I'm currently running linux with windows dualboot.

I've installed windows 10 successfully with my OEM Windows 7 Pro license that came together with my dell XPS, this was possible due to microsoft upgrade program a long time ago.

This way, I can use my linux O.S. and sometimes I can reboot my computer and start windows 10, which is successfully activated with my Windows 7 Pro OEM key.

My question is, can I install a Windows 10 VM with VirtualBox in my linux environment, and during windows install use the same Windows 7 Pro OEM key? Is it legal?

  • Another possibility, which might be easier, is that you can run your existing Windows installation inside a VM. I don't remember the details, and I've never tried it, but it's possible with at least VirtualBox and VMWare. – jpaugh Aug 1 '17 at 14:52
  • You may also use Windows OS without activation in VM by creating snapshots. – Biswapriyo Aug 1 '17 at 15:35
  • This will not work, as the VM will have a different hardware "fingerprint", and thus your upgraded Windows-10-license will not work. What you can do is, however, to install Windows 7 with your OEM key. – TJJ Aug 2 '17 at 17:27
  1. Backup your Windows installation.
  2. Uninstall Windows from your hard drive.
  3. Install Windows in a VM.
  4. Ensure the Windows installation has internet access.
  5. Attempt to activate the installation. You may need to call Microsoft to complete this step over the phone.

If they ask you why your are re-activating, tell them you have removed the old installation and changed your system configuration and that you are now reinstalling. (All true.)

Don't volunteer that the Windows 7 key is OEM. Your Windows 10 entitlement may or may not be marked as originating from OEM. If they say that it is OEM and that you cannot use it to activate, then you know. Say thanks and end the call. Restore your backup from step 1 and stick with dual boot, or purchase a copy of Windows 10 and activate yours that way.

Of course, you could always install Hyper-V component of Windows 10 and run your Linux inside. No licensing issues that way. And it may be installed and running by default.

Also, before step 2, you might try to find some sort of P2V solution. This basically takes an 'image' of your physical system and converts it to a virtual machine. VirtualBox wiki article. This may trigger a reactivation due to the significant change in the HAL (hardware abstraction layer).

The OEM upgrade license entitles you to (more or less) the same rights as a full Windows 10 installation. However, the Windows 10 Pro EULA does not allow you to install more than one instance (sections 2.b and 2.d.iv).

  • He's not trying to install a second instance, but to move his physical install to a virtual one. – Xalorous Jan 24 at 13:59

I'm not sure, because I never understand Microsoft's license mess, but I don't think this will work. A Windows 10 license is not a product key, but an 'entitlement'. It is supposed to do away with product keys.

Especially with a Windows 7 license that has been upgraded to an entitlement you may run into issues.

  • That's going to depend on whether the entitlement is tagged as OEM and how well he can word it to the tech on the phone when he calls for phone activation. – Xalorous Jan 24 at 14:03

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.