Windows 10: Questions on Windows 10 licensing for a Hyper-V VM
Questions on Windows 10 licensing for a Hyper-V VM
I have a Windows 10 Pro machine which supports virtualization.
I want to create a hyper-V VM running Windows 10 as the guest host. I have some questions on licensing and any activation issues that might occur
- I expect I'll need to buy a 2nd Win 10 license
- Does it need to be a retail license?
- Or can I a buy an OEM license? (Iíll always use the 2nd license for a virtual machine on the same PC but never run more then one VM at a time)
- If i wanted to create multiple VMs (gen-1 and gen-2) could I use that 2nd license each time? Again, assuming i'll never actually having more then one VM running at a time.
- And just curious: Does anyone know if MS simply recognizes 2 licenses both for the same PC? If I did a fresh reinstall in the future, would it make any difference which license i lthen used for the PC and which for the VM?
Angels have the Phone Box
Not sure about all the license issues, but you could try this for now.
Free Virtual Machines from IE8 to MS Edge - Microsoft Edge Development
Regarding Windows license, a virtual machine is as any physical machine. You can use it without activation with limited functions (for instance no personalisation) for a short period of time, or you need to activate it with a valid license.
The host machine license and activation status has nothing to do with virtual machine, nor has license and activation status of any other virtual machine. It is really simple: to activate Windows on any physical or virtual machine you need a valid license (product key). One license is valid for one installation, if that installation is physical or virtual is completely irrelevant.
If you want to / need to run let's say two activated Windows 10 virtual machines on one host physical machine, you will need three licenses: one for the host and one for each virtual machine.
Same rules apply to virtual machines as to physical machines. When a license (product key) is used on any physical or virtual machine to activate Windows, it is no longer valid for activation on any other physical or virtual machine.
No rocket science: one license, one machine. Totally irrelevant if the machine is virtual or physical.
Use the evaluation copy. Just reinstall from time to time.
oem is fine. in fact win7 oem worked for me a few days ago.
Thank you all for the helpful information! One followup question/clarification re: buying an OEM vs a retail copy of Win 10 Pro
I've read here (and some other threads) that an OEM copy should be OK. But....
@Kari If each VM is considered a different machine, that sounds like I'll need a retail license should I choose to delete and then create new VMs over time. As an OEM license can only be installed on a single machine.
Yes, to some extent your conclusion is correct. Forgetting the moral and ethical side of the story, the OEM (System Builder) Windows EULA, you might get an OEM license installed on several machines (one machine at any given time) a few times especially using phone activation, but I wouldn't do it. This is of course only my personal very subjective opinion, other geeks might see it differently.
For testing for instance various install scenarios, software and so on, you already got valid and sound advice:
I do both, activating and evaluating. At any given time I have several Windows 10 virtual machines, I'll export and import them to / from an external storage as I need only keeping those I am currently using added in Hyper-V. Those I use exclusively to get new Windows Insider builds in various languages and editions are usually not activated, I'll just reinstall with latest Insider ISO every now and then.
Those activated are all activated with a transferable retail license, Windows 10 makes keeping track of your digital licenses and transferring them extremely easy. However, reinstalling and starting from scratch on a licensed VM is so easy that I normally don't even have to use that option; simply delete the VHD of an activated Windows 10 VM, make a new VHD assigning it to same VM and clean install Windows 10 selecting I don't have a product key. Because of the digital licensing it will be automatically licensed and activated. This makes it possible to use an OEM / System Builder license because replacing HDD on physical computer or VHD on a VM does not change the hardware signature, the base of a digital license.
Whatever you do, common sense works here. Again, just a personal opinion: Name your activated virtual machines clearly to avoid deleting them accidentally. I use the word activated added to VM name. Looking at my Hyper-V Manager I can tell with one blink of an eye which virtual machines are not discardable and shouldn't be deleted:
Last edited by Kari; 1 Day Ago at 02:13.
Reason: Several typos
Thanks for all that helpful additional detail
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