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peter777

Can I use Windows 8.1 in a Virtual Machine environment ?

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Purchased a Dell laptop over a year ago. It came with Windows 8.1, but as I use Linux/Kubuntu, I wiped the disk and did a fresh install of Kubuntu. Later on, I purchased, from Dell, the Windows 8.1 , and my understanding is that this OS is OEM.

Now I need to use Windows for data logs. Am contemplating using Oracle VM Virtual Box (  see https://www.virtualbox.org/ ).

Then Windows 8.1 can run from with the VM, with Kubuntu as the host.  This would be the ONLY computer where Windows 8.1 is installed.

Can I legally use the Windows 8.1 in a VM environment ?

Edited by peter777

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Since you've bought the Win 8.1 media from Dell, you can double boot legally, and it should just work.
To use it in virtualbox, you'd need to add the Dell SLIC 3.0 to the virtualbox BIOS, and that is feasible, but needs much more work.
 

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I have a Lenovo laptop with Windows 8 x64. I retrieved its serial number from the BIOS. I also have a Windows 8 x64 DVD - the official generic one - from the internet (downloaded as an ISO image). If my laptop "dies" and I buy a new one with Windows 10 will I be able to install and activate Windows 8 with the mentioned DVD and my current laptop's serial number on Virtual Box?

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Just the serial number won't be enough. That number will work with the appropriate image (Lenovo OEM) in case the BIOS contains the proper SLIC3.0. But virtualbox will also virtualize the BIOS, so that the Windows inside it won't see the real machine BIOS, it'll see the virtual one instead. However, if the machine has say linux or another unix (viz. BSD or Illumos) as the main OS and the original windows has been removed it can be installed inside virtualbox (and this can be construed as being still legal because just one instance of the Windows OS is being used in the selfsame machine it was licenced to). Yet, for it to actually work the user will have to copy/clone the SLIC3.0 from the real machine BIOS into the virtualbox one, which is teoretically possible (but legally somewhat greyzone). Now, in case the machine "dies", even if the virtual box created as described may still work on other hardware, then it'll be an illegal (but functional) installation, because the OEM licence is married to the hardware it was sold with, and hence it did "die" with the original hardware. Please notice I'm no lawyer, and these are just my 2 ¢ on the subject, but I think I'm giving you a tenable interpretation of how it stands.

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11 hours ago, dencorso said:

Since you've bought the Win 8.1 media from Dell, you can double boot legally, and it should just work.

Okay thanks, that is good to know. Also, I have now been informed of some documentation on the Microsoft site concerning VM. From https://www.microsoft.com/OEM/en/Pages/support-faq.aspx

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.

I'm only running one Windows 8.1, which is within the VM with Kubuntu as the host.

Plus, I have since found some docs where in Jan 2015, after pursuing the purchase of a "full/retail" Windows 8.1 from Dell, I was informed that "OEM, FULL and RETAIL are the same product. "  . That is the product I then purchased.

11 hours ago, dencorso said:

To use it in virtualbox, you'd ned to add the Dell SLIC 3.0 to the virtualbox BIOS, and that is feasible, but needs much more work.
 

Is that only when Windows 8.1 is used as the host in a VM environment ? I have heard that the Windows 8.1 OEM Product Key is embedded in the UEFI BIOS

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What part of the quoted below statement did you fail to understand?

12 hours ago, dencorso said:

To use it [= Win 8.1 OEM] in virtualbox, you'd need to add the Dell SLIC 3.0 to the virtualbox BIOS, and that is feasible, but needs much more work.

Does this help any?

2 hours ago, dencorso said:

But virtualbox will also virtualize the BIOS, so that the Windows inside it won't see the real machine BIOS, it'll see the virtual one instead.

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18 hours ago, peter777 said:

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.

That seems to indicate that using OEM version of Windows in a virtual machine isn't exactly illegal (I'll have a separate license of Windows 10 of course).


 

18 hours ago, peter777 said:

Plus, I have since found some docs where in Jan 2015, after pursuing the purchase of a "full/retail" Windows 8.1 from Dell, I was informed that "OEM, FULL and RETAIL are the same product. "  . That is the product I then purchased.

The thing is that I also wasn't able to find an oembios.bin file in my Windows 8 installation and in the BIOS the Windows license is referenced as "WINDOWS 8 STD MLT" (Windows 8 Standard Multiple I suppose), there is no clue it is an OEM license. Maybe from Windows 8 and on there isn't really such a thing as OEM versions?

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After a further investigation it appears that Windows 8 and newer OEM Windows license can be transferred to another computer, have a look here (for Windows 8):

http://personaluselicense.windows.com/en-US/default.aspx

EDIT: Maybe the things are a bit different, have a look here: http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/176310-toshiba-satellite-c655-clean-windows-7-home-premium-installation/?do=findComment&comment=1133863

Anyway the thing is technically possible and at least for a VM Microsoft will probably cooperate (some say they do for even more).

Edited by HarryTri

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