Reusing an OEM Windows license in a VM

I've purchased a new laptop (from Lenovo) with Windows 10 pre-installed.  I'd like to remove the pre-installed Windows 10, install another (non-Microsoft, licensed) operating system and then install Windows 10 in a virtual environment.  Can I do this using the Windows 10 license that came with my laptop or will I have to buy a new Windows license?


The original OEM preinstalled License is tied to the original Hardware.

You now want to install it in a Virtual Machine instead.

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.

This is where it gets tricky, as installing your copy of the preinstalled OEM Licensed OS in a Virtual machine means that it is no longer installed on the original hardware Configuration which includes the Motherboard where the Product Key is stored, as stated in the OEM License.



Bill Smithers - Microsoft MVP July 2013 - Dec 2020

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Question Info

Last updated November 18, 2020 Views 14,931 Applies to: