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Can a Windows 7 or 8 OEM Licensed machine be converted to a VM?

Posted on 2015-01-15
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Last Modified: 2015-02-08
Can a physical machine with an OEM version of Win7 or 8 be converted to a VM and activated? Or, are they the same as XP, which cannot be activated after converting because of licensing issues?
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Question by:GreenWingRider
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by:Don S.
ID: 40552351
You can convert it, but legally you will be out of compliance with the license, and the activation will likely break because it is not on the OEM machine anymore.
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by:Leon Kammer
ID: 40552360
Short Answer, Yes you can.
The EULA that comes with OEM OS 7 and 8 (Dell, HP, et cetera) states the following:
"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...."
This also depends on whether the CPU supports Secondary Address Translation for HyperV.

Cheers

Leon
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by:Leon Kammer
ID: 40552376
Just to clarify, With Windows 8 An OEM version IS a full version. Unlike previous versions of Windows, there are no "OEM" and "Retail" versions, there is only Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows 8 Enterprise.

With windows 7 OEM the license is tied to the first motherboard it's installed on.
With Windows 8.1 it is possible move it to another build, but only one computer at a time. Also with Windows 8.1 you can change all the hardware you want including the motherboard.

Cheers

Leon
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by:rindi
ID: 40552380
As long as the VM will be run on the same hardware the original OS was activated on, it should work.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40552441
The conversion to a VM will change the hardware to VMware or equivalent hardware. This will force re-activation and then as per the first answer here, it will not likely work.

I use retail licenses for VM's and that works a treat.

there are no "OEM" and "Retail" versions, <--- That is incorrect. I have BOTH.
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Author Comment

by:GreenWingRider
ID: 40552457
dons6718:
I know it can be converted (XP could) what I was looking for is some experience as to whether it would run (activate) after being converted.

Leon:
So, according to what you printed from the EULA it would most probably work if the OEM version was first installed as a VM and then moved to another physical machine using the same Hypervisor or Host OS because the HAL would be the same after it was moved and would be legal as long as only one instance of it existed. However, my original question was, if the OS is initially installed on a physical (single user machine) and then converted to a VM, will it then work (activate) since it will be running on a different HAL?

If that is true (there is no OEM version) then why do retailers (ie. Newegg) list 2 versions of Windows 8.1 (OEM and Full Version) with a $60 difference in price?

rindi:
It appears you have no experience with this. I don't think it is possible for the VM to see the "original" hardware since the HAL for the Hypervisor or Hosting OS is inserted between the physical hardware and the Guest OS.
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by:Leon Kammer
ID: 40552458
there are no "OEM" and "Retail" versions, <--- That is incorrect. I have BOTH. (This could be an EU thing).

The Versions of MS Windows 8 and 8.1 I have received on HP and Dell machines here have no branding.
The Versions of MS Windows 7 I received previously were branded, preinstalled and locked to the bios.

I contacted MS about the licences I received, and they have confirmed that these are not bound to the BIOS.
These version were bundled with and preinstalled onto the machines.

Regards

Leon
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40552470
OEM only comes (so far as I know) on the physical machine. Windows 8.1 Pro on my ThinkPad is definitely OEM. Says so.

If your Windows came preinstalled, right click Computer and check.
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by:Leon Kammer
ID: 40552480
Windows Edition : Windows 8.1 Enterprise
Nowhere on the System screen is displayed a branding.
However, If I RDP into the Windows 7 Machine, it has a HP logo and has OEM at the end of the product ID.

Cheers

Leon
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by:rindi
ID: 40552489
You can activate by phone. When you tell m$ that it is running as a VM on the original hardware, they will accept this. If it is on other hardware, then it depends on where you live. In the EU and countries like Switzerland you can also move OEM OS's to other hardware and m$ will have to activate it.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40552490
So then it is an OEM license.

Install Windows 8.1 Retail and do the same test and it will NOT show OEM in the license.

When it was new, you could phone Microsoft for free for Windows 8 retail support.  You cannot do that with OEM and Microsoft won't support such a product.
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by:Leon Kammer
ID: 40552531
The Disks I have are Microsoft branded Windows 8 Enterprise and have a Microsoft Volume License Hologram sticker on the Disk Pack (there is no license key on the package).
The Windows 7 disks are HP branded and have a HP Volume License Sticker on the Disk Pack.

The products on Newegg are Whiteboxes which are in effect OEM (and should not really be sold to consumers since they are to be bundled with a new PC), what I was pointing out is that Windows 8 does not have bios locking (well not here anyway). could be different in other countries, but I find that difficult to fathom that MS would create 2 different licensing models for EU and non EU regions.

Cheers

Leon
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by:rindi
ID: 40552598
They didn't intentionally make 2 different license versions. It is just that there was a court case in Germany that questioned the legality of OEM, and either that case is still hanging, or m$ lost it. So in that region they have to activate OEM licenses even if they are used on other hardware, provided it has been removed from the old hardware.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40552616
Back to the original question, if you convert a physical machine to virtual, you change hardware, and so will have to re-activate. Only Microsoft will let you move an OEM system in this manner (if they will).
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Author Comment

by:GreenWingRider
ID: 40552741
Ok, it appears that still the only way to guarantee it will work and be legal is to use the Retail version. It's obvious that no one here has actually created a VM with an OEM version and then moved it to new hardware using the same Host OS. Nor, has anyone created a VM from a physical machine with OEM Win7 or 8 installed.

The first reason I was asking is because I am looking to setup a machine with 2-3 VMs and it would save some money if I could use the OEM version. I know I can create it using the OEM version, but, my concern is if the hardware fails or I want to upgrade it, will I be able to move the VMs to new hardware.

The second reason is because in the past when someone wanted to upgrade their hardware, if they had a Retail version of XP I could create a VM of their old machine and then load VMware Player on their new machine which gave them their old machine on top of their new machine until such time they were sure they had all their data transferred to the new machine and that all their applications would run ok on their new machine (especially when a new OS was being used). This eliminates having to have 2 machines running side-by-side with 2 monitors/keyboards/mice or KVMs etc. This was not possible for people that purchased a Dell or HP or whatever brand that used the OEM version of XP because I could not activate the VM. I was just hopeful that something had change between the days of XP and now.
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Assisted Solution

by:McKnife
McKnife earned 500 total points
ID: 40552985
It works with any version, you can phone activate any version anywhere, but legally, you may not convert OEM versions physical to virtual in the first place, at least not if the notes at the end of http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415.aspx still apply to win8:
"Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 installed by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) using OEM versions of these products may not be transferred to a virtual hard drive in accordance with Microsoft licensing terms."
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Author Comment

by:GreenWingRider
ID: 40553306
I see the Disk2vhd article was published in January 2014, after the release of Win8.1. So, yea, the question is, was Win8 purposely not mentioned because it does not apply to Win8 or was that an oversight on the part of the authors?
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Accepted Solution

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McKnife earned 500 total points
ID: 40553378
8.1? Be assured that you may not use 8.1 OEM AT ALL unless you are a system manufacturer. http://www.microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/Pages/windows-licensing-for-personal-use.aspx#fbid=uCIIpEe_WEy shows, that for "Building a PC for personal use", you may not use 7, nor use 8.1, but use 8!
So buy 8 OEM, install it to a virtual machine, upgrade to 8.1 for free and it's legal.
Buy 8.1 OEM, install it to a virtual machine, and it's illegal.
Crazy Microsoft...
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 40597231
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
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