple weeks ago, has been doing automatic updates, all the usual stuff.  Then a couple days ago, I started getting the "This copy of Windows is not genuine" message, the black screen, and "You may be a victim of software counterfeiting" dialog box.

Regarding your statement about multiple activations, true.  However, this is an OEM version.

Otherwise, what you described in your "hypothetical" reply is exactly what I was planning on doing, and am successfully doing with XP.
Ok, I just called MS because I needed to find out the answer because I am planning on doing the same thing.  Microsoft just told me that I do not need another key to install Windows 7 in a virtual machine on the same machine.
So what did they say the trick was for getting it activated?
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The phone number provided by jwguillory got to a general help area at Microsoft.  After some discussion, I was transferred to their Genuine Advantage team (1.866.530.6599) for activation.

As jwguillory states "I did not get into the issue that you explained...", so I really have a hard time being very positive about his/her "solution".  Where he/she got the phone number provided, I don't know, but it did provide direction to the ultimate solution.
I would really like to know what was the final solution.   I am sure others will be having this problem and providing the information here will more than likely assist others.
Uh, perhaps you should read my response again - the "final solution" is as I described.  Call 1.866.530.6599 and have their Genuine Advantage team activate the copy of Windows 7 you installed on a virtual machine.

Please remember, you were the one who said "I did not get into the issue that you explained with them ...", which didn't do much toward answering my original question.  Rather than leaving this question without closure, I went ahead and accepted your solution, for which you got 500 points, without really answering my question.

Happy New Year.