Can You Transfer a Windows 7 License to a Virtual Machine Running on the Same Computer?

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All is well if you never need to move your Windows 7 license to a different computer or to a virtual machine environment, but what do you do if you find yourself in that situation? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post looks at the topic to help a confused reader find a solution.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

The Question

SuperUser reader jl6 wants to know if a licensed and activated copy of Windows 7 can be moved to a virtual machine on the same computer:

I have read the SuperUser blog post about transferring a license, but I am confused when it comes to the licensed, activated copy of Windows 7 that I already have running on my PC. I want to move the license to a virtual machine running in Ubuntu on the same PC, but am I allowed to do this?

Can jl6 legally move this copy of Windows 7 to a virtual machine on the same computer or not?

The Answer

SuperUser contributor Dawn Benton has the answer for us:

Section 3d of both the OEM and Retail licenses of the versions I checked (Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Home Premium) state:

  • d. 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.

Since the original poster’s machine is the licensed computer, will be running Ubuntu as a host OS, and have Windows running in a single virtual machine on a virtual hardware system on the same licensed computer, then according to this, it is okay.

Intellectual Property and End User License Terms – Microsoft


Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .