Can I use the same Windows 7 license for a virtual machine and native (on the same computer)?

  • desau

    I run OS X as my usual operating system. I've purchased a copy of Windows 7 which I've installed as a guest in VMware Fusion.

    Everything's fine so far.

    Now -- I'd like to also have a native installation of Windows 7 on the same computer. I can do the installation fine, but I'm wondering if the same license will work. Is it going to validate OK when I activate it? Will it "invalidate" the VM instance?

  • Answers
  • David Z

    The VM instance of Windows 7 doesn't "know" that it's on a virtual machine. And it certainly doesn't know that it's on the same physical computer as any native installation you may make. So I would expect that you will be unable to activate the native installation of Windows, because your product key is already bound to the hardware configuration of the VM in Microsoft's database.

    You'll be able to install it without any trouble, but without activation, the anti-piracy measures will kick in after 30 days or however long the grace period is.

  • Kara Marfia

    From the windows 7 ultimate Software license terms: (borrowed from a SF question)

    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.

    Instead. So no dice, you're limited to one or the other. I'd thought I remembered something about a couple of VMs being allowed under the license of the OS on the host, but it looks like that was part of 2008 Server, not Win7.

  • CarlF

    The license will probably work, but you'll be violating the license. (At least, this would be true for past versions--I haven't read the Windows 7 license.) You agree to use a consumer Windows license only once, on either a physical or virtual platform, when you buy.

    If I remember right, you need to buy the Professional version of Windows to use it virtually at all (again, according to the license--other versions will work fine).

  • Related Question

    windows 7 - Visual Studio Development on Virtual Box, Boot Camp, or VMWare Fusion
  • Questioner

    I currently have a Mac, 2ghz and 2 gigs of ram, running OS X Leopard and Virtual Box with a Windows 7 Pro 32bit virtual machine.

    Performance on the virtual machine is fine for minor tasks but is very clunky while trying to multi-task or develop in Visual Studio 2008.

    What would be my best option for being able to use Visual Studio, keeping cost and time in mind?

    1) Upgrade ram to 4 gigs ($100). Will this really improve my performance enough to use Visual Studio in a Windows 7 vm? Or am I just wasting time/money?

    2) Reinstall/restore Windows 7 disk image as a Boot Camp partition. I assume this should improve my performance, yes?

    3) Purchase VMWare fusion instead of VirtualBox. Does Fusion require less resources to run?

    I am open to any suggestions.

    Thanks in advance

  • Related Answers
  • Chris

    The more ram that you can dedicate to your virtual machine the better. Even one more gig of ram dedicted to your virtual machine will make it run better. You might also want to go through the services that are running in the background of the windows installation and turn off those that are not needed as those will free up more memory for you.

  • Kristopher Johnson

    I'm using VMWare Fusion on a 4GB MacBook Pro, and I find the performance to be unacceptable. We have a very large codebase, with dozens of projects and hundreds of source files. On my co-workers' real Windows machines, a complete build takes a few minutes. For me, it takes over an hour.

    So, I wouldn't recommend it for large-scale Visual Studio development. It might be fine for smaller-scale projects.

    Parallels works a lot better with my setup.

  • phoebus

    I use Parallels to develop in Windows 7 with .NET on my Macbook Pro with 4GB of RAM, and I haven't experienced any significant performance issues. It's a breeze, and with coherence mode it's very unobtrusive. IMO it's a much better solution for doing development than using VMWare or VirtualBox on a Mac. I'd definitely recommend the RAM upgrade, it is absolutely the best bang for your buck these days, and with prices like they are, how can you resist?

  • Jim Deville

    I would use Bootcamp since that will run Windows natively, and VS is a bit of a resource hog.

  • adambox

    I just started using vmware fusion on my intel iMac and so far the performance is good for some (minor) development in Visual C# Express

    Another reason to try vmware fusion is they have good student pricing :)